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Ustinov defeats Bakhtov, fails to impress

Alexander UstinovBy Sean McDaniel: EBA heavyweight champion Alexander Ustinov (25-0, 19 KO’s) defeated 31-year-old challenger Denis Bakhtov (33-7, 23 KO’s) by an unimpressive 12 round unanimous decision on Friday night at the Budivelnik, in Cherkasy, Ukraine. The final judge’s scores were 117-111, 118-110 and 118-110.

Ustinov, 6’7 1/2″, ranked #4 WBA, #7 WBO, #12 IBF, dominated most of the fight with his huge size advantage over the shorter 5’11” Bakhtov. All Ustinov really needed to do all night was throw his weak, lazy jab and he pretty much dominated with that weapon alone. However, Ustinov threw a lot of short left hooks and weak right hands to keep Bakhtov well under control during most of the rounds.

Ustinov had a nasty habit of shoving Bakhtov at times when the going got rough but for the most part he fought a clean fight. Bakhtov did little other than throwing desperate look hooks and right hands from a mile away and missing most of the time. When Bakhtov did land, they weren’t big enough blows to hurt the 297 pound Ustinov.

Bakhtov sustained a cut under his right eye in the 4th, and by the 10th round, his right eye was completely closed. Ustinov also sustained a cut over his right eye in the 8th, but didn’t bleed much.

Ustinov was much more active in the first half of the fight, and seemed to throw a lot less punches after that.

Perhaps the best round of the fight by far was the 4th round when Bakhtov, who’s not a big puncher by any means, tagged Ustinov with a hard left hook. This seemed to infuriate Ustinov. He then charged forward like an agry bull, firing on Bakhtov with shot after shot for what seemed like forever. Bakhtov retreated to the ropes where he took a lot of head shots. When Ustinov stopped punching out of pure exhaustion, Bakhtov motioned for him to continue to throw punches but Ustinov simply couldn’t. He was gassed out and breathing hard. Luckily for Ustinov that Bakhtov had no offensive skills, because if he did he would have knocked Ustinov out on the spot.

Overall, I wasn’t at all impressed with Ustinov and of course wasn’t even remotely impressed with the limited Bakhtov. Ustinov reminds me of a much slower, weaker and flawed version of Vitali Klitschko. Ustinov’s lack of power is troubling. He’s going to have problems when he faces the Klitschkos some day if they ever opt to fight him. I think he’ll do okay against the other heavyweight contenders with possibly the exception of Robert Helenius, but I’m still not sure. Ustinov is there to be hit despite his huge size, and his lack of a good jab, right hand and left hook will leave him vulnerable against the shorter fighters that have any kind of power. There’s not much to stand in Ustinov’s way once the Klitschkos retire, but Ustinov is no spring chicken at 34. He looks physically older than the 35-year-old Wladimir Klitschko and the 40-year-old Vitali.

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