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Denis Shafikov out-grits Richard Commey by split decision

The fight served as an IBF title eliminator.

Akifumi Shimoda v Marvin Sonsona - Ring Of Gold Fight Photo by How Foo Yeen/Getty Images

Battling in a literal gym in Moscow, top lightweights Denis Shafikov and Richard Commey slugged it out for twelve entertaining rounds earlier today, going blow-for-blow in what was essentially one protracted close-range exchange. Despite his foe’s notorious knockout prowess, it was Shafikov who came out on top via split decision.

Shafikov (38-2-1, 20 KO) used relentless pressure, high volume, and ridiculous durability to consistently force Commey (24-2, 22 KO) to the ropes and open up with hard left hands. Commey landed his fair share of solid punches, but never managed to budge the aggressive Russian and ate several solid body shots and booming lefts to the head along the way.

Two judges ultimately sided with Shafikov’s aggressive onslaught, giving him 115-113 and 116-112 scores to overrule a 112-116 the other way.

Shafikov is now the mandatory challenger for Robert Easter Jr.’s IBF title, which he won by scraping past Commey in September. That fight, should it materialize, ought to be loads of fun.

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