Poland's Krzysztof Wlodarczyk retained the WBC cruiserweight title today in Moscow, handing prospect Rakhim Chakhkiev his first professional loss via eighth round stoppage.
Wlodarczyk (48-2-1, 34 KO) was bloodied early and took a hell of a pounding over the first five rounds, including a knockdown suffered in round three. The heavy-handed Chakhkiev (16-1, 12 KO) was living up to his hype as a powerful, machine-like fighter, all unibrow and intensity, until he was suddenly floored in the sixth by a left hook. Chakhkiev went down again in round seven, and with Wlodarczyk continuing to pour it on, two more knockdowns followed in the eighth round, prompting the referee to call a stop to the action.
It was a hell of a fight, once again proving the value of the cruiserweight division, where big, strong, athletic, and skilled fighters often get together for fights that aren't otherworldly bores dictated too often by which fighter is taller and can keep the appropriate distance. Wlodarczyk showed amazing spirit today and a lot of mental and physical toughness, and though Chakhkiev eventually got broken down, his ability was on display, too. If you missed this one, it's going to be worth tracking down when it hits the video sites soon enough.