By Alexey Sukachev
Russia – Quantum mechanics be damned (for there’s undisputed and undefeated boxing mechanics), there are certain things one should expect, and others – one should not.
With a combined record of 47 wins (46 by KO) and 4 losses (all four by stoppages), no one expected the fight between Ilunga Makabu and Dmitry Kudryashov, two of the sport’s most vaunted gunslingers, to last even till the mid-point.
And everyone expected it to be filled with knockdowns, buckling knees, wobbling legs, and dripping blood, and – on the top of all that – high-octane drama.
And those everyone got what they had wished for in one of the most adrenaline-powered fights of 2019 in Russia. When the dust storm set, one who was still standing – and barely so – was the Congolese warrior, a winner after five rounds of two-way action.
The most sensational round of the fight was its first, as it was also the only quiet round between the dynamic duo. Kudryashov, 33, feeling vulnerable after hard-luck losses to Olanrewaju Durodola (later avenged) and Yunier Dorticos (never avenged), looked to outbox Makabu of Congo but living in South Africa, who himself was reserved.
It would have been so hadn’t someone landed a punch of importance. Once, who broke the balance, was WBC #4 Makabu, 31, who was last seen losing three years ago to Tony Bellew, then the WBC cruiserweight champion. Makabu landed some crisp shots to the head of the Russian Hammer, and the tactics flew out of the window, as rumble began. Makabu was standing and weaving, while Kudryashov was mostly off-balance.
Finally both fighters connected with their left hooks simultaneously, and down went the Russian, prompting referee Hector Afu to start the count. Makabu, meanwhile, was hardly upright and wobbled to the neutral corner on dancing legs. He recovered well and continued fireworks with always willing Kudryashov, who was at the ropes eating punches and barely got past two.
In the third, Kudryashov was still experiencing effects of pummeling in the previous round. Makabu jabbed and landed crisp shots but WBC #5 Kudryashov got his attention in harm’s way several times, rocking Makabu to the core. Yet, the end of the round was for Congolese. In the fourth, WBC #4 Kudryashov was even more successful, landing several meaningful blows in wild exchanges while both boxers weren’t steady on their feet. However, the Russian paid dear prices, being rocked a couple of times and having his face cut in several places.
During the break, referee advised Team Kudryashov that it could be their last round. Indeed it was. Kudryashov charged mercilessly but Makabu survived it, then returned fire onto the Russian, After several unanswered shots, Kudryashov being pinned to the ropes, Hector Afu waved it off 2:36 of the fifth. Ilunga Makabu (now 25-2, 24 KOs) is the new WBC Silver cruiserweight champion. Kudryashov drops down to 23-3, 23 KOs.