The first two scheduled main events may have fallen through, but the show did go on in Dubai.
And in that 3rd string headliner, Hasibullah Ahmadi (13-0, 4 KO) started strong, dominating a fun second round. That second frame featured Ahmadi knocking Rauf Aghayev’s mouthpiece out, snapping his head back with multiple sharp punches, and sending Aghayev flying into the ropes on what probably should have been ruled a knockdown at the end of round.
I scored the round 10-8 in favor of Ahmadi despite no knockdown, and it looked like Ahmadi was on his way to an early finish. But, then… Ahmadi largely fought the rest of the fight at range, accepting a slower pace and taking the bulk of the rounds without anywhere near the aggression he showed in the second.
Ahmadi would occasionally land a flashy punch or two, but never seemed keen to push for the knockout. Aghayev (31-11, 14 KO) felt safe enough in the late rounds to flash fake bolo punch windups and razzle-dazzle with his hands to taunt a bit. But, while the result wasn’t the knockout finish that seemed inevitable early on, Ahmadi was the clear winner, taking all three cards for a unanimous decision.
Apichet Petchmanee UD-10 Phumiritdet Chonlathondamrongkun
The co-feature was a fight that started out a bit flat, and never really found a more exciting gear. Petchmanee (10-0, 2 KO) controlled things early, landing well to the body and switching up combinations while Chonlathondamrongkun (7-1, 7 KO) struggled to string together effective punches in return.
One of our eagle-eyed commenters recognized Petchmanee from the undercard of a Srisaket Sor Rungvisai fight from last October. And, though it wasn’t exactly an action-packed thriller, Petchmanee distinguished himself again here, consistently proving a step above in round after round.
Chonlathondamrongkun is still a teenager, and should take a lot of lessons from this one. He finished stronger than he started, landing some nice combos as Petchmanee held on to a healthy lead and focused on avoiding trouble.
It wasn’t an embarrassment, but it was a clear, bell-to-bell, controlling performance from Petchmanee. BLH gave him a sweep of all the rounds, and all three judges scored it the same way.
Faizan Anwar UD-8 Ricky Sismundo
Ricky Sismundo came out swinging like an angry hockey player, throwing wide hooks early and often. In the early going, Anwar (8-0, 4 KO) reacted smartly, countering with quick jabs and neutralizing the aggression.
The adjustments put Sismundo (35-16-3, 17 KO) on a more hesitant footing in the third round, with Anwar seizing the initiative. But, Anwar took a flash knockdown at the start of the fourth on a quick shot to the chin.
After that, Sismundo spent the rest of the round throwing like the Tasmanian devil. He opened a cut over Anwar’s left eye in the sixth, and Anwar seemed largely disinterested in trying to generate offense from that point on.
Bad Left Hook scored the fight 77-74 for Sismundo, crediting him for doing bigger and better work and largely controlling things for most of the fight. The judges saw it the other way, giving a unanimous decision to Anwar.
Bader Samreen UD-6 Sharobiddin Jurakhonov
An interesting matchup here, as Bader Samreen (3-0, 2 KO) has only been fighting as a pro since March 2021, while every one of Jurakhonov’s fights has been against an undefeated opponent.
Jurakhonov (2-4-1, 2 KO) got off to a good start, opening a cut over Samreen’s right eye in the middle of the first, and rocking him a bit in the final minute. Jurakhonov controlled the action and space in the early going, but Samreen started adjusting and showing notable improvement in the third.
Things got hot in the last two rounds. In the fifth, Jurakhonov trapped Samreen in a corner and peppered him with both hands for an extended barrage. Samreen responded with his own burst of aggression in round 6. Ultimately, the official judges were unanimous for Samreen. But, BLH had it 58-56 in favor of Jurakhonov, who will be a most welcome 2-4-1 fighter on any future card that books him.
Khursid Tojibaev TKO-5 Achioko Odikadze
The opener was the first fight in over 20 months for Khursid Tojibaev (5-0, 3 KO). But, if there was any rust on him, he got rid of it quickly, landing an at-the-bell knockdown on Achioko Odikadze (22-18-1, 8 KO) to close out round one.
There was a bit of drama from Odikadze’s footwear, as both of his shoes came untied in different rounds. The action from the ankles on up didn’t go much better for Odikadze, either. Tojibaev scored two knockdowns in quick succession in Round 5, which proved enough for the referee to call the stoppage.