Zaurbek Baysangurov scored a hard-fought, well-earned win today in Kiev, Ukraine, outpointing Lukas Konecny in a gritty affair, winning by unanimous decision. Scores were 119-109, 118-110, and 117-111. Bad Left Hook had it 116-112 for Baysangurov.
Konecny (48-4, 23 KO) started the fight pretty well, particularly having a very strong second round, and I had him even through six with Baysangurov. But after that, it was the quality of Baysangurov (28-1, 20 KO) that proved out, as he was able to control the fight with his jab at times, with his counters at other times, and always had a nice uppercut ready to back Konecny down.
Not that Konecny -- or Baysangurov, for that matter -- did a lot of backing down, mind you. Konecny was in every round, but it was Baysangurov doing the better work, and it was a deserved, clear-cut win for him, in a fight that was every bit as fun to watch as we expected. The sleeper pick paid off this time.
Baysangurov, whose only career loss is to Cornelius "K9" Bundrage, is in a solid position now as a world titleholder and legitimate top 10 fighter in what has become a strong, interesting division with plenty of talent. For Konecny, this may have been his final shot at a world title, as he's now 34. In both career shots at a big belt, he's lost, but put in great effort. No shame there for the former European champion.