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Amir “Hardcore” Mansour & Sergey Kuzmin TD in Moscow!


By: Ken Hissner

At the Luzhniki Arena in Moscow Monday American heavyweight Amir “Harcore” Mansour and Sergey Kuzmin battled into the third round when a clash of heads ended the bout. Italian referee Massimino Barrvecchio stopped the bout at 2:45 of the round.

Both fighters went to their corners and ring physicians wouldn’t allow the bout to continue. Mansour had a nasty cut over his right eye and Kuzmin was cut on the forehead. They were fighting for the WBC International title which still remains vacant.

Mansour, 23-2-1 (16), a southpaw, who hasn’t fought since March of 2017 has pleaded to his manager Joe Hand, Sr. to get him a bout. In that last fight Mansour defeated former contender Travis “My Time” Kauffman, 31-1, in the latter’s hometown of Reading, PA, by decision to capture the vacant USA PA State title and the vacant WBC United States (USNBC) title. “I have seven belts and can’t get a title fight,” said Mansour. He is ranked No. 15 in the WBO ratings where New Zealand’s Joe Parker is champion.
The Faller Kuzmin, 11-0-2 (8) is a former Russian amateur champion and currently holds the WBC Eurasia Pacific Boxing Council title. He has defeated four Americans in his eleven previous bouts. The last was stopping Malcolm Tann, 24-4, in June in Ontario, Canada. He has fought four of his bouts in the United States so possible a rematch could be held in the US or not than back to Russia if the promoter World of Boxing Promotions does the return bout.

Mansour has had the kind of disappointment of seeing two of his previous opponents prior to the Kauffman match get world title fights. In October of 2015 he was held to a disputed split decision draw against Gerald Washington, 16-0, who went onto fight Deontay Wilder in February of 2017 ending in defeat.

The other opponent was Dominic Breazeale, 16-0, in January of 2016 when Mansour put a beating on Breazeale dropping him in the third round in sweeping the first four rounds and winning the fifth when he suffered a bout ending cut in his tongue requiring 36 stitches. His corner man Danny Davis said “I have never seen so much blood coming from a fighter’s mouth back in the dressing room. Along with Davis Calvin Davis works the corner.
The judges selected for this bout were Predrag Aleksic from Montenegro and from Belgium Daniel Van de Wield and Ukranian Olena Pobyvailo who also resides in Belgium.

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Amir “Hardcore” Mansour and Sergey Kuzman in Moscow Monday


Amir “Hardcore” Mansour and Sergey Kuzman in Moscow Monday
By: Ken Hissner

New Jersey heavyweight Amir “Hardcore” Mansour has been without a fight since March of 2017. He is substituting for Lucas Browne of Australia on Monday at the Luzhniki Arena in Moscow for the WBC heavyweight International title. He is taking on Russian Sergey Kuzman who is unbeaten and untested.

Mansour, 23-2-1 (16), is a southpaw who comes to conquer his opponents by knockout. He has had some bad breaks since returning to the ring after 10 years of inactivity and drew well in the state of DE. He trains out of the Joe Hand Gym in South Philly is managed by Hand Sr.

“In all this time since March I had a couple of short notice low paying offers and that is it. I look forward to this fight and know I will need a knockout to win,” said Mansour.

“This is professional boxing and you have to be ready for last moment changes. We were ready for that but we had to make some last moment adjustments of course, but nothing major. We were watching Mansour’s fight with Breazeale and we know what he is, an assertive strong fighter with character who steps into the ring with the will to win,” said Kuzman. He added pertaining to Wilder “he avoids fighting strong fighters. Our goal is to get rated in the WBC and look to fight Wilder in 2018,” said Kuzman.

Mansour is ranked No. 15 by the WBO organization. He is coming off wins over Joey Dawejko and Travis Kauffman both Philadelphia boxers. His first loss was to another Philadelphia boxer and former 2-time Cruiserweight champion Steve “USS” Cunningham who he had on the canvas but ran out of gas near the end of that fight but still could have gotten the decision on this writers score card.

Mansour had a disputed draw with Gerald Washington in a fight that he clearly won. Another loss was to Dominic Breazeale who he beat up for four rounds. In the fifth round he took a punch that cut into his tongue causing 36 stitches afterwards. The fight was stopped in the fifth round when he couldn’t continue. Neither Washington nor Breazeale were interested in re-matches for obvious reasons.

