Tonight in Russia, cruiserweights Dmitry Kudryashov and Olanrewaju Durodola met in a rematch of their 2015 slugfest – and this time they surpassed the excitement stakes, big time. Tonight’s war saw Kudryashov avenge his sole pro loss via 5th round stoppage, his brutal left hand sending Durodola down and then, after shaking the Nigerian, forcing the referee’s stoppage.
There were just 43 seconds remaining in the fifth round at the time of the ref’s intervention and Kudryashov was obviously pleased to have erased his only loss. The lethal bomber from Volgodonsk is now 21-1(21). Durodola is now 25-4(23).
The bombs flew right from the first bell and tonight’s fight was not for the faint-hearted. The two punchers took turns hurting one another, an epic slugfest thrilling the big Sports Palace crowd. Unlike in the first fight, Kudryashov paced himself – a little – and he now knows just a bit more about how to hold on if hurt or tired. It was anybody’s fight through the first three rounds, with too many thrilling exchanges to be able to keep track of.
In the fourth, with both sluggers feeling the pace, Kudryashov finally did some real damage, sending his man down with a snapping left to the jaw. Durodola beat the count, somehow.
In the 5th, Kudryashov – one of the hardest hitters in the sport today – again cracked Durodola with a vicious left, one that followed a brutal right, and Durodola suffered a second knockdown. Again showing heart, or sheer instinct, in beating the count, the tough Nigerian tried to fight back. It wasn’t long before Kudryashiov uncorked yet another brutal left hand, this one forcing the ref to dive in.
There were no obvious complaints about the stoppage and Kudryashov, along with giving us a real FOTY candidate, both avenged his loss and earned himself a shot at WBC cruiserweight champ Mairis Briedis. It’s not certain who wins that fight, but one thing IS certain: Kudryashov is incapable of being in anything but an intoxicating fight.