At the beautiful Salle d’ Etoile in Monaco, San Diego’s Denis Grachev (13-1-1, 9 KOs) of the City Boxing Gym in San Diego, defeated the former two-division World Champion Zsolt Erdei (33-1-0, 18 KOs) to give him his first career loss.
In what was described as “the fight of the night”, Grachev took the 10-round split decision victory to advance on and meet the undefeated Edwin “La Bomba” Rodriguez in the finals of this $1 million dollar Monte Carlo Super 4 tournament scheduled to take place on July 13.
For Grachev it was yet another tough outing where he had to grind out the victory. The classic boxer, Erdei, was in control early on, worked behind his stiff jab, while Grachev kept pressing forward, swinging hard but missing.
As the fight progressed, the stronger and younger Grachev began to wear his opponent down and when he did, the bout turned in his favor. Being the busier of the two, he soon became the punch stat leader, while Erdei continued to land the cleaner but less frequent blows.
By the end of the ninth round, you could say the bout was up for grabs. And as such, both fighters came out in that tenth and final round throwing big bombs. It was a close round, with both fighters having their moments. In the end, two of the judges favored Grachev’s aggression over Erdei’s boxing ability, so he could win by a split decision with scores of 96-94, 96-94, 94-96.
Both fighters will be returning to the same location on July 13th to conclude this Million Dollar Tournament. Grachev will be in the finals facing Edwin Rodriguez with an opportunity to collect $600,000 in prize money. The loser of the match gets $400,000.
Erdei now heads to the semifinals to face the previously unbeaten Argentine Olympian Ezequiel Osvaldo Maderna who lost to Rodriguez on Saturday.
In Saturday’s co-feature, Rodriguez was clearly the aggressor throughout, pressing the action and landing the heavier blows. At times Maderna countered well, but not enough to win over even one of the three judges who scored the bout, 95-92, 96-92, and 96-92 in Rodriguez’s favor.
Rodriguez was deducted a point for a low blow in the round eight and another in the ninth for what the referee deemed a blow behind the head that dropped Maderna. In that same round, Rodriguez was able to get the point back after he dropped Maderna with a straight right hand just as the round was ending.
Rodriguez looked to end the bout in the 10th, but settled for the unanimous decision. With the win, Rodriguez improves his record to 23-0, 15 KOs, while Maderna drops to 19-1, 13 KOs.
Also featured on this fight card was the WBA and IBO middleweight champ Gennady “GGG” Golovkin who easily defended his title against challenger Nobuhiro Ishida by knocking the former world champion out with one punch in the third round of their scheduled 12-rounder.
From the outset, Golovkin stalked his much-taller foe and by the second round, Ishida’s face began to show the wear and tear of the blows that landed almost at will. Then, nearing the end of Round #3 with Ishida backed up against the ropes, Golovkin landed the big overhand right. The blow landed flush on Ishida’s jaw, sending the Japanese fighter through the ropes and out cold, flat on his back.
Official time of the stoppage was 2:20 of round three. With the win, Golovkin improves to 26-0, 23 KOs, while Ishida drops to 24-9-2, 9 KOs.