Petra Kirsch – Gelsenkirchen
Boxing on the undercard of Denis Lebedev’s high-profile clash with James Toney was another notable cruiserweight bout as fast-rising prospect-come-contender Ismayl Sillakh was aligned with Ali Ismailov at the Khodynka Ice Palace in Moscow, Russia on Friday, November 4. Sillakh astounded the slowly-filling Palace with smooth moves, a clinical jab, accurate four-to-five punch flurries and gained the victory in the fourth round with a chin-crunching uppercut.
Judges verdict: Sillakh by way of fourth round knockout.
Sillakh, who had an incredible amateur career with 302 wins against 16 defeats, entered the ring at the Ice Palace with an undefeated record as a professional to protect and a fierce reputation as one of boxing’s true hard-men as, he claims, Chad Dawson refused to even spar with him. This, on top of strong victories over Daniel Judah and Yordinis Despaigne.
As a cruiserweight, lining up against Ismailov, it was the California-based, Ukrainian of Sierra Leone descent who boasted the finer, well cut frame, standing athletic at 6’1. In round one, he showed good footwork compared to Ismailov, who appeared more flat-footed and, while he moved around the ring, his muffin tops oozed and wobbled over the top of his black trunks. Sillakh won the first round on the jab alone. It was a varied punch for him as he’d target the braincase and the breadbasket… it would not always be forceful as he measured range with it, flicked it out on occasion while also unleashing enough power to bloody Ismailov’s nose.
In round two, Sillakh began attaching the right cross to his orthodox jab punch and even began throwing three punch combinations that also included right uppercuts, right hooks to the side of the body and left jabs to the paunch. Sillakh, really, was producing a boxing clinic. Touted as one of the finest 175-200lb prospects in the world, a bout with Ismailov proved to be a mismatch early on as Ismailov looked a league below Sillakh due to the latter’s technical schooling, punch accuracy, ring generalship and foot work.
Sillakh showed off his defensive capability in round three as, knowing he was lagging behind, Ismailov attempted to force the fight, however, his offensive weaponry was rendered null and void as Sillakh’s Philly-crab proved impenetrable when he was backed up against the ropes. Moments later, Sillakh again showed off his technical skill by landing combinations onto Ismailov’s frame. Sillakh’s ability to cover up was not an asset shared by Ismailov as the Azerbaijan fighter had no answer to the right hand over the top and the hook shot to the midsection.
A little rough-housing ensued in round four as Ismailov attempted to bully Sillakh into making mistakes. Sillakh, though, in an attempt to close the fight, sat down on his punches more and forced Ismailov into quitting when he was floored with a textbook uppercut. Ismailov made the count but, upon rising to his feet, shook his head in a clear statement of not wanting any more action.
Sillakh showed good finishing ability in closing the fight prior to the scheduled ten round distance and secured a swifter stoppage than Denis Lebedev, who headlines this Russian card, as Lebedev retired Ismailov after six rounds. A classy operator, Sillakh is surely now capable of being thrust into facing ranked contenders. With the victory, he rose to 17-0-0, 14ko while Ismailov slumped to 18-8-0, 13ko.