Friday, 21 June 2013

Krzysztof Wlodarczyk v Rakhim Chakhkiev

The Cruiserweight division may never have the massive level of prestige that the Heavyweight division has but it's getting it's self a real reputation as one of the most exciting divisions in the sport. This excitement was shown once again as Poland's Krzysztof Wlodarczyk (48-2-1, 34) retained his WBC title with a stoppage of the highly touted Rakhim Chakhkiev (16-1, 12).

The bout started perfectly for Chakhkiev who dominated the opening round with his aggression and body work. He really looked like a star in the making with through the way he dominated the champion in the first 3 minutes cutting Wlodarczyk and really imposing his will on the bout.

The dominance of Chakhkiev continued through out the opening rounds as he took the second in clear fashion and dropped Wlodarczyk in round 3 to claim a clear 4 point lead through just 3 rounds. It was the dream start and it appeared almost certain that we'd have a new champion.

Going in to the 6th round it was almost impossible to give Wlodarczyk even a share of a round. The champion was doing next to nothing offensively and was being clearly out worked by a determined challenger. As those who have seen Wlodarczyk fight will know however, the Pole is a notoriously starter and seemed that Chakhkiev was himself slowing down very visibly as we went in the middle section of the bout.

In round 6 the bout started to turn against Chakhkiev when Wlodarczyk dropped Chakhkiev with a left hook. The shot, which appeared to come on the break seemed to annoy Chakhkiev who complained, but the referee gave the count anyway with the old adage of "protect yourself at all times" ringing true.

Wlodarczyk would really come back in to the bout the following round as he dropped Chakhkiev a second time. Although the replays seemed to indicate the feet were involved, the knockdown was an eye catching one following several monster shots from Wlodarczyk. It was starting to become obvious that Chakhkiev was a man who was tiring whilst Wlodarczyk, despite taking the body shots early on, was still fresh.

Going in to the 8th round the clear lead on the scorecards had been slashed by 4 points thanks to the knockdowns. Chakhkiev was now bloodied from the nose and starting to look like a fighter who was beginning to doubt himself. The doubts were magnified early in the 4th when he tagged Wlodarczyk hard and couldn't budge the Pole who fired back. This lead to one of the bouts few trading sequences which quickly sent Chakhkiev down to the canvas for the 3rd time in the bout.

This time around the Russian was very slow too his feet. The power or Wlodarczyk and the high work rate of Chakhkiev seemed to have left the challenger with little energy and he'd be sent to the canvas once more before the referee waved the bout off.

The victory quickly saw the champion yelling to the crowd (something along the lines of "I'm the champion") which did little more than rile the crowd in to jeering at the man who had stopped their national hero.

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