Grigory Drozd took the WBC cruiserweight title from Krzysztof Wlodarczyk today in Moscow, outworking and generally outclassing him over the course of 12 rounds, winning a decision on scores of 118-109, 119-108, and 119-108. BLH had it closer at 116-111 for Drozd, but that was shading a couple of rounds to Wlodarczyk mostly on single big shots.
Wlodarczyk (49-3-1, 35 KO) had won the WBC belt in 2010 and defended it successfully six times before today. Drozd (39-1, 27 KO) went pretty even with Wlodarczyk early, but took over clearly after the middle rounds, and solidified his dominance with an eighth round knockdown that hurt Wlodarczyk and seemed to shoot whatever confidence he still had dead on the spot.
Wlodarczyk, 33, had a very low punch output today, as Drozd controlled distance, tied Wlodarczyk up very effectively, and just never gave the Polish veteran anything in the fight. Wlodarczyk has pulled comebacks in the past, but this time he never came close. And now the 35-year-old Drozd has established himself as one of the top fighters in the division.
In the co-feature, Denis Lebedev returned to action with an easy win over Pawel Kolodziej, knocking out the previously unbeaten Polish fighter in the second round on a massive left hand shot. The finish came not long after Lebedev (26-2, 20 KO) had shaken Kolodziej (33-1, 18 KO) on a right hook that landed clean. Really, the only two clean power shots that Lebedev landed did the job, one hurting and the other finishing Kolodziej, who got up from the knockdown but was on unsteady legs, and the referee rightly called it off.
Lebedev, 35, picks up the win in his first fight since May 2013. It remains to be seen how he'll do against an opponent of better class, but this was a nice way to come back.