By Tyson Bruce
In an excellent main event former lightweight title challenger Dennis Shafikov gradually beat down an extremely game Rustam Nugaev over ten rounds. Shafikov, who came in the shorter but naturally bigger man, used his greater technique and hand speed to outbox the extremely determined Nugaev.
The fight got off to fast pace right from the opening bell as Nugaev tried pressure the more skilled Shafikov. Shafikov answered back by threading the needle with stiff jabs from the southpaw stance and an excellent right hook to the body-right uppercut combination.
Shafikov swept the first three rounds by landing the cleaner more effective punches, but Nugaev came on strong with his trademark relentless aggression in the fourth round. Despite his best efforts, Nugaev was no match for Shafikov and his massive advantage in speed and technique.
From approximately the sixth round on, despite Nugaev’s best efforts, the finality of the bout became a matter of time. Shafikov was raking Nugaev with clean punches to the head and body. Nugaev was cut over the bridge of the nose and had grotesque swelling over the left side of his face.
The fight was very nearly stopped after the seventh round by Nugaev’s trainer Rudy Hernandez but was allowed to continue after the fighter’s protests. The bout was quickly stopped in the eight round after Shafikov staggered Nugaev with a volley of punches.
On the undercard undefeated 2008 Puerto Rico Olympian Jose “The Sniper” Pedraza, 18-0-0-12 Kos, won when Juan Carlos Martinez,19-15-1- 6 Kos, quit between rounds six and seven. Pedraza steadily wore down Martinez, who took the fight on ten days’ notice.