The amateur and professional ranks are two different sports, and a success story in the amateurs might not be converted to a success story in the pros.
This axiom has once again proven true, as WBC #1 ranked cruiserweight Thabiso "The Rock" Mchunu (23-5, 13 KOs) humbled 2016 Rio Olympics heavyweight gold medalist Evgeny Tishchenko (8-1, 6 KOs) by spoiling his perfect record with a convincing twelve-round unanimous decision. Mchunu retained his WBC Silver 200lb title and has reigning WBC champion Ilunga Makabu in his sights.
The fight was all wrong for the Russia's only 2016 Olympics gold medalist (in boxing) from the first round.
A towering (6'5'') southpaw Tishchenko, 29, failed to convert his seven-inch height advantage and his giant edge in reach into something fruitful. For the first two rounds he was also paying too much respect for the defending beltholder, allowing him to dictate both the pace and range of the fight. Evgeny's lateral movement, combined with the height/reach advantage, should have been stopped Mchunu from landing anything of note - in theory. In reality, however, Mchunu was landing flush as Tishchenko's jab was negligible and the chosen distance was wrong. The jab of the Russian was indeed present. He just couldn't land it on a small target.
Mchunu, 33, wasn't throwing punches with untamed speed. Nor he was using multi-punch combinations to trouble Tishchenko. He used quick one-twos or jumped in with smashing right hooks. Tishchenko took them well but the fact was he took them. Mchunu rarely ate anything in return. The other problem for the Russian was his inactivity. He was putting too much into the defensive game and rarely produced any fireworks during the first half of the bout. In round six, the South African delivered more tempo and landed several crisper punches, making Tishchenko to look clumsy and unbalanced. Round seven was also big for Mchunu.
As the bout progressed, the defending titleholder didn't show any signs of fatigue. The Russian was also physically prepared and he began to finally get to Mchunu in round eight. The gold medalist landed several hard blows and even forced Mchunu to clinch a bit in rounds nine and ten but the South African was still better during the closing stages of the fight, landing with better precision and in bigger quantities. Tishchenko went in for kill during the last minute but his lfinalsurge was both ineffective and late.
All in all, it was a masterful performance from Thabiso Mchunu and a painful lesson learned for Evgeny Tishchenko, whose rapid rise was abruptly halted and proven too fast for his own good.
Tishchenko, who made his debut as a pro in August 2018, was ranked #4 by the WBO, #5 by the IBF and #15 by the WBC, coming into this fight. Mchunu was also ranked #10 by the WBO. The South African got his second consecutive road win in Russia. In December of 2019 he scored an upset win over long-time WBA and one-time IBF champion Denis Lebedev, sending him back into retirement. Next for the South African can be an All-African rematch against Ilunga Makabu, who scored a come-from-behind kayo in their first encounter in May 2015.
RCC Boxing Promotions and German Titov promoted the entire event, which was held at the RCC Boxing Academy in Ekaterinburg, Russia.