Heroic Hurshid Tojibaev terrific in Tashkent against Dmitry Polyanskiy

A scintillating night of Lightweight (60 kg) Cycle I Round 2 AIBA Pro Boxing electrified Tashkent, Uzbekistan as Hurshid Tojibaev (UZB) defeated Dmitry Polyanskiy (RUS) in the main event.

Tojibaev’s victory established the Uzbek as the number one contender for APB Lightweight Champion Berik Abdrakhmanov (KAZ), and earned the 25-year-old a qualification quota for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in the process.

The two boxers had met previously in the first week of APB when Tojibaev outpointed his Russian rival, and their rematch finished with an identical result.

Cheered on by his ardent supporters in Uzbekistan, Tojibaev fought on the back-foot in the opening round as he soaked up the forward pressure from Polyanskiy with consummate ease.

From the beginning of the second frame, Tojibaev began to unleash frequent flurries of body punches to the midsection of Polyanskiy, which in-time severely sapped the stamina of his opponent.

Although Polyanskiy’s desire remained high and his power punches often broke through the Uzbek guard, he could not garner any sustained attacks in the first half of the fight.

Tojibaev’s tactics of swift body punching and economical movement continued to prove successful as the bout reached its latter stages, and his work towards the closing seconds of each round was particularly spiteful.

As the crowd grew louder, so too did the thud of Tojibaev’s punches, with dynamic body shots once again finding the target often and with metronome quality.

At the end of the eighth and final round, it seemed clear to the home crowd that they were about to celebrate a famous victory for their favourite, and Tojibaev was soon named the winner on all three scorecards to widespread jubilation in the venue.

Scores of 80:72, 79:73 and 78:74 reflected the dominance from the Uzbek, with the result qualifying him for his second Olympic Games.

An excellent undercard in Tashkent began with a surprise debut victory for Shafiq Chitou (BEN) against Artur Bril (GER).

Chitou recovered from losing the first round to claim an inaugural victory in this competition by split decision.

Charly Suarez (PHI) then produced a boxing masterclass when he dropped 2009 AIBA World Champion Domenico Valentino (ITA) to the canvas en route to a points triumph, while David Oliver Joyce’s (IRE) bout with Robson Conceicao (BRA) finished as a Technical Draw.