By Ste Rowen
In a super weekend of a don’t-call-it-a comeback year for boxing, the jewel in the crown may very well be the fight people, American networks at least, are paying least attention to.
Yunier Dorticos (21-0-0 20KOs) faces off against Dmitry Kudryashov (21-1-0 21KOs) in San Antonio, Texas in the second quarter final of the Cruiserweight division side of the World Boxing Super Series, that’s already seen betting favorite, Oleksandr Usyk make easy work of veteran boxer Marco Huck, to become the first semifinalist.
Yunier ‘KO Doctor’ Dorticos, holder of the ‘Regular’ WBA World Championship belt has been quietly going about his business in the 200lb division. Only once going the distant in a 10-round shut-out decision against Edison Miranda (a previous light heavyweight opponent of Tony Bellew), Yunier has since made light work of Galen Brown and Fulgencio Zuniga, before participating in a fight of the year contender in 2016 vs Youri Kalenga, his first fight away from US soil. He gave as good as he got in that fight, and he got a lot from the DR Congo native but his superior skills shone through. A solid guard and making Kalenga miss whilst sending a dominant jab and punishing 1,2 combos in reply. Though the 10th round stoppage of Kalenga established Dorticos as a legitimate force in the division, that fight was in May 2016, fourteen months ago, and in that time his opponent, Kudryashov has fought three times.
As stereotypes go, Dmitry ‘Russian Hammer’ Kudryashov fits the mold for ‘Former Soviet Union’ fighters. Involved in combat sports from the age of eight, drafted into the army in 2008 before turning pro in 2011 and a left hook sent from hell. As mentioned above, Kudryashov has been kept active since his one and only defeat at the hands of Olanrewaju Durodola. He was stopped on his feet in Kazan, Russia but has since laid waste to those demons. In his comeback fight against Julio Cesar Dos Santos, the Brazilian’s corner stepped in to end the fight in the 4th round after the Russian Hammer dropped Dos Santos with a right upper cut in a sustained beating, then went onto to wipe out Colombian Santander Silgado in 98 seconds, dropping him once with his fabled left hand before knocking Silgado out ten seconds later with the same punch. Then in June this year, almost seven months on from his surprise defeat Dmitry got the opportunity to exact revenge on Durodola, this time he left no doubt about his status as a top contender. In the fifth round of a competitive bout Kudryashov dropped the Nigerian for the first time with – you guessed it – that left hand and Durodola never recovered. Kurdryashov went in for the kill, fired off his favorite weapon and sent his foe backing up half way across the ring causing the referee to step in and end the fight.
Both fighters have displayed power and although Kurdryashov has the edge when it comes to one-punch knockout power, there’s a calculated nastiness to Dorticos punches. He throws with measure, his amateur experience accrued in Cuba has no doubt added to his arsenal and as the old adage goes, precision beats power. Dmitry’s ring craft is nothing to be sniffed at but in his one loss, the problems arose from taking two to land one. His power is in no doubt but if he allows himself to take a volume of punches in search of that one-punch KO, it could be a long night. Then again, we want action and whether one fighter starts to dominate or not, all evidence points to this being a war and not one to miss.