Isaac Chilemba (23-2-2, 10 KOs) vs. Vasily Lepikhin (17-0, 9 KOs)
In a battle between top ten light heavyweights, Isaac Chilemba (23-2-2, 10 KOs) scored a one-sided unanimous decision against the previously undefeated Vasily Lepikhin (17-0, 9 KOs) on Saturday night from the Bell centre in Montreal.
Chilemba was originally supposed to fight another Russian, the hot prospect, Artur Beterbiev, but he dropped out of the fight just over a month ago. Lepikhin was a poor substitute.
Chilemba easily controlled the fight. He was busier, stronger, and outclassed his opponent in every sense of the word. The judges’ scorecards read 99-91(X2) and 100-90. I have no idea how two judges found a single round for Lepikhin.
On to the rounds..
Round One: Lepikhin starts out aggressively to Chilemba’s body. Chilemba looks to establish his jab. A light combo by Chilemba and then a quick right downstairs for the African fighter. Lepihikin lands a solid left hook. The Russian wants to get in close, but Chilemba’s movement and jab are keeping him off. Wild right followed by a grazing left hook by Lepihikin closes the round. Chilemba was busier and outlanded Lepihikin 17-8.
Round Two: Lepihikin is looking to land something substantial, but isn’t very busy, allowing Chilemba to get in much more work than his opponent. Chilemba controls the fight from the center of the ring. Lands a decent uppercut. Lepihikin very wide with his hooks. Seems to have more on his punches, but rarely lands. Strong right lead by Chilemba that snaps the Russian’s head back. Good round for Chilemba.
Round Three: Lepihikin finally lands a jab. Lepihikin misses on a counter left. Wants Chilemba to come forward, but Chilemba is not taking the bait. Neither fighter doing much. Chilemba lands two solid jabs in the last ten seconds of the round. Chilemba’s drop in activity is notable, but still landed many more punches than Lepihikin (18-5).
Round Four: Chilemba lands a counter left to the body. This isn’t an exciting fight, but an easy one to score. Lepihikin is doing a lot of waiting. Popping uppercut by Chilemba and another straight right stirs the crowd. Chilemba really controlling the fight in the center of the ring. Lepihikin could make things interesting if he would be more forceful. Through four rounds, Chilemba has landed 68 blows to Lepihikin’s 36.
Round Five: Chilemba’s jab is winning the fight for him. Lepihikin seems to have no answer. Chilemba lands a straight right and follows it with consecutive left hooks. This is starting to get easy, or perhaps easier. Chilemba getting more aggressive in this round. Less cautious. Probably because the Russian is doing very little to dissuade him.
Round Six: Lepihikin’s corner is threatening to stop the fight. Maybe from boredom or frustration, as their charge doesn’t appear to be hurt. Lephikin seems to have no plan B. Whatever plan A was is a mystery too. Chilemba pretty much doing what he wants. Nice lead right by Chilemba. Chilemba doubling up on the jab now. Three punch combo by Chilemba. A straight right stuns the Russian.
Round Seven: Again Lepihikin’s trainer (his father) tells his fighter he’s going to stop the fight. He does not. Chilemba starting to put a beating on Lepihikin now. His straight right rarely misses. For a guy who isn’t known for hitting hard, Chilemba is sure scraping up his opponent’s face. Lepihikin retreats to the ropes and just lays there. If Lepihikin is not ready to quit, he should hurry up and get there. The crowd boos the Russian into his corner.
Round Eight: Incredibly, Lepihikin’s corner tells him it was okay to take a round off. He’s practically taken the fight off. Chilemba letting his hands go more. Nothing of merit coming back. Check that. Nothing coming back. Chilemba is roughing him up now. Pushing him against the ropes and smacking him around. A very discouraged looking Lepihikin heads back to his corner. No other way to say it than to be plain. He has been terrible.
Round Nine: Lepihikin moves back to the ropes again and takes a flurry of punches. It seems like Chilemba could get a stoppage if he wants it, but he’s clearly cautious by nature and not heavy handed. Lepihikin is just blocking punches with his face now. Lepihikin lands a decent left hook and then the round returns to form.
Round Ten: Lepihikin’s father asks him if he can make it through the round. That’s the wrong question. What the trainer should be asking himself is “should he go out for another round?” The answer should be easy. Chilemba loses his mouthpiece for a moment and the fight is briefly halted. It would be merciful for both Lepihikin and the audience if that stoppage were made permanent.
HBO commentators’ Jim Lampley, Max Kellerman, and Bernard Hopkins (sitting in for Roy Jones Jr., who will be in Jean Pascal’s corner tonight for his main event scrap with Sergey Kovalev), were discussing the desire for tonight’s winner to get in line for the winner of Kovalev/Pascal. For all his solid boxing skills, Chilemba would in no way cause any boot quaking for Kovalev or Pascal. He’s a solid professional fighter, but for fighters at a higher level, probably not more than an opponent. The less said about Lepihikin’s performance, the better. Suffice it to say he not only needs to go back to the drawing board, but prove that he has one.
Steve Cunningham (28-6, 13 KOs) vs. Vyacheslav Glazkov (19-0-1, 12 KOs)
In the heavyweight precursor to the Kovalev-Pascal main event on HBO, Vyacheslav Glazkov scored a questionable unanimous decision victory over Steve Cunningham. Cunningham landed 180 of 649 punches versus 144 of 441 for Glazkov. Glazkov finished the fight fairly strong, but seemed to give away a lot of the early rounds. While scoring the fight for Glazkov would not qualify as a travesty, the two scorecards of 116-112 are curious at best. The third judge found the fight for Glazkov by 115-113 margin.
