There was a big upset shocker in Bilbao, Spain last night, as Russia’s David Avanesyan snapped the 27-fight unbeaten streak of exciting puncher Kerman Lejarraga to take the European welterweight title. Lejarraga, promoted by Lou DiBella, was making inroads towards big things, DiBella telling RingTV.com before last night’s fight that should he win the Avanesyan bout, his next outing would be on a big stage in the U.S.
Avanesyan had other ideas. Dropping the local man in the fourth-round, this after withstanding an early barrage from the defending champ, Avanesyan shocked the big 10,000 crowd. The end came in the ninth, with Lejarraga doing his best to fight back but being overwhelmed by his challenger, the referee stopping the action fight. Avanesyan is now 24-3-1(12) while Lejarraga, the younger man by three years at age 27, falls to 27-1(22).
Lejarraga, who made his name on the big stage with crushing stoppage wins over Bradley Skeete and then Frankie Gavin, was fully expected to have too much firepower for Avanesyan, who had previously been beaten by Lamont Peterson and had been stopped by Egidijus Kavaliauskas, but the Russian proved how tough he really is. It was a great fight to watch, with plenty of punches thrown, and the upset looked likely in the fourth when Lejarraga was first sent down.
The fight raged on but Avanesyan would not be denied. Those big plans for the Spaniard known as “Revolver” will now have to wait and it will be interesting to see how the puncher comes back from his first pro defeat, if he can actually do so. Avanesyan, who also holds wins over a faded Sugar Shane Mosley (an interim WBA welterweight title fight win in what was Mosley’s final bout) and Kaizer Mabuza, may well get himself another big fight on the back of last night’s upset.
Lejarraga immediately called for a rematch, so who knows, maybe we will see Avanesyan-Lejarraga II later on this year. As exciting as last night’s rumble was, fans would welcome another go between these two.