Not every fighter can be a world champion. Not every fighter can be a winner. Yet some ring warriors refuse to enter the ring not believing that they can do both; this despite their recent track record. This can lead to a fighter being too brave for his own good. Case in point: Russian slugger/gunslinger/hit and get hit operator Dmitry Kudryashov. Fans who know about the bearded banger who has no real defence or a reliable chin know how the 35 year old can be ferociously exciting. They also know how he can be banged out quite quickly if he doesn’t get the KO he is always looking for.
Four times, Kudryashov has lost, three times via the short route. And in some of his fights, Kudryashov has taken more punishment than a fighter with a shaky chin has a right to take (see his thrilling but losing fights with Ilunga Makabu, Olanrewaju Durodola; his other stoppage loss coming via quick blast-out versus Yunier Dorticos). In his last fight, just this May, Kudryashov shocked many of us, not by winning, but by going the full 12 rounds. Fighting at bridgerweight, against the unbeaten Evgeni Romanov, Kudryashov shipped fierce punishment yet he managed to hear the final bell (and he also managed to bang Romanov’s face up some).
Next up, in a fight that is set to take place just four months after that X-rated, largely one-sided fight that dared to show almost zero science that could in any way be referred to as sweet, Kudryashov will roll the dice once again. Dmitry will face yet another countryman of his in Evgeny Tishchenko. The fight will be at cruiserweight and will contest the WBC international strap. Like Kudryashov, Tishchenko, 8-1(6) is coming off a decision loss, this against Thabiso Mchunu.
A superb amateur – 30 year old Tishchenko winning, among other honours, an Olympic gold – the southpaw seems to be in a completely different class to Kudryashov as far as boxing skill goes. The September fight (set for the 11th, in Ekaterinburg) looks to be another uphill battle for “The Russian Hammer.” You have to admire Kudryashov’s heart and desire, along with his refusal to quit. Yet at the same time, how much can one man take?
Kudryashov took quite a lot in his last fight, and there is no reason to think his head and body will not get knocked around some more in this fight. Watching Kudryashov fight is no nerve-free thing (imagine what the ordeal must be like for his family and friends!) and the nasty possibility of serious injury is always lurking. If he loses this fight, yet otherwise comes out pretty much unscathed, Kudryashov, a fighting man who has given his all to the sport, must surely look at retiring.
It’s blood and guts, it’s crash-bang-wallop, and there’s almost always a KO when Kudryashov fights, one way or the other. But Kudryashov is today’s poster boy when it comes to a fighter who is far too brave for his own good (no easy tune-up/comeback fights for this guy).
I for one will be watching, once again, through trembling fingers when Kudryashov goes to war in his next seemingly insurmountable ring assignment; this one against a taller, younger, superior boxer. Kudryashov’s only hope is to unleash some of the savage punching prowess he displayed in romping to his initial 18 wins. Can he do it?