Sergey Rabchenko won the vacant European junior middleweight title today in Manchester, England, stopping veteran Ryan Rhodes on a lovely body shot in the seventh round, maintaining his unbeaten record and proving his power carries up to at least this next level.
Rabchenko (21-0, 16 KO) pressured Rhodes effectively in the bout, but the cagey veteran from Sheffield was effective early thanks to his accuracy and some good defensive slickness. Both fighters got shaken up in the second round, as Rhodes (46-6, 31 KO) staggered Rabchenko with a good right hand, and moments later found himself reeling just a bit from a Rabchenko shot.
But then Rhodes took the momentum for a couple of rounds, slipping punches nicely and thwarting the pressure of Rabchenko with good movement. He picked and pecked his way through the third and fourth rounds, but the younger man from Belarus started catching up to him in the fifth, and took that and the sixth round with his consistent attack.
In the seventh, Rhodes was having a nice few moments, and then suddenly was caught with a terrific body shot, and it was over.
"If you get caught in the right place with a body shot, it's over. And he caught me with a brilliant body shot," Rhodes said after the fight.
The 35-year-old Rhodes said he has no plans to retire from boxing, and felt he was fighting well and just got caught with what he said was the best body shot he's ever been hit with.
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