Denis Lebedev retained his interim WBA cruiserweight title with a second round knockout win over Shawn Cox today in Russia, extending his winning streak to three fights and moving closer to another potential real title shot in the process.
Lebedev (24-1, 18 KO) found himself faced with a determined but very limited fighter today in Cox (16-2, 15 KO), who came to fight but was technically well out of his league. Cox, 37, landed a big shot in the first round and was throwing left-hand bombs from his southpaw stance, sort of looking like a blown-up, turned-around version of Randall Bailey. He had only one weapon, but it was clear quickly that it was a real weapon.
Thus, unlike last year's yawner fights against Roy Jones Jr and James Toney, Lebedev actually had to throw real punches and didn't have the chance to just eat up clock, so to speak. There would be no "getting in rounds" in this one. Lebedev was forced to fight, so he did.
In the second round, the 32-year-old Russian contender laid into Cox, showcasing his more advanced skillset and catching the Barbados native with several good shots, before a clean left hand to the head put Cox down and out for a ten-count. The official time of the fight was 2:40 of the second round.
Hopefully this will lead Lebedev into a major title shot, either a rematch with Marco Huck, or a fight with Ola Afolabi should he defeat Huck on May 5, or a fight against Guillermo Jones, who holds the full WBA title.
On the undercard, Alexander "Sasha" Bakthin remained unbeaten with a wide decision win over Nehomar Cermeno in a super bantamweight contest. Scores were 117-111, 119-109, and 119-109 for Bakhtin, who outboxed Cermeno the whole way and improved to 29-0 (11 KO). Cermeno falls to 20-5-1 (12 KO).
Also on the undercard, traveling American club heavyweight Jonte Willis (8-3-1, 3 KO) was robbed over eight rounds by Russian veteran Denis Bakhtov (34-7, 23 KO). Scores were 78-74 and 78-75 for Bakhtov, and 78-75 for Willis. The referee raised Willis' hand first, then put it down when Bakhtov was announced the winner. My first guess is the referee truly figured Willis had won, since he clearly won the fight. The guy got jobbed.
Also featured on the card was Roy Jones Jr "performing" some of his rap songs, lip syncing while walking around with gloves on in his ring gear. It was truly pathetic to see what was once a great fighter, the top of the boxing world, reduced to being an intermission clown on a show in Myakinino, Russia. Luckily, the audience was polite.
Dereck Chisora also made an appearance, as he continues to tour the world hoping to get people to pay attention to him. He made some vague promise of fighting in Moscow later this year.