By James Slater: Yesterday in Krasnodar, Russia, World Boxing Organization (WBO) middleweight champion Dmitriy Pirog retained his belt with a 10th-round corner retirement over an extremely gutsy Gennady Martirosyan. The two Russian warriors gave the fans a terrific all-action fight for ten absorbing rounds, before the badly swollen right eye suffered by the challenger persuaded his corner to pull him out.
Pirog won via an official time of 3.00 minutes of the 10th. Now 19-0(15), the 31-year-old again showed he is one of the best middleweights in the world; if not the best. Martirosyan, the same age, is now 22-3(11).
Martirosyan really came to take the belt yesterday, coming out on the attack early and staying there for the remainder of the fight. Pirog, the taller man by a good margin at 6’1” to 5’7,” was in a hard fight end he knew it. Both guys went hard to the body and both men had to take some serious shots to the head.
After a great battle, the faster man, Pirog, got on top in the 8th, 9th and 10th-rounds. Fighting on a dangerously slippery canvas (Gennady went down a number of times and both men lost their footing due to the wet canvas), the two men were spurred on by a noisy, enthusiastic crowd. By the later rounds, Gennady’s right eye was a mess, seriously swollen underneath, with the damage spreading and affecting his vision.
Pirog went to work with his ultra-fast hands, often using effective uppercuts to the chin. Martirosyan would not give up, however, his bull-like attacks there to the very end. Finally, though, after a bad 10th-round, Martirosyan’s corner decided to pull their man out. It would be interesting to know how the cards read at the time of the stoppage.
On a more important note, Martirosyan was taken to hospital after the gruelling fight, with what RIA Novosti reports as suspected internal bleeding in the head.
“These suspicions have not been confirmed, but the doubts remain,” Gennady’s manager, Alexander Yagulov said. “We are staying in the hospital, the doctors say there is improvement, he is conscious. But they will keep him there for two days and check his head and general condition.”
Needless to say, we all wish this brave, courageous fighter the best.
Yesterday’s fight might not win this year’s FOTY award, but those in attendance would likely tell you it should do.
Pirog, frustratingly having fought just twice since his big, July 2010 stoppage of the highly touted Daniel Jacobs, really does look the real deal. Hopefully the classy boxer/puncher will remain active from here on in. And a second fight in the U.S wouldn’t be a bad idea.