Rejuvenated Russo shakes up the Heavyweight division with magic in Milan
The sumptuous surroundings of Milan, Italy hosted four Heavyweight (91 kg) AIBA Pro Boxing (APB) Cycle I Round 2 matches on Saturday night in Milan, Italy, where an excellent crowd watched Italian legend Clemente Russo (ITA) defeat Anton Pinchuk (KAZ) in the main event.
Russo’s victory has ensured a future APB title match with Heavyweight Champion Aleksey Egorov (RUS), plus a qualification quota for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
The two boxers had previously met in December where Russo won by unanimous decision, and he continued that form in spectacular fashion to dazzle his delighted fans with showstopping combination punching in the first few rounds.
Although faced with a partisan crowd and a great deal of potential reward, Pinchuk was not overawed, and began to use his considerable strength and height once he got comfortable in the match.
Russo is a master of changing his tactics however, and he did so once again in Milan by dropping his hands and using his sublime reflexes to goad his opponent into overreaching with his shots.
Time and time again the Italian used his skills to move in and out of range while maintaining a fast output, which frustrated his Kazakh rival whose excellent jab was unable to setup the power shots he needed to force Russo backwards.
For a Heavyweight, Russo has excellent movement, and he used his compact height to his advantage with clever pivots creating different angles for him to exploit and attack.
Pinchuk’s punches were powerful and his stamina was also impressive, but he did not have the range of shots needed to concern Russo.
After the completion of all eight gruelling rounds, the atmosphere grew even louder in Milan as Russo was declared the winner 78:74, 78:74 and 77:75.
Three further Heavyweight matches took place in Italy, including a tremendous victory for David Graf (GER) over London 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Tervel Pulev (BUL).
Pulev was supported in the arena by elder brother Kubrat who fought Wladimir Klitschko last year, but Graf was unperturbed with the audience, and proceeded to produce the best performance of his boxing life against his decorated opponent.
Graf entered the ring in his iconic Gladiator costume, and used the power of his persona to considerable effect as he pressured Pulev with stiff jabs and constant pressure.
The German won the bout 78:74 on all three scorecards, and is a boxer to watch out for in the future.
In the first bout of the evening, Chouaib Bouloudintas (ALG) defeated Roman Golovashchenko (UKR), while Marko Calic (CRO) later outpointed Yamil Peralta (ARG).
Roman GOLOVASHCHENKO (UKR) vs Chouaib BOULOUDINATS (ALG) T.K.O. R5 0:01 (36:40/37:39/36:40)
Clemente RUSSO (ITA) W.P. (77:75/78:74/78:74) vs Anton PINCHUK (KAZ)
David GRAF (GER) W.P. (78:74/78:74/78:74) vs Tervel PULEV (BUL)
Yamil PERALTA (ARG) vs Marko CALIC (CRO) W.P. (75:77/75:77/75:77)