APB Light Welterweights mix surprises with sureness in Novosibirsk

First of all, I am really proud to be a part of the top eight boxers selected in my category by APB and I would like to thank AIBA for confidence and belief in me.

Week One of the AIBA Pro Boxing (APB) Pre-Ranking Phase continued tonight with the performances of the Light-Welterweights (64kg) in Novosibirsk, Russia.

The first fight of the night saw Bulgaria’s Boris Georgiev in action, and the man who won a bronze medal at the 2004 Olympic Games, and turned professional in the United Kingdom in 2009, surprisingly lost his first APB fight to Germany’s Artem Harutyunyan.

The contest started off tentatively, with both men eager to draw mistakes out of their opponent first, before a left hook from the German stunned Georgiev, and drew a cut above his right eye.

It was a possibility that the injury stymied Georgiev’s flow, as he never really found his range during the fight.

Both men constantly used their heavy hands, and despite the longer round format, and the professional experience of the Bulgarian, it was Harutyunyan who seemed to be stealing the rounds by utilising a little bit more activity.

Despite a strong last round from Georgiev, Harutyunyan earned the victory on all three judges’ scorecards, by a 58-56 margin on each.

Speaking to the media after the fight, Harutyunyan was pleased with his performance.

“The first round I started a little slowly as I wanted to see his tactics, but over the next few rounds I felt I was fighting better. He’s a good fighter with good experience. Me and my team had a good strategy, and I’m happy to win, and I’m excited for my next fight.”

Although the clash between Mexico’s Juan Pablo Romero and Argentina’s Carlos Daniel Aquino was expected to be full of Latin flair, their APB battle eventually turned out to be far more technical than many expected.

After a cagey start, Romero’s WSB experience shone through in the middle rounds, as he dominated the bout during this period.

Aquino has a 13-1 professional record, with ten wins coming via knockout, but couldn’t find the finishing punch against his opponent at this point, although a change of tactics and a return to boxing fundamentals saw him take the last round on all scorecards.

It wasn’t enough however, as Romero took home the unanimous victory from all three judges 58-56, and the Mexican now looks a really intriguing prospect in APB.

The number two Light Welterweight seed is Lithuania’s Evaldas Petrauskas, who won a bronze at the London 2012 Olympic Games at just 20 years old, but he suffered a surprise upset in his APB debut against Algeria’s WSB veteran Abdelkader Chadi.

In one of the closest APB matches so far, both fighters offered different styles, with Petrauskas looking for hard punches especially to the body, while Chadi used his longer rounds experience well to focus on accumulating points.

After six rounds of narrow action, two judges scored the contest a draw, while the Moldovan judge gave the win to Chadi 58-56 to confirm the biggest surprise of the night.

After his incredible win, Chadi spoke to the media.

“First of all, I am really proud to be a part of the top eight boxers selected in my category by APB and I would like to thank AIBA for confidence and belief in me. It was an important fight as my opponent was an Olympic medallist and seeded number two in the category.”

“Obviously, I studied him well before the fight, and I got prepared well, but nonetheless it was not an easy fight. However I managed to get more confidence throughout the rounds and to use to my advantage weak points of my opponent which helped me to win this bout.”

The last fight of the night saw the number one seeded fighter in the division, and home favourite Armen Zakaryan compete.

His opponent, Ukraine’s Vyacheslav Kyslytsyn is vastly experienced in boxing, but he could not deal with the might of Zakaryan, who lived up to his billing as the best boxer in this division.

A 2013 European Boxing Championships gold medallist and 2012 Russian National Champion, Zakaryan controlled his opponent with the use of his jab from beginning to end.

Zakaryan gained invaluable experience in the World Series of Boxing (WSB) where he won both his fights boxing for his native Russian Boxing Team, and he only improved as the rounds progressed, winning 60-54 on two scorecards, while the English judge had it 60-53 for the ruthless Russian.

After his emphatic victory, the Russian spoke about his fight.

“Our tactics in this fight consisted of not hurrying, to not show all the potential from the first rounds, but to increase strength with every coming round.  While my opponent was trying to act I was letting him do that, as meanwhile I was resting and recovering.

“I believe I have completed the task given to me by my coaches. We will now analyse this fight and keep on working ahead of upcoming encounters. This victory gave me confidence, but I have to admit that my opponent was not simple, he created a number of difficult moments for me as well.

“It is really interesting project. Obviously fighting over 6 rounds is challenging but it has only been the first fight, and there is still time to get prepared physically and tactically.“