Rakhim Chakhkiev was too strong for a 45-year-old Giacobbe Fragomeni today in Moscow, dropping the Italian veteran late in round three and again early in round four, finishing the fight with a right hand that bounced off the side of Fragomeni's neck.
Fragomeni stayed down on his knees and accepted the ten count for the knockout, giving Chakhkiev (20-1, 15 KO) the previously vacant European cruiserweight title today in Moscow. Fragomeni is now 32-5-2 (13 KO), and is pretty clearly done as a legitimate fighter in the division after a hard, scrappy, and admirable career where he was always a small man in a big division.
This is the 31-year-old Chakhkiev's first major title as a pro, and gets him back into the mix for a possible world title shot. He had one in 2013, and was doing well against then-WBC titleholder Krzysztof Wlodarczyk before the Pole overpowered him en route to an eighth round stoppage.
That fight may have served as a learning experience as much as anything for Chakhkiev, who had generally mowed down opponents before that fight, much the way he did Fragomeni in this one. In some ways, the loss may have been a good thing, as Chakhkiev ran into someone who could both stand up to him and fight back ferociously. He's still got plenty of good years left, and while beating an ancient Fragomeni doesn't shoot him into the division's top five, it's another step forward, too.
Eduard Troyanovsky TKO-5 Jose Alfaro
Lightweight Troyanovsky -- not a prospect, not a contender at 34 years old -- dominated this fight, even though Nicaragua's Alfaro came out to Triple H's entrance music. The Russian had no trouble here, as he was simply a much better and more technically sound fighter, dropping Alfaro (27-9-1, 23 KO) in the third round and then stopping him in round five, none of which was unexpected. Troyanovsky is now 19-0 (16 KO).
Manuel Charr RTD-5 Michael Grant
Manuel Charr dominated shot veteran Michael Grant in the eight-round heavyweight TV opener, stopping the 42-year-old American after five rounds when Grant and corner decided he'd had and they'd seen enough. Charr (27-2, 16 KO) is a lot of things -- mediocre, a little obnoxious, etc. -- but he's not boring, and this was watchable in the sense that it was Charr basically clubbing a big shot guy for a while before the big shot guy quit. Grant is now 48-6 (36 KO), a record that doesn't tell the true story of his journeyman career.