IBA / IBA Champions Night

Subkhankulov wins IBA Champions’ Night Ufa main event in front of home crowd

April 21st, 2024 / IBA, IBA Champions Night

A hometown welcome for Artur Subkhankulov guided the Russian to win the main event of IBA Champions’ Night in Ufa, defeating Romania’s James Chereji in the 60kg category at the City Sports Palace, crowning him the new IBA European champion.

Born and raised in the host city, Subkhankulov enjoyed a front-foot offence throughout, establishing this stance from the off. Chereji finally showed a fire within himself in the third round, finding the necessary aggression to peg the Russian back and continued that attitude on the counterattack in the fourth round.

Just as momentum looked to come back towards the Romanian, Subkhankulov brought Chereji to his knees in his corner, leading to an eight count and wobbly legs for the visitor. Subkhankulov smelled blood and charged his foe with flurries of punches, which Chereji just about survived as he tried to engage clinches as often as possible. Unsurprisingly, Subkhankulov was named the unanimous victor and he celebrated, draped in the regional flag of Bashkortostan and with the IBA European belt wrapped around his waist.

In the penultimate fight of the night, Russia’s Danis Gabdrafikov would get one over Bobo-Usmon Baturov from Uzbekistan in the 67kg bout. Baturov would knock Gabdrafikov to the ground, causing him to roll backwards into the corner, stunning him. While this was contentiously deemed a slip, there was no doubt about a left howitzer from Gabdrafikov in the third round, which took the Uzbek boxer to the mat for a count of eight.

Another eight count came in the sixth round for Baturov thanks to another southpaw back hand, effectively guaranteeing victory for Gabdrafikov who recovered from the shaky start to win.

Pavel Sosulin made it a third IBA Champions’ Night victory in his home country, going eight rounds in the 71kg category against Ulugbek Sobirov, representing Uzbekistan. Sobirov would take Sosulin to the time limit, becoming the first boxer to last until the last bell against Sosulin at IBA Champions’ Night, but he could thank his resilience for that as he managed to absorb so much punishment without falling.

As the Russian Sosulin sent the home support into a frenzy with his strong combinations, Sobirov endured, occasionally returning with glimpses of brilliance. There was no doubt who the winner was, as Sosulin once again looked dominant to keep an unbeaten streak at IBA Champions’ Night.

A fantastic feisty 71kg affair saw Dmitry Zakharov defeat Kyrgyzstan’s Syrgak Abdyzhapar Uulu. Both boxers were making their professional debuts and used the opening three minutes to test the waters, mostly focusing on evasion than aggression. Abdyzhapar Uulu would become the aggressor throughout the six rounds, but he came up against the Russian, a master in counter attacking.

Third round saw Zakharov fly in with a left hook, followed by a right uppercut that threw the Kyrgyz athlete off his balance slightly. This combination looked to change the momentum of the bout and later in that third round, the Russian slammed a counter right hand to Uulu. Zakharov looked composed the longer the bout progressed and despite the activity he faced from his opponent, he was largely unscathed and left Ufa with the win.

In the longest match of the night, Leon Antonyan from Russia defeated Azizbek Abdugofurov of Uzbekistan over 10 rounds in the 76.2kg category. The ninth round was one of the liveliest, with both trading blows and hitting punches from close range. While Azizbek Abdugofurov was resilient and looked as good as his opponent in the middle portion of the bout, it was ultimately a unanimous decision in favor of Antonyan, who delivered the best strikes throughout.

Gor Khachatryan gave Russia an opening win against Seymur Isayev from Azerbaijan in the 63.5kg division. The Russian knocked his Azeri foe with a left hook in the second round, summoning a count of eight. After getting back up, he took more punishment from Khachatryan and eventually fell to his feet, being counted out. While Isayev looked despondent on the canvas, his opponent celebrated his knockout victory after less than six minutes.

Bekkhan Israilov from Russia would claim the victory in the +92kg category in a scrappy affair against Kazakhstan’s Nursultan Amanzholov, with judges supporting him by split decision.