Artur Beterbiev stayed unbeaten and stopped another opponent, putting a brave and hard-nosed Adam Deines away in the 10th round to retain his WBC and IBF light heavyweight titles in Moscow.
Beterbiev (16-0, 16 KO) didn’t exactly look in peak form overall, but it remains to be seen how much of that was simply rust, having not fought since Oct. 2019, or if age, injuries, and a bout with COVID may have taken a bit from him in his immediate upcoming bouts.
Deines (19-2-1, 10 KO) really gave this a great effort and probably fought as well as he could have. He was willing to open up and throw his shots, and landed some along the way. He nicked two rounds on my unofficial card, but it also became clear fairly quickly that he just didn’t have the firepower to keep Beterbiev from marching forward, walking him to the ropes and into the corners, and throwing the shots he wanted.
The German challenger was dropped late in the first round on a counter right hand, but wasn’t down hard. What it showed was that Beterbiev’s power is definitely still there; stereotypically the last thing to go for any fighter, it’s certainly not gone from the Russian mauler yet.
But Deines hung around in the fight, had some moments, and after a ninth round where Beterbiev looked a little lackadaisical in some respects, Beterbiev trainer Marc Ramsay got on his fighter’s case. This was bad news for Deines, as Beterbiev came out hunting, dropped Deines again, and Deines’ corner waved the towel, though their fighter did get up.
You have to give real respect to Deines, who lasted longer and did better than I think almost everyone expected, but in the end Beterbiev was just too strong, too determined, too Beterbiev.
It will be interesting to see how Artur looks in his next fight. He’s 36, has had a lot of breaks in his career due to injuries, management problems, whatever. He’s definitely not getting younger. But Beterbiev is also clearly still a physical force at 175, still the top dog until someone proves otherwise.
Pavel Silyagin UD-12 Azizbek Abdugofurov
The 27-year-old Silyagin looked like someone to watch at 168, which is a bit of a thin division past the top five to seven guys or so, as he dominated this fight and took the WBC’s “silver” title from Abdugofurov on scores of 119-109, 119-109, and 120-108. Bad Left Hook also scored it 119-109 for Silyagin.
Silyagin (7-0, 4 KO) and Abdugofurov (13-1, 5 KO) were competitive-ish for about two rounds, and then Silyagin just pretty well took over on the 29-year-old Uzbek. Abdugofurov looked like he was possibly breaking down, definitely getting badly frustrated by the sixth or seventh round, but he did shake Silyagin just a bit late in the eighth, giving him a small spark of hope.
Silyagin took that hope away pretty quickly, sweeping the rest of the rounds. Even as Silyagin started to tire and his clever angles weren’t the same as earlier in the fight, he was still able to beat Abdugofurov when things stayed closer to the pocket and somewhat more stationary. Class proved out all the way through this fight, but Abdugofurov never did give up on it. He was just out-gunned here.
- Rakhman Akhmetkhanov TKO-2 Artem Karpets: A debut for Akhmetkhanov, who fought at middleweight here but at 5’7” might want to consider 154 at least. 37-year-old Karpets (21-16, 6 KO) brought nothing here and was stopped on a body shot (which looked like it was more to the elbow, but who cares), losing his 16th straight fight.
- Vladimir Ivanov TKO-1 Alexander Stepanov: I don’t know that Stepanov (2-4, 1 KO) actually landed anything in this fight. Ivanov (4-0, 3 KO) is a 29-year-old heavyweight with at least a little buzz.
- Vladimir Mironchikov RTD-1 Elvin Akhundzada: A ridiculous fight that shouldn’t have been allowed in the ring. The 22-year-old Mironchikov (3-0, 3 KO) weighed in at 173 lbs, with Akhunzada (4-6, 2 KO) at just under 161. They were two divisions apart on the scales. This win proves nothing about Mironchikov. He dropped Akhunzada on a body shot in the first round, and Akhunzada reasonably decided one round of this farce was plenty for the padding of Mironchikov’s record.
- Khariton Agrba TKO-2 Helber Rojas: In a way this result is more impressive on paper than in reality, but also Agrba (5-0, 2 KO) did completely dominate, lighting Rojas up for the entirety of this fight with clean punches. Agrba, 25, is an amateur standout who is starting to move forward as a pro at 140, but you have to wonder about his power — I know that says TKO-2, and it was one, but Rojas (13-4-2, 11 KO) was a stiff and took Agrba’s constant clean punches pretty fine, the referee stepped in to stop a total landslide. Clear he can box, though.
- Alexander Besputin RTD-2 Viktor Plotnikov: Besputin (14-0, 10 KO) hadn’t fought since his bout with Radzhab Butaev in Nov. 2019, which originally Besputin won but was changed to a no-contest when he failed drug testing. He looked sharp and dominated what there was of this fight, hammering the 43-year-old Plotnikov (33-11, 15 KO) to both the head and body, confidently marching forward with little respect for the Ukrainian’s return fire. Two rounds was enough for Plotnikov, who takes his eighth straight loss, a streak dating back to 2016. If Besputin is clean and all that, or can at least avoid actually failing drug tests (I’m not naive enough to think everyone who passes them is actually clean), the 29-year-old Russian is someone to keep in mind at 147. He’s a good fighter.