Ruslan Chagaev Barely Beats Travis Walker in a Brawl
In a surprisingly even-matched fight, former WBA heavyweight champion and current WBA mandatory challenger Ruslan Chagaev (27-1-1, 17 KOs) was lucky to escape with a narrow unanimous decision over determined American brawler Travis Walker (34-6-1, 28 KOs) after eight entertaining rounds of two-way action
%foto2%Hamburg, Germany - In a surprisingly even-matched fight, former WBA heavyweight champion and current WBA mandatory challenger Ruslan Chagaev (27-1-1, 17 KOs) was lucky to escape with a narrow unanimous decision over determined American brawler Travis Walker (34-6-1, 28 KOs) after eight entertaining rounds of two-way action. It took many by surprise but Walker, who lost previously only by stoppages (five times in total), actually came to Hamburg for a real fight and not just for a payday. On the other hand, Chagaev, nearly half a year removed from his victory over Kali Meehan in the WBA eliminator, looked rusty, lazy and not determined againstthe bigger opponent. He did well in the first couple of rounds with his sharp jab and fast combinations. Walker found some keys and, more importantly, a rhythm to frustrate Chagaev in the third round. In the fourth stanza, Chagaev was eating uppercuts at the ropes while Walker also found room for his right hand. The Uzbek fighter came back to take the fifth with an increased activity and with his left hand which forced Walker into clinches several times. It looked like a taste of upset was way too premature as the former champion was getting better down the stretch but the American yet again upset some odds and caught his second wind to get an edge in rounds six and seven. The grueling eighth round was pretty even but Chagaev\'s better stamina led him through in what unexpectedly was one of his toughest challenges to date. All three judges scored it for the local favorite: 78-75, 77-75 and 77-76. This reporter saw it 77-75 for Chagaev, while another BoxingScene correspondent Alexey Uralets had this fight a draw - 76-76. Despite a win, Chagaev showed huge flaws (especially for Walker\'s right and uppercuts) against rather limited opponent and they will surely cost him very expensively against reigning WBA champion David Haye, if this fight really happens in the near future. Chagaev was WBA #1, WBO #5, IBF #6 and The Ring #5 heavyweight coming into this fight. Super featherweight Marcel Meyerdirks improved his perfect record to 18-0, with 5 KOs, after a workmanlike ten-round unanimous decision over Fenchman Philippe Frenois (12-2-1, 0 KOs). Meyerdirks outpointed his opponent thanks to his activity and precision. Official scores were announced as: 98-92, 97-95 and 96-94 - for the German fighter. 2008 Beijing Olympics heavyweight gold medalist Rakhim Chakhkiev (7-0, 6 KOs) made a short work of American journeyman Chris Thomas (17-15-2, 14 KOs) destroying him in the very first round of the scheduled eight. Southpaw Chakhkiev went right into destruction mode and had no mercy for his opponent since then. The end came with just a second remaining in the first round after a huge left hand by Rakhim, which landed midway between American\'s liver and solar plexus. WBC/WBA #3 and WBO #4 ranked heavyweight Denis Boytsov (28-0, 23 KOs) came back to the ring after a lengthy hiatus and made an easy work of American trialhorse Mike Sheppard (15-12-1, 8 KOs). Sheppard was down twice in the first and twice more in the second, before referee wisely called a halt right after the fourth knockdown. Time was 1:08 of the second round. All knockdowns were scored by Boytsov\'s right hand; the last time being a right hook to the spleen. The Russian heavyweight was also ranked The Ring #7 and IBF #11 coming into this fight. Universum Box-Promotion\'s heavyweight prospect Manuel Charr (15-0, 8 KOs) started the telecast with a boring and disappointingly uneventful stoppage of American veteran Robert Hawkins (23-16, 7 KOs). There was little boxing but a good share of clinching, roughhouse tactics and lazy-jabbing. Bigger and younger Charr was unable to rock his opponent but slowly sapped his energy and made the American to surrender in his corner after the fifth round with no fuel left in tank. There were no knockdowns. The most interesting accident happened after the end of round four, when both boxers exchanged harsh words and a couple of clips.