A packed-to-the-rafters Palais Des Sports in M´Saken, Tunisia was an appropriate scene for popular local boxer Moez Fhima winning the vacant Universal Boxing Organization™ (UBO) World Middleweight title on Saturday night (April 8).
Fhima scored a deserved, but hard-fought, unanimous decision over former UBO World Champion Aliklych Kanbolatov from Rostov-na-Donu, Russia, after a fight that saw several shifts in momentum but the Tunisian being the main aggressor.
The considerably taller and rangier Kanbolatov clearly had a game-plan to out-box Fhima from a distance, and he spend most of the fight going backwards and counter-punching when Fhima attacked. The Russian often show-boated between his punches, while Fhima focused on landing the cleaner shots.
Fhima was relentless, and he often had success with his right hand to drive Kanbolatov back. A lively atmosphere provided by the enthusiastic fans had an obvious effect on Fhima, who seemed motivated to not let his fellow countrymen down.
However, it was a very competitive fight and Kanbolatov finished strong, being the busier man, if not the most accurate. In the latter part of the contest he even started coming forward at times, but Fhima also finished well and would not be denied.
After twelve spirited, albeit sometimes messy, rounds, judge Vincent Dupas scored the fight 115-113 for Fhima, while judges Nourredine Fanidi and Amar Sakraoui saw it probably a bit too wide at 118-111 and 117-111.
It was an amazing scene when Fhima, now 25-4-2 (8), was declared the winner, as the entire venue erupted and what seemed like hundreds of people entered the ring and started dancing and celebrating the new world champion.
Having won his previous four bouts, Kanbolatov drops to 16-4 (7), but at only twenty-seven years of age he has plenty of time to regroup and come back even stronger from the experience and an effort he can be very proud of.
Promoter: Azdine Ben Yacoub / Association Cathage.