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Maskaev successful, world shocked

In the first-ever world championship title fight in Russia, Oleg Maskaev successfully defended the WBC heavyweight title against 34-year old Peter Okhello. Maskaev improves to 34-5, Okhello (a Ugandan who lives in Japan, if you were curious) falls to 18-5.

It was a unanimous decision, judges scores at 120-107, 120-107 and 118-109. Sounds exciting. Maskaev floored Okhello in the fourth, but couldn't secure a knockout.

If Klitschko had his way, he'd be fighting Maskaev next to unify two of the belts, but Klitschko doesn't have his way and he'll be taking on Ray Austin in March on HBO, a card that could also include Shannon Briggs' mandatory defense against Sultan Ibragimov, which would be pushed back from its current February 17 date.

All the champions want to unite the belts, all the promoters want to promote these fights, but oh gosh darn, if we don't have to spend our time on Ibragimov (who might well beat Briggs and put us back at square one there), Austin, and Peter Okhello, who had no business in a ring fighting for a world title.

As for those mandatories, the world could easily get blown up in the division again. Briggs is simply not very good, with his win over Liakhovich being one of the least impressive you'll ever see.

Austin has the size that Byrd and Brock didn't, which could be a big difference in the reinvention story for Wlad Klitschko. On the other hand, I don't think Austin has the power that Peter and Brewster have. Neither did Corrie Sanders, I guess.

Oh, who knows? The heavyweight division is a roller coaster. Don't get on if you have a history of motion sickness.

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