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Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Lazarev Stopped, Ismailov Wins Debut

Lightweight Igor Lazarev suffered his first professional defeat in a bout against Binali Shakhmandarov in Tirana, Albania this past Sunday. After a close first round, Igor was stopped in the second.

Each judge scored the first round differently. One gave it to Lazarev, the other to Shakhmandarov, and the third scored it even. Just before the bell to end the round, Shakhmandarov landed a right which sent Lazarev down. The referee Marsel Dhima- who, incidentally, was clad in blue jeans- seemed to rule it a slip, but the damage was done.

Lazarev suffered the worst of his 31 professional rounds in the second. After a right cross stunned Igor, Shakhmandarov soon followed up with a flush right uppercut on the chin that led to an official knockdown. Lazarev rose, but a few punches later, he was down again. His corner then threw in the towel; Igor tried to kick it out in disgust before referee Dhima saw it, but it was too late and the casually-dressed ref called a halt to the contest a minute and 17 seconds into the second round. The 34 year old Lazarev is now 6-1 with two KOs. Shakhmandarov, a 21 year old Ukrainian-born resident of Istanbul is 1-0-1.

Sagiv Ismailov debuted impressively on the same card in Tirana, Albania on Sunday. He stopped a 17 year old Albanian debutant named Flori Hoxhallari earning a TKO victory. Sagiv showed is he an aggressive fighter while Hoxhallari spent most of the bout either retreating or switching stances. Coincidentally, Ismailov's fight was stopped at one minute and 17 seconds of the second round, the same second as Lazarev's fight completed.

Ismailov is an 18 year old super middleweight who worked in Tony Milch's Gloves and Doves program. According to Milch, Ismailov is from Bnei Ayish, Israel. The town is mostly made of Jews from Yemen and the former Soviet Union. Though Ismailov just turned 18 last month, Milch notes he is "good enough skill wise and now mature enough to box professionally."  Milch describes Ismailov as "very strong" for his age, but someone his team will build up slowly.

Friday, September 4, 2020

Ostroumov Saddled with Draw, Deserved to Win

The judges ruled Mikhael Ostroumov's fight with Ravshan Ergashev today at the USC Soviet Wings in Moscow, Russia a majority draw. Both boxers kept their undefeated records. Contrary to the official result, Ostroumov deserved his second career victory in as many pro fights.

Ostroumov, a southpaw super middleweight, set the tone in the opening second of the fight with a straight left. He outboxed Ergashev using that straight left as the Russian-based Uzbek brawler rushed in. Nicknamed "The Babyface Assassin" Ostroumov effectively ducked Ergashav's wild left hooks.

In the second, the 22-year old from Israel landed a left that forced Ergashev to perform an impromptu chicken dance. Throughout the round, Ostroumov went to the body effectively with both hands. At the end of the stanza, he took a half step back to avoid an Ergashev onslaught and countered beautifully. By the third round, Ostroumov bullied his usually aggressive volume-punching opponent. Ravshan was visibly frustrated when the bell rang to signify the end of the third.

Mikhael was extremely impressive against a tough foe. He looked like a 15-fight veteran, not a novice in his second pro fight. Ostroumov boxed when he wanted and forced an ineffective Ergashev on the backfoot when he desired. Four of Ravshan's five wins have come against opponents with a winning record, but Ostroumov made him look like an amateur. But Mikhael, who looks like a real climber, needs to improve his stamina.

Ergashev is a rugged brawler. He often led with his head, which bloodied Ostroumov's nose in the second round. By the fourth, Mikhael showed signs of exhaustion, and he held much more than he had previously. Ergashev landed a nice short right and a right uppercut in the round. Ostroumov had a better fifth, but his body language was unmistakable. Weariness was his toughest foe of the night. Though he landed some nice straight lefts and controlled center ring for some of the round, Ergashev kept flinging his wild punches, outworking the Israeli southpaw.

Boxing judges are supposed to score clean effective punching, ring generalship, and defense. If they had done so, Mikhael Ostroumov would be 2-0. Instead, these judges scored the sixth by using the criteria of 1980s Hip Hop. A tired Ergashev waved his hands like he just didn't care and then he screamed. The sight of Ergashev wildly swinging his arms with no intent to land punches while shouting can only be described as bizarre. As the seconds rolled by, the 28 year old's plan became apparent: he was attempting to con the judges into believing he was fresh and busy. In reality, if he landed a punch in the last round, it was by accident. A visibly worn down Ostroumov landed clean straight lefts so regularly that blood trickled from around Ergashev's eye.

When the first score was read- Ergashev by a point- Mikhael was confused. When the next two scores were read- 57 even- he was disappointed. The Jewish Boxing Blog scored the fight 58-56 for Ostroumov, who is now 1-0-1 with 1 KO. Ergashev is 5-0-1 with 2 KOs.