Kuzman is 11-0 (8), and will have about a 3-4 inch height advantage over Mansour. Both fighters are rated in the IBO with Kuzman No. 28 and Mansour No. 30. Kuzman is gunning for WBC champion Deontay “the Bronze Bomber” Wilder while Mansour being ranked in the WBO would love an opportunity to fight WBO champion Joe Parker from New Zealand unless a win here gets him into the WBC rankings and a chance to fight Wilder. Both fighters would jump at the opportunity for a title fight with any of the current champions.

Mansour is 45 but a young 45 while Kuzman is 30 and with less than a dozen fights under his belt would be taking a chance with either Browne or Mansour but he is willing to fight both.

Kuzman holds the Eurasia Pacific Council title. He had a very good amateur career going back to 2010 winning a World Amateur tournament. Mansour has seven belts and the most prestigious was the USBA belt. This is a World of Boxing Promotion.

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Povetkin Hits a New Low in Moscow; In L.A., Hopkins Couldn’t Stay Away


Povetkin Hits a New Low in Moscow; In L.A., Hopkins Couldn’t Stay Away
By: Eric Lunger

It was a weekend of regret, as two bouts on different continents made a mockery of professional boxing. Karl Marx once observed that history repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce. In Russia, Alexander Povetkin, by failing PED screening for a second time in less than a year, made a farce of whatever governing body sanctioned his heavyweight bout. And at the Forum in Los Angeles, veteran Bernard Hopkins was literally knocked out of the ring for the second time is his career, in what was supposed to be some sort of triumphant farewell/ retirement fight.

povetkin

The Povetkin debacle was hard to fathom from the moment stories broke that he had failed another drug test. Seven months ago Povetkin was caught with meldonium in his veins, a now well-known PED employed systematically, it seems, by Russian athletes. There is something particularly vile about drug cheating in boxing: its one thing if the Russian bobsled team gets a faster start, and quite another thing when a heavyweight boxer has an unfair advantage. Boxing is dangerous enough as it is. Bermane Stiverne, Povetkin’s opponent, had worked very hard to position himself back in line for a WBC title shot, having lost a tough twelve rounder to Deontay Wilder in January of 2015. It also takes guts to enter the lion’s den by traveling to Moscow to face Povetkin in front of a home crowd, so imagine Bermane’s frustration and disgust when he awoke, on fight day no less, to the news that the WBC had withdrawn its sanction for the bout, which, by the way, is the only ray of light in this dark hole.

It appears that the WBC did the right thing immediately by withdrawing their sanction for the bout. Povetkin was on a voluntary random testing regime, a result of his previous violation under the WBC, which is trying to implement a rigorous anti-doping regime by partnering with VADA, the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association. Bizarrely, Povetkin was immediately provided with a replacement opponent, Johann Duhaupas of France, though no one knows why he was in Russia and available. It takes no giant leap of imagination to suppose that World of Boxing, the Russian promotion company that represents Povetkin, was holding Duhaupas in reserve for just such an eventuality. And to end the whole sordid story, Povetkin knocked out Duhaupas in the sixth round, with a vicious and presumably steroid enhanced left hook. Congratulations to a drug cheat.

The Hopkins vs. Smith fight was farce of a different nature, less malevolent but just sad. Sad to see a legend of the ring end his career on such an unnecessarily low note. After being dismantled and slightly embarrassed by Sergey Kovalev in November of 2014, Hopkins just couldn’t stay away. He had something to prove to himself, I suppose, because I can’t imagine anyone in the entire boxing world would have begrudged him his retirement at that point. So Saturday night, after needlessly disrespecting Joe Smith, Jr. at the prefight press conference, we were treated to the ridiculous executioner show, the silly hoods and fake axes, etc. I guess I’m just not a fan of the elaborate ring walk and masks and costumes. And the fight itself was hardly a fight, rather a boxing exhibition – and a bad one at that. Hopkins’s footwork was slow and ponderous, and the head butt in round two looked to me to be intentional, a dirty and unbecoming foul that was depressing to see from such a great champion. I don’t want to bash Hopkins, and I think I can understand how hard it must be for a proud, professional athlete to finally give up a sport that has defined his identity for so long, but when Smith bludgeoned him through the ropes and out of the ring, it felt as though boxing itself had ejected Hopkins from the sport. Only a man as competitive as Bernard Hopkins would argue that Smith pushed him through the ropes. But then, only a man as competitive as Bernard Hopkins would be prize fighting at age 51.

There were several good fights this weekend, and congratulations to Oleksandr Usyk, Joseph Diaz, Jr., and Sullivan Barrera, all of whom put on excellent shows and won technically fine bouts. But shame on Povetkin, and a sad farewell to Hopkins.

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