Zaurbek Baysangurov didn't have an easy go of it this afternoon in Bovary, Ukraine, but the Russian retained his WBO 154-pound title over game French challenger Michel Soro by decision, climbing off the canvas in the second round to take over in the middle rounds and down the stretch, winning on scores of 115-112, 116-111, and 117-111. Bad Left Hook scored the fight 115-112 for Baysangurov.
Baysangurov (27-1, 20 KO) looked the stronger of the two in the opening round, but Soro had some speed advantage that presented an early problem, and decked the Russian in the second round on a good left hand that seemed to come from nowhere. Baysangurov was hurt, but got out of the round.
Soro was lively the next few rounds, and at one point led 48-46 on the BLH card. But after that, the fight got into the infamous deep waters, and the 22-year-old Frenchman, who apparently took up boxing at 18, just didn't have the legs to survive a brutal body attack from Baysangurov. It was with those thudding body shots that the titleholder took over the fight, rattling off round after round in his favor, hurting Soro (18-1, 11 KO) repeatedly and forcing his young challenger to get a bit desperate in his attempts to stay in the fight.
But Soro acquitted himself nicely in this fight, considering his youth and serious inexperience, and despite being obviously winded down the stretch, fought as best he could in the 11th and especially 12th round, refusing to just roll over for the more experienced, physically stronger man.
It was a good, entertaining scrap, and without question, Soro is worth keeping tabs on. This is a young man with some serious natural ability, good speed, decent power, and some skills. He's got things to work on, but he hung in over 12 with a quality fighter here today, and there was no shame in his first professional loss.
Gennady Golovkin faces Makoto Fuchigami next in the main event from Bovary, so join the live thread.