Fenerbahçe Ülker Sports Arena in Istanbul, Turkey was the location for the Week One Pre-ranking AIBA Pro Boxing (APB) event for the Middleweights (75kg) and one of the strongest APB categories certainly lived up to the hype.
Many boxing insiders had tipped Tavares for glory in this bout, due to his vast experience of five-round boxing, but it was the Egyptian who excelled over this six round format, mystifying his opponent from beginning to end.
As the fight progressed, both fighters sought to find a knock-out shot, but despite some big right hands from the French fighter, the fight went to the scorecards, where one judge gave every round to Abdin 60:54, while two judges gave a solitary round for Tavares.
In the second fight of the night, number two seed Middleweight and 2012 Ukrainian National Champion Dmytro Mytrofanov fought Romania’s Bogdan Juratoni, who won a bronze medal at the 2011 AIBA World Championships aged just 21, and followed it up with a silver medal at the 2013 European Championships.
It was almost impossible to split the two fighters in the build-up, and the same could be said in the ring, as they both gave it their all for the entire duration of the bout.
Neither man gave up the centre of the ring, as they fought nose to nose for much of the match. Juratoni was hit by a good shot in the third round and his efforts were impacted by that as the fight progressed.
Despite both men working hard, Mytrofanov improved more as the rounds carried on, and it was his hand that was eventually raised, with two judges giving the match to him 58:56, while the Vietnamese judge awarded the fight to Juratoni by the same score.
It was a split decision win for the Ukrainian, but it will give him a lot of confidence in the coming weeks.
Top seeded Russian Artem Chebotarev won the gold medal at the European Boxing Championships in 2010, and the silver medal at the 2013 AIBA World Boxing Championships, and he opened his APB account against Ecuador’s Marlo Delgado, who competed at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
The fight started tightly, with a big right hand from Delgado the highlight of the first round. As the rounds progressed, Chebotarev’s movement proved to be a difference maker, and his body punching stopped the Ecuadorian in his tracks at times.
In the fourth round, Delgado had two warnings from the referee due to his inability to keep his gum shield in, and as the noise reached an incredible degree of loudness in the last round, Delgado’s gum shield came out again, which gave the referee no choice but to disqualify him with ten seconds left of the fight.
At the time of the disqualification, Chebotarev was ahead on all three scorecards, and the top seeded boxer will be happy to have successfully navigated through his first APB bout, even though the method of victory was less than desirable.
Turkey’s home favourite Adem Kilicci was a bronze medallist in the 2007 AIBA World Championships, won a silver medal in the 2011 European Boxing Championships on home soil in Ankara, and the home hero was treated with an amazing ovation as he made his way to the ring.
Luckily for those in attendance, his fight against Kenya’s Nickson Otieno Abaka was a successful one.
Kilicci absolutely dominated the contest from beginning to end, bewitching his tough and rugged opponent with a vast array of shots, and though the game Abaka gave it his all, he was comprehensively outclassed by the Turk who could be a player at this weight
The Italian judge gave three 10:8 rounds to Kilicci, and eventually awarded him a huge 60:51 margin of victory, while the other two judges scored the fight 60:54 to the home fighter.