WBA cruiserweight champion Yunier Dorticos (22-0) from Cuba fought Russian boxer Dmitry Kudryashov (21-2) in San Antonio, Texas in a quarterfinal of the WBSS tournament with the WBA title on the line. The WBC Silver Title held by the Russian was not at stake.
(Photo credit: Francisco Perez/Ringstar Sports)
Kudryashov took center ring from the start trying to establish his punch power and the Cuban (resident of Miami, Fl.) started circling around him without retreating. Instead of going backwards he threw combos and landed with ease on the Russian opponent who did not always move like a boxer. Kudryashov’s karate background showed in his rigid footwork and dangerous but loaded and deliberate punches. After taking several body shots, Kudryashov threw a seemingly naïve one-two which brought up the opponent’s guard and than hammered in his signature punch – a left hook to the liver. This was already boxing, at least for a while. Dorticos froze for a second and brought the elbow down exposing the chin but instead of following up, the Russian stared at him in satisfaction as if the fight was over. Kudryashov missed his chance and allowed Dorticos to regroup and land his deceptive long distance hooks. The Cuban boxer showed his unmistakable pedigree and made instant adjustments – he had moved to his right so far minding the right hand and shooting through the guard but switched to circling away from the dangerous left hand that had bothered him and threw around the stiff right hand of the puncher.
The second round was truly spectacular as Dorticos stormed the opponent at the opening bell and demonstrated how skills and technique can be a thrill to watch when used offensively. He did not want any more of Kudryashov’s left hooks. Unlike defensive technicians who put the audience to sleep, he tried to put the challenger to sleep. Having figured out Kudryashov’s ability and mindset and having one punch to worry about, the Cuban landed furiously for half of the round and the effect was visible in the Russian’s slow-motion reactions. Kudryashov was disoriented and he showed no defensive or survival skills, his only instinct was to go forward and throw what he believed were dangerous shots. Dorticos easily slipped and went over a jab with a textbook right cross twice in a row, the second time finally dropping the exhausted opponent for the count. Kudryashov got up but was in no condition to continue.
This is the second KO loss for Dmitry Kudryashov after he lost to Olanrewaju Durodola who applied constant pressure in a fight that lasted 8 seconds longer back in 2015. The Russian boxer avenged that loss by KO, courtesy of his left hook, but his defense and footwork have not changed much and his punch resistance and stress threshold are still the same. He can not cope with sustained pressure and looses all boxing habits once he is hurt. Dmitry should carefully consider his options with health being the primary concern. Three KOs signify damaged goods in boxing jargon, in medical terms it’s not much brighter.
WBSS cruiserweight tourney promises several more exciting match ups with names like Mike Perez, Murat Gassiev, Mairis Briedis and especially Oleksandr Usyk of the Ukraine who stopped Marco Huck in the inaugural match of the series. A potential final between Usyk and Dorticos would be a must-see gift to the fans.