Bakhram Murtazaliev stops Jack Culcay in Germany and wins vacant IBF world super welter title

By Amy A Kaplan - 04/07/2024 - Comments

Oh, where do we even begin with Jack Culcay’s “grand” adventure on this so-called “Path to Gold” in Falkensee, Germany last night? It was more like a stroll down whoopsie-daisy lane with Bakhram Murtazaliev playing the role of the uninvited guest who turns the party upside down. There’s Culcay, all set to turn back the clock, when in comes Murtazaliev from Russia, with love and fists that spell doom. These two went at it like it was the final fight scene of every Rocky movie ever, except someone forgot to mention you’re supposed to dodge the punches, not collect them!

Photo: Torsten Helmke

Murtazaliev, with his shiny 23-0 record, was like a storm in gloves, ready to rain down on Culcay’s parade. And boy, did he bring the thunder in the 11th round. He landed a left hook on Culcay that probably had past generations feeling it, sending our man down like he was trying to dig to China with his face. The ref, playing the part of the merciful angel, waved it off, saving Culcay from turning into a real-life punching meme.

Then there’s Etinosa Oliha, turning his fight with Ismael Seck into a masterclass titled “How to Hit Something That Doesn’t Hit Back.” Poor Seck was more of a prop than a contender, letting Oliha turn it into a highlight reel of one-sided beatdowns. By the end, Seck was probably just thrilled to still be vertical, while Oliha probably broke a sweat from lifting his arms in victory.

Haro Matevosyan and Uisma Lima’s fight was billed as this monumental clash, but Lima apparently didn’t get the memo about it being a contest. He turned Matevosyan into his own personal speed bag, and Matevosyan’s corner, in a moment of rare compassion, decided they’d seen enough of their boy being turned into a human piñata. Matevosyan’s record-breaking dreams got squashed faster than you can say “stop hitting yourself.”

Paul Wall’s big AGON debut against Simone Bono? Oh, it was a thriller if you’re into the whole “cat chasing a mouse that occasionally fights back” kind of suspense. Wall might have won, but the real battle was against the audience’s will to stay awake through the ordeal.

Viktor Cakiqi’s tango with Yeison Gonzales started off with all the intensity of a lazy Sunday brunch. But then, just as everyone was about to write it off as a snoozefest, Cakiqi lands a haymaker that sends Gonzales into next week, making us all wonder if he just remembered he had somewhere else to be.

And lastly, Edin Avdic’s dance with Omir Rodriguez was supposed to be this beautiful display of pugilistic prowess. Instead, it was like watching two guys trying to decide if they really wanted to fight or just hug it out. Avdic eked out a win by the skin of his teeth, in a fight that had everyone asking, “Is it over yet?”