Saturday, April 01, 2006

Heavyweight title changes hands; Lyakhovich takes WBO crown

By JE Grant

CLEVELAND --- Unheralded Serguei Lyakhovich, 23-1 (14 KOs), Belarus, 238 ½, stunned defending WBO titlist Lamon Brewster, 33-3 (29 KOs), Vero Beach, Fla., 232, by taking the title with a unanimous 12-round decision.

The clear favorite going in, Brewster figured to wear down Lyakhovich, a fighter who had been inactive since December 2004.

Instead it was Lyakhovich who was able to remain stronger in the closing rounds to pull out the improbable victory.

The fighters traded hard shot in the first five rounds. Brewster, noted for his sharp left-hooks, instead landed with flush right hands.

Lyakhovich (sometimes spelled Liakhovich) retaliated with skillful jabs and crunching right hands to the body. Brewster was clearly slowed by the hard body punches and was rarely able to mount an assault with combinations.

All that changed in round seven as Lyakhovich appeared to tire. Brewster landed a hard right hand that send the bigger man to the ropes. Brewster followed with a strong combination that forced Lyakhovich to take a knee for the fight’s only knockdown.

If it seemed that Lyakhovich was wilting while Brewster was coming on, it was only a mirage. In round eight, Lyakhovich regained his strength and his composure.

Lyakhovich alternately boxed and punched, hurting Brewster twice down the stretch to pull away. JEBoxing scored all of the last five rounds for Lyakhovich.

The difference in the fight was clearly the boxing skills and overall strength of Lyakhovich. He repeatedly landed hard right hands to the body of Brewster, effectively negating the “Relentless” one’s left hooks. His jabs keep Brewster on the outside for significant periods, none of which helped Brewster’s cause.

Given that Lyakhovich represented an optional defense for Brewster, we can almost bet there is a rematch clause in the contract. The bout offered as much excitement as we’ve seen in heavyweight boxing of late and a rematch could prove interesting.

Official scoring was 115-113, 115-112, and 117-110 all for Lyakhovich. JEBoxing scored the bout 116-111.

With the recent WBA title winning effort by Russian Nicolay Valuev, and Ukrainian Wladimir Klitschko fighting for the IBF title later in April, it is clear that heavyweights from the former Soviet bloc are making a mark on the division.

Interesting months lie ahead.


Anonymous the cruiserweight said...

Well,the 'wise guys' (asute bettors,and knowledgeable boxing people) knew better here,huh? That's certainly not to suggest that if you picked Brewster to win-and in emphatic fashion-that you are some sort of 'pugilistic idiot',but to most in 'the know'--this was NOT any kind of 'big upset'.At all.Anyways,I'll be back with a few more thoughts and comments,but I will leave you with this...

The white Eastern-Euro hvy's are here,they are for real,and they aren't going away anytime soon.I-personally-think this is GREAT for hvy boxing-and boxing as a whole-but I would be lying if I said I wasn't concerned about the American scene,in particuarly the young hvy's.Or should I say lack thereof.I believe there are multiple reasons for this-to many to go into on this post,and some of which are probably mentioned in that article down below which I still haven't read-but I fear that the reasons have authentic merit,and this is not just a 'cyclical void' we are experiencing here.But in any case,it looks like things may get very interesting in 2007 and beyond in the hvy picture,and for that I am obviously thankful.

I'll be back to address the (Very good!) fight tomorrow.Peace...

12:46 AM  
Blogger JE Boxing said...

When the Berlin Wall fell there were top amateur athletes in the eastern bloc countries, but there was no bridging agent to the professional ranks. The established European scene began to fill that void in the last few years and some guys, like Lyakhovich, Jirov, Maskaev, etc... moved to the states and have made the transition. Look for more of the same soon. Guys such as Dimitrenko, Ibragimov (both of them), Chagaev etc... will likely make a splash.

5:26 AM  

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