Mariusz Wach's chin held up, but his skin didn't.
As expected, Alexander Povetkin (30-1, 22 KO) dominated the giant Pole, landing heavy punches to the head and body over the course of eleven rounds. Wach (31-2, 17 KO) had a strong start, using his jab well, but once Povetkin found a way inside he never left.
Late in the fight, Povetkin opened up a gnarly cut below Wach's left eye and continued to attack it. By the twelfth, it was an absolute mess, prompting the doctor to stop the fight despite it not being on the brow.
Ideally, this win will set up a fight with Deontay Wilder in Spring for Povetkin once Wilder deals with his optional opponent in January.
The co-main event, which was the first time on the card they'd gone past the sixth round, saw Denis Lebedev outbox, break down, and ultimately finish Lateef Kayode in the eighth.
After a slow start, Lebedev (28-2, 21 KO) took control of the fight with accurate counters, a good long left to the body, and just plain better boxing. Kayode (21-1, 16 KO), visibly frustrated, taunted Lebedev but didn't really offer much in return. As the rounds progressed, Lebedev's big left found his target more and more often, picking Kayode off with crisp combinations.
In the seventh, Kayode took a count off a push, but while that wasn't a legitimate knockdown, the ones in the eighth were. A straight left sent "Power" down early and Lebedev never let up, dropping him once more and buffeting him on the ropes with left hands until Steve Smoger mercifully stepped in.
The rest of the card was, in short, awesome.
Ola Afolabi, a true veteran of the cruiserweight division, looked to be on the downswing after a loss to Argentina's Victor Ramirez in April. Rumors of his demise were, it seems, greatly exaggerated, as he upset Rakhim Chakhkiev with one of the best knockouts of the year.
Chakhkiev (24-2, 18 KO) had a rough go of things in a tuneup against Hamilton Ventura in September and seemed determined not to let anything like that happen again. From the opening bell, he threw absolute Hellfire, putting everything behind almost every punch and demonstrating a clear speed advantage. Making things worse for Afolabi (22-4-4, 11 KO), Chakhkiev's ridiculous aggression lead to multiple head clashes, one of which opened up an ugly cut over "Kryptonite's" left eye.
But nobody's ever stopped Afolabi and he had no intention of changing that now. Afolabi took the punishment for three rounds, then began to take over with his jab as the burnt-out Chakhkiev's volume plummeted. Early in the fifth, he clearly dropped Chakhkiev with a pair of straight rights, only for it to be called a slip. It did, at least, seem to instill a sense of panic in Chakhkiev, who charged through a big counter right only to run into a point-blank left hook that sent him face-first to the floor.
With the win, Afolabi puts himself right back in the mix at 200 pounds and earns the IBO belt. It's great to see him doing well.
He wasn't the only one to pull a huge upset, however.
Dmitry Kudryashov entered his fight as one of the most feared men in all of boxing. Olanrewaju Durodola didn't get the memo, scoring a tremendous upset by second-round TKO.
Durodola (21-2, 19 KO) came out throwing heat, but nearly went down to Kudryashov's first real punch, a nasty left hook that had the Nigerian staggering back to the ropes. The two power punchers traded some nasty bombs for the rest of the round, including some cringe-inducing hooks to the body from Kudryashov (18-1, 18 KO). In the scond, however, Kudryashov's porous defense finally cost him. Durodola, known as "God's Power," beat him up on the ropes with accurate flurries for a good portion of the round. A right hand late nearly sent Kudryashov to the floor and Durodola never stopped. Jay Nady gave "The Russian Hammer" every opportunity to survive, but the Nigerian would not be denied, scoring a second-round TKO.
Kudryashov was regarded by some as among the biggest punchers in all of boxing and Durodola managed to outslug him. A tremendous upset for the Nigerian knockout artist
The night's first title fight saw Cesar Rene Cuenca's fifty-fight unbeaten streak come to an unsatisfying and highly confusing end against Eduard Troyanovsky. The better mover, but clearly outsized, Cuenca (48-1, 2 NC) dropped the first couple of rounds to Troyanovsky's (23-0, 20 KO) right hand. He came alive in the third, taking it on volume, and things picked up in the fourth and fifth for a pair of reasonably entertaining rounds.
Then things got weird.
Late in the sixth, Troyanovsky leapt in with a left uppercut, a punch he'd found success with earlier. As he flew in, Cuenca dipped down and basically suspended Troyanovsky off the ground for a second before falling down. The Argentinian was slow to rise and neither he nor the ref seemed to understand the other. After a brief period of confusion, which saw Cuenca apparently look at his cornermen and shake his head, the ref waved the fight off.
Cuenca's cornermen exploded, cursing out the referee to his face while Cuenca fought back tears. Even now, it's still not clear what exactly happened.
In any case, Troyanovsky now owns the IBO and IBF super lightweight titles, while Cuenca joins Chris John and Paul Spadafora in the 48-1 club. So it goes.
At light heavyweight, Dmitry Bivol (5-0, 5 KO) cemented his place as one to watch with a clinical dissection of Brazilian puncher Jackson Junior (19-5, 17 KO). Bivol immediately went to work behind an excellent jab that basically defused Junior entirely and punished any attempts to come back with heavy counters. A four-punch combination scored the first knockdown late in the second, and after a one-sided third, Bivol sent him down again with a counter right in the fourth. Though the Brazilian made it to his feet, he clearly wanted no more.
To destroy the likes of Junior in one's fifth fight is quite a feat. Bivol seems to have a very, very bright future.
In the opening bout, welterweight prospect Vizkhan "Little Tyson" Murzabekov (12-0, 6 KO) lived up to his moniker with a brutal left hook knockout of Solomon Bogere (13-2-2). Though the latter found success early with a steady jab and effective volume, Murzabekov's power and speed proved too much as he dropped Bogere late in the second with a leaping left hook. From there, he simply overwhelmed the Ugandan vet for three more knockdowns in the third, the final one another hook that left him out cold.
It was a phenomenal fight card, probably the best of the year, and well worth spending six hours watching. For quick results and round-by-round coverage, click here.