On to the rounds!
Round One: Both fighters are smaller heavyweights, but even Glazkov at 218 makes Cunningham look like at 209. Glazkov is coming forward, but little has landed by either man. Cunningham is clearly looking for counter opportunities. Cunningham lands a solid jab and follows it with a left to the body. Glazkov attempts to get rugged on the ropes, but Cunningham deftly avoids the trap. The very definition of the dreaded cliché, the “feeling out round.”
Round Two: Glazkov already looks slightly winded in his corner. Not a great sign. Cunningham looking to establish his jab. Having some success. Solid straight right by Cunningham. Glazkov not letting his hands go. Cunningham’s movement seems to bedevil him. Cunningham is landing more, but thus far, that’s not saying much.
Round Three: Cunningham throws a four punch combo. Most of them grazing, but he’s letting his hands go some. Nice uppercut to the top of Glazkov’s rib cage. Wild left hook by Glazkov misses by a mile. Glazkov gets a little busy with a good jab and a straight right. Through three rounds, Cunningham has landed 27 of 147 punches versus Glazkov’s 19 of 95.
Round Four: Harold Lederman has it 2 rounds to 1 for Cunningham going into the 4th. Glazkov looks slow and has trouble with Cunningham’s movement. Three straight jabs pepper the Ukrainian’s cheek. Glazkov keeps his left very low. Consequently, his left eye is already beginning to swell despite not the slow pace of the fight. Solid round for the American.
Round Five: Glazkov lands a solid right and Cunningham begins to trade back. Two solid shots to the body by Cunningham. Glazkov starting to force things more. Things slow down a bit, but still the most active round in the fight. Cunningham’s hand speed is superior. Good body shot by Cunningham punctuates a round where the American lands 38 punches to Glazkov’s 14.
Round Six: Cunningham opens up with two shots to Glazkov’s body. They appear to catch more elbow than ribs. Glazkov’s feet are fairly light, but his hands are not as fleet. Cunningham’s increased activity and movement are starting to take hold. Decent hook behind Cunningham’s ear. Solid counter right to the chin by Cunningham.
Round Seven: Both fighters look fit, but Cunningham looks like he could go all night. Glazkov’s corner tells him he’s “losing the fight.” They should be correct. Decent left by Glazkov is countered by a straight right from Cunningham. The fighters trade combos with neither getting an advantage. Glazkov pressing now. This could be a round you could give to the Ukrainian. Good right upstairs by Glazkov is countered by two hard body shots by Cunningham. Through 7 rounds, Cunningham has outlanded his opponent 89 to 60.
Round Eight: Glazkov comes out busy, working to both the body and the head. Cunningham takes the blows fine. Good jab by Cunningham. He should use it more. It can’t miss. Solid straight right from Cunningham. Action slows again. Glazkov lands hard right at the end of the round to Cunningham’s jaw. He definitely felt the weight of the blow. Cunningham is still winning the fight, but the rounds are getting closer. Through 8, Cunningham has landed 108 punches to Glazkov’s 77.
Round Nine: Cunningham comes out quick and throws multiple combinations. Glazkov doesn’t offer much back. Cunningham picking up the pace. Glazkov starts letting his hands go. A straight right appears to have stung Cunningham. The American getting a little sloppy with his punches. A hard right by Cunningham knocks Glazkov’s mouthpiece out. Glazkov’s cup appears to have moved over to his left hip. I can’t say I’ve ever seen that before. Cunningham is way busier overall. He’s thrown 175 (481-306) punches than his opponent through nine.
Round Ten: Lederman has it 7 rounds to 2 for Cunningham going into the 10th. Glazkov needs to get active. A straight right lands right on the jaw of Cunningham. A second one does the same, moving Cunningham’s head back even if it he isn’t hurt. Glazkov lands the clearly heavier blows and likely took the round.
Round Eleven: Both fighter are trading some in the middle of the ring, but nothing solid lands. Cunningham getting a little loose with his defense, but Glazkov not taking advantage. Glazkov has a moment with a hard right hand to the side of Cunningham’s head. Cunningham lands two slapping blows back. Glazkov loses his mouthpiece again. Cunningham throws a lead left hook that left him wide open to a counter, but Glazkov can’t take advantage.
Round Twelve: Glazkov’s corner advises him to go after it. The fight has tightened on Lederman’s scorecard with him having a 106-103 lead for Cunningham. Glazkov is really trying now. He may have hurt Cunningham briefly, but not enough to get on top of him. Cunningham landing to the body and throwing some combos. A good straight right lands for him as well. Glazkov is landing the heavier punches, but it’s hard not to wonder if he didn’t wait too long. Lederman gives the final three rounds to Glazkov, but his scorecard give the fight to Cunningham 115-113.
This has to be a bitter disappointment for the 38-year-old Cunningham. He was busier, landed more punches and was relatively unmarked compared to his opponent. I would agree with Lederman’s scorecard of 115-113 for the American, but that being said, this was hardly a scintillating fight. Glazkov is a solid fighter, but he seems to be in no hurry to press his offense. I would not be surprised if his team expected Michael Buffer to read a different decision than the one that was given.
Regardless, Cunningham has to wonder about where his road leads to now and Glazkov may move forward, but based upon this performance, he does not look like a serious challenger to Klitschko or Wilder either.
Photo Credit : David Spagnolo/Main Events
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