Israil Madrimov won his WBA junior middleweight eliminator over Michel Soro today in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, but there’s a lot more to the story than that.
In a compelling fight where both Madrimov (8-0, 6 KO) and Soro (35-3-1, 24 KO) had success, but Madrimov seemed to be getting the better of things through eight rounds — including arguably “stealing” many rounds with late action after Soro had gotten the better of them early — we got what will go down as one of the most controversial finishes in recent memory at the end of round nine.
With Soro definitely hurt and backed to the ropes, Madrimov was pressing the action. But the bell sounded, and Soro was set to escape the round, maybe get his wits back, and go on with a fight that was still competitive on the cards, or should have been.
Instead, when the bell sounded, referee Salvador Rodriguez just kind of stood there, watched Madrimov unload several more punches, and then jumped in to stop the fight. The stoppage would have been fair enough, except the shots that caused the damage that forced Rodriguez to step in were landed well after the bell had sounded to end the ninth round.
Madrimov was the winner. And then, there was a lot of anger from the Soro corner, and then an extended period of confusion while both fighters sat on their stools and officials and promoters and what have you argued outside the ring.
Eventually, the ring announcer got to center ring, set up a comically elaborate announcement with an introductory spiel meant to calm people down, and announced that, in fact, Madrimov was the winner via TKO.
It is a complete nonsense decision, and one that the WBA should really not let stand. In a sense, it’s sort of unfair to Madrimov to make it a no-contest and order a rematch, as he looked like he was probably on his way to a win. But the win did not come fairly as it happened. That’s not Madrimov’s fault, that’s on the referee. If the WBA let this decision stand, it’s a complete farce.
As for the decision in Tashkent, it’s already ridiculous, but you could also see a situation where maybe they agreed to announce Madrimov as the winner and avoid the risk of any sort of outrage in the building. A press release can clear things up in a few days or a couple weeks after the holidays, whatever — but, to be clear, a press release that clears this up, adn rules the fight a no-contest, is the right call and exactly what should happen.
Shakhram Giyasov UD-10 Cristian Rafael Coria
The usual style performance from Giyasov, not flashy, but he’s just not a flashy sort of fighter. He’s effective and pretty consistent, has flaws but doesn’t make big mistakes, and just isn’t going to lose to a guy like Coria, who falls to 29-9-2 (13 KO). It should also be said that Giyasov (12-0, 9 KO) should really start fighting guys better than this, too. He’s clearly miles too good.
There was a moment early in the fight where it appeared Giyasov had been dropped, a shot landed on top of the head and he went down. From what we could see on the DAZN stream, taken from local TV in Uzbekistan, it absolutely should have been scored a knockdown. But it was not.
Scores were 99-91 once and 100-90 twice. Giyasov, 28, will hopefully step it up a bit in 2022. He’s a good talent and frankly is about as good as he’s going to get, certainly as good as he’s going to get fighting this level of opponent. Plastic doesn’t sharpen iron. (Hey, if it’s some Weird Fact that plastic does sharpen iron and I don’t know that, just let me stay dumb.)
Hasanboy Dusmatov TKO-5 Jose Rivas
Dusmatov, who won gold at Rio 2016, improves to 4-0 (4 KO) with an easy stoppage win over Mexico’s Rivas (18-13-4, 10 KO), a 28-year-old who had nothing to really bother the home fighter.
Dusmatov is a dynamo, a real talent, has a lot of the Uzbek habits — both good and bad, including a certain arrogance to his style in the latter column — and can really fight. He should be considered a threat at 108 lbs already, he’s 28 himself, very well-schooled, and can really put his offense together when he gets going. We’ll see how he does with tougher opponents, and there are plenty of good fighters — and a lot of very experienced pros — in the division, but I’m looking forward to seeing him take his crack.
Bektemir Melikuziev UD-8 Sergei Ekimov
A decent little bounce-back showing from Melikuziev, who was starched bad by Gabriel Rosado in his last fight on June 19. He was fighting at (or around) light heavyweight here, which he’s done in most of his fights, having only actually made the super middleweight limit three times.
It wasn’t a “wow” outing for Melikuziev, who goes to 8-1 (6 KO), but he did some decent body work and got a clear win on scores of 80-72 once and 80-71 twice. There was one official knockdown and what should have been another but the referee seemed about 70 percent informed of his job duties, so that got weird for a minute, but ultimately didn’t really matter. Ekimov falls to 18-4 (9 KO), and the 36-year-old Russian can go back home still not having been stopped as a pro, but that’s about the total of his success, and this was his fourth straight loss.