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Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Debutants Alex Karchevski and Leon Balandine to Fight in February

Alex Karchevski and Leon Balandine are scheduled to face off in Ashdod, Israel on February 9. This will be only the second time The Jewish Boxing Blog has covered two Jewish boxers battling one another in a prizefight. Both are making their pro debut.

Karchevski, a 31 year old from Lod, Israel, is the more experienced man. He has been a finalist in the Israeli amateur champions almost every year since 2016. He also made the finals in 2013. He won his weight class in '18 and '22 and has fought as a middleweight, light heavyweight, and heavyweight.

With so much experience, Karchevski can adapt and fight in different styles, but he seems to prefer to be on the front-foot pressing forward. He keeps a high guard in close and can crack with either hand. Rangy southpaws who prefer to fight at distance have given him some trouble in the past, but they are a rare breed in the pros.

Balandine is a 21 year old Israeli from Ashkelon, a city located on the Mediterranean coast south of Tel Aviv. He's boxed since he was a kid, but has no experience on the senior amateur level. For the past four months, while finishing up his IDF commitment, Leon has trained in Evgheni Boico's gym in Ashdod with pro boxers Sagiv Ismailov and Igor Lazarev, kickboxing star Itay Gershon, and amateur boxing standout Chananya Davids.

While sparring doesn't always give the best picture of how a fighter will perform on fight night, Balandine showed a good ability to box behind the jab in a recent open sparring session. Though he was susceptible to the counter right, he finished the session with a perfectly placed body shot that put his opponent down for the count.

Balandine will want to use the jab and go to the body to thwart Karchevski's pressure. Karchevski can box, but pressuring Balandine could wear down the younger man and create more openings. Alex will look to counter Balandine's jab with rights. Because of his experience, Karchevski must be viewed as the favorite.

This bout is scheduled for four rounds in the super middleweight divsion.

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