Cruiserweight Denis Lebedev – The main event imploded, but the show went on without Deontay Wilder and Alexander Povetkin at the Khodynka Ice Palace in Moscow on Saturday, May 21, and the Russians swept the board. In the featured bout, Denis Lebedev blew away Victor Emilio Ramirez, stopping the Argentine in the second round of a contest sanctioned for various cruiserweight titles. More specifically, Lebedev wins the IBF World cruiserweight title and retains the WBA Super World cruiserweight strap. Ramirez was the defending IBF cruiserweight champion, having acquired that belt when Yoan Pablo Hernandez was stripped of the title for inactivity. Lebedev, a 36-year-old southpaw, advances to 29-2 (22). Ramirez falls to 22-3-1.
Many will remember Lebedev for his gritty showing against veteran Guillermo Jones in May of 2013. An injury to his right eye in round four ballooned into a grotesque lump that forced the eye completely shut, but Lebedev fought through it until the fight was mercilessly stopped in the eleventh frame. What followed was a 16-month hiatus. His only previous loss was by split decision to Marco Huck on Huck’s turf in Germany.
Lebedev simply overwhelmed Martinez, knocking him to the canvas with a flurry of punches in the second round. Martinez got to his feet, but Lebedev swarmed all over him, forcing U.S. referee Steve Smoger to stop the contest. It was Lebedev’s most dominating performance since his 2013 match with Roy Jones, Jr. In that bout, he knocked Jones out cold with a punch that landed two seconds before the final bell.
Lebedev-Martinez was one of four bouts scheduled for 12 rounds. The others went the full distance.
Light heavyweight Umar Salamov moved to 16-0 with a unanimous decision over England’s Bob Ajisafe. The 21-year-old Salamov, who had been training in Las Vegas, survived a rough patch in the sixth frame to win by scores of 117-111 and 115-113 twice.
Light heavyweight Dmitry Bivol captured a minor belt in only his seventh professional fight, winning a lopsided decision over Felix Valera. The scores were 116-111 and 119-107 twice. This match didn’t figure to go the distance. Bivol had won his first six pro fights inside the distance. Valera, who came in undefeated in 13 fights, had scored 10 first round knockouts in his native Dominican Republic. Although he didn’t add another KO to his ledger, this was a good win for Bivol who is making fast headway in the rich 175-pound division.
In a super middleweight contest, 21-year-old Dilmurod Satybaldiev handily defeated 35-year-old Argentine veteran Claudio Abalos. Satybaldiev knocked Avalos to the canvas in rounds 10 and 12 and won every round on two of the scorecards.
In another undercard bout of note, super featherweight Sofya Ochigava, a 2012 Olympic silver medalist, won her professional debut, outpointing fellow novice Firuza Sharipova in a 4-round contest.