APB Welterweights offered a night of surprises in Baku

Week One of the AIBA Pro Boxing (APB) Pre-Ranking Phase continued tonight with the performance of Welterweights (69kg) in the Sarhadchi Complex in Baku, Azerbaijan.

The first fight of the night was one of the biggest surprises of Week One as Kenya’s Rayton Nduku Okwiri knocked out the Austrian boxer with a glittering pro record of 18-1-1 Marcos Nader. The Kenyan boxer, considered as an outsider in his weight category, in particular in comparison to his Week One opponent, EBU European Union belt holder and Welterweights’ seed number one Nader. His right hand hook in Round 2 turned out to be a shock for his Austrian opponent. Nader, who is the only Austrian boxer in APB ranks now bears a tremendous responsibility in front of his home-country supporters and will be looking forward to get back on track on his way to APB glory. Okwiri, who enjoys phenomenal support from his fans in Kenya, gained tonight even more supporters from around the globe and will do now everything he can to make them feel proud and earn the chance to represent his nation’s colours in Rio 2016.

In the second contest of the night, Turkey’s Onur Sipal met Lithuania’s Eimantas Stanionis. The 2008 Beijing Olympian Sipal won a silver medal at the World University Boxing Championships in 2010 whilst campaigning as a lightweight and also a bronze three years later in the 2013 Summer Universiade in Kazan, Russia. His young opponent from Lithuania entered APB after having won his second National Championship, and the silver medal in the European Union Championships.

However Sipal’s experience talked for himself since the very first seconds of the fight. His strength which echoed in every single punch and self-confidence let him set the pace of this dynamic bout, and left almost no chances to his opponent. The 6-rounds contest has been wrapped up with a victory by points of thebhard Turkish hitter by unanimous decision of the judges.

The third fight saw 24-year-old Ukrainian Denys Lazarev, who boasts WSB experience with Ukraine Otamans, face Hungary’s 32-year-old veteran Gyula Kate, who won the gold medal at the 2000 World Junior Boxing Championships before graduating to win bronze medals at the AIBA World Boxing Championships in 2003 and 2009.
Lazarev opened the contest as a forward moving machine and dominated the ring all the fight long. His constant forward movement convinced all the judges of his supremacy in this contest.

Two-time Olympian, and four-time European medallist Kate, who was looking most of this fight for the one punch knock-out, did not manage to take advantage of his reflexes and experience against his young and furious Ukrainian opponent.

Lazarev won by points with a wide margin in his first APB encounter and confirmed to have a huge potential and still a lot to show to his numerous boxing fans.

The last fight was expected to be a final flourish of the night as the local crowd in Sarhadchi Complex in Baku saw their compatriot Fariz Mammadov taking on Russian opponent Andrey Zamkovoy. The 34-years-old current WBO European Welterweight champion and number two seed in his category has built up a very solid professional career, amassing a 16-1-1 record. With 100 professional rounds to his name, and ten stoppages, the Azeri athlete made his APB debut against Russia’s Zamkovoy, who won the bronze medal at the London 2012 Olympic Games, and the silver medal at the 2009 AIBA World Championships.

The true clash between professional boxing pedigrees, and Olympic style prowess has been a very close contest.

The first 4 Rounds were highly competitive until the Russian landed a heavy right hook in Mammedov’s nose in the fifth Round. Nonetheless, the Azeri boxer, cheered by Sarhadchi’s audience, was trying really hard in last round, Zamkovoy, who was dominating in the last two Rounds got his deserved victory by points delivering the second biggest surprise of the night.

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