Shafikov Bludgeons Nugaev in Nine
By Marc Livitz: Denis “Djingis Khan” Shafikov dished out a thorough clubbing of Rustam “Mongoose” Nugaev tonight in an IBF lightweight title eliminator at the Chumash Casino in Santa Ynez, California.
Denis scored a ninth round TKO victory. The all-Russian affair promised fireworks and the orthodox (Nugaev) vs southpaw matchup began at a tactical pace. Shafikov anticipated Rustam’s jab well and was able to block it at times. Denis landed a short left to close the round. The close in fighting continued through the second but the leather began to flutter, if not fly once the third round bell sounded. Shafikov bloodied Nugaev’s nose early and sought to capitalize. Body shots caused Rustam to stand straight up more than once and the follow up uppercuts from Denis did even more damage.
A headbutt in the fourth slowed the action for just a moment. Again, for just a moment. Nugaev sought to push Shafikov into the ropes and whenever he did so, he connected again and again to Denis’s head, who himself would answer and continue to redecorate Rustam’s face.
The fifth gave us boxer (Nugaev) versus brawler. Rustam’s jab was sporadic and he kept repeating the error of coming in too close. When he did, Denis would answer with heavy shots. He threw a straight right up from his pockets into Nugaev’s face to close the period. The sixth was a thing of beauty. The gash around Shafikov’s right eye didn’t slow him down and he almost dropped Rustam, whose shots were almost meaningless because of his awkward stance close in. The five inch height advantage of Nugaev wasn’t helping. He was getting beat up but he kept on fighting. A perfect left from Denis tagged his compatriot squarely on the side of the head to close round seven.
At the beginning of round eight, referee Jack Reiss informed Nugaev’s corner that he’d stop the contest if the uneven beating continued. Rustam tried to chase his countryman a bit more, but he was visibly exhausted. Much to the dismay of his trainer, Nugaev was allowed to continue into the ninth. He tried to come forward and once again use his jab only this time, Nugaev had waited long enough. Successive, unanswered shots to the head and body sent Rustam into the ropes. The punishment continued. Soon thereafter, Reiss stepped in at the 1:16 mark of round nine. Denis Shafikov earned his number one contender ranking for the IBF lightweight title the hard way this evening and improved to (33-1-1, 18 KO’s), while Rustam Nugaev’s heart wasn’t enough. His record now stands at (27-6-1, 17 KO’s).
Pedraza Stops Martinez in Six
2008 Puerto Rico Olympian Juan “The Sniper” Pedraza maintained his undefeated record in the evening’s co-main event by way of a sixth round TKO win over Mexican Juan Carlos Martinez in a lightweight contest. Pedraza used a long jab in the bout’s opening moments and connected with a few combinations later in the round. Martinez landed a meaningful body shot to his credit in the initial three minutes. He didn’t look bad for a man who took the bout on ten days notice as he continued to hang around and compete throughout the second. Pedraza showed some swelling around his right eye before the bell sounded. This seemed to energize the Mexican combatant in the third and he kept on coming forward. Juan Pedraza briefly yet inexplicably was bated into giving up his two inch height advantage and leaned forward alongside his wide stance.
The fourth was much of the same. Harder shots landed for each fighter in round five. “The Sniper” Pedraza was content to let his hands go and abandon his long jab. It seemed to be the right strategy at first, although it only beckoned Martinez to throw wild shots upstairs. Juan’s talent began to shine through as the sixth was underway. His jab was connecting more and more. However, none of his shots were swaying his opponent. Still, Martinez’s corner had seen enough and they threw in the towel before the seventh began. The victory pushed Juan Pedraza’s unbeaten record to (17-0, 11 KO’s), while the game yet outmatched Martinez fell to (20-14-1, 7 KO’s).
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