As its initial ranking phase continues, AIBA Pro Boxing (APB) continued it’s “Matches for Champions” this weekend with five more world titles being awarded.
In Rome, Italy at the Palacatania, Russian heavyweight and 2013 European Boxing Championships gold medalist Alexei Egorov remained undefeated at 4-0, scoring a hard fought majority decision in a rematch with home fighter Clemente Russo (2-2) to become the first APB heavyweight champion. Russo, a two time gold medalist at the AIBA World Boxing Championships, took an early lead, but Egorov came back strong from the fourth round on to secure the decision and the heavyweight title, even after Russo managed to win the final frame on two score cards. Official scores were 77:75 twice, and 76:76.
The Universiada Hall in Sofia, Bulgaria played host to the light heavyweight championship bout, contested between Iran’s 2012 Olympic representative Ehsan Rouzbahani and Kennedy St. Pierre, a 2014 Commonwealth Games silver medalist fighting out of Mauritius. Despite suffering a bloody nose early on, Rouzbahani bounced back to control the latter half of the bout and win by scores of 78:74 and 78:73 twice.
Kazakhstan’s Berik Abdrakhmanov (4-0) and Uzbeki fighter Hurshid Tojibaev (3-1) fought for the lightweight title in Kazakhstan at the Daulet Sports Complex in Astana. Abdrakhmanov controlled the action early, with Tojibaev putting the pressure on in the middle rounds in an attempt to close the gap. In the end, it was Abdrakhmanovs ring generalship that made the difference, and he walked away with the APB lightweight title by scores of 78:74 and 77:75 twice. The newly crowned champ entered the APB coming off a gold medal win at the 2013 Asian Boxing Championships, while Tojibaev represented his country in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Two of the weekends title bouts took place at the SKK Sever in Novosibirsk, Russia. On Friday, home favorite Mikhail Aloian (4-0), a two-time AIBA World Championships gold medalist, defeated Mexico’s 20 bout World Series of Boxing veteran Elias Emigdio (3-1) by scores of 78:74 across the board to become the first APB flyweight champion. This was said to have been one of the best contests fought in the APB yet and despite the scoring, to have been very close each round.
Saturday at the same venue, a pair of 25 year old light welterweights fought a rematch for the light welterweight strap. Armen Zakaryan (4-0) and Artem Harutyunyan (2-2) were both medalists at the 2013 European Boxing Championships with the prior winning the gold and a bronze medal going to the latter. This bout was closer than the first where Zakaryan swept the bout, as the 25 year old German looked to avenge his prior defeat. Unfortunately for him, it was Zakaryan who took the honors, winning five of the eight rounds and taking a 78:74 decision on all three judge’s scorecards.