Harry Pratt

Unbeaten Rabchencko stops Rhodes to land European title

Rising junior middleweight Sergey Rabchenko maintained his unbeaten record with a 7th round TKO over British veteran Ryan Rhodes, on Saturday, in Manchester, England, claiming the vacant European title in the process.

The 26-year-old from Minsk, Belarus, produced a fine performance and underlined he has the potential to go higher in the sport. How far will depend on how he continues his development under new trainer, Ricky ‘the Hitman’ Hatton, who somewhat controversially also promotes Rhodes.

But on the evidence of this victory at the Manchester Velodrome, Rabchenko (21-0, 16 knockouts) appears to be a fast learner.

Nine years younger than Sheffield southpaw Rhodes, he ultimately proved too strong and resilient – and the way he ended the contest, with a vicious hook to the body, demonstrated Rabchenko, who now resides in Manchester, can punch hard.

Many suspect age is starting to catch up on Rhodes (46-6, 31 KOs) and that this defeat will spell the end of a long and impressive career at domestic and European level. Afterwards, however, Rhodes refused to contemplate retirement.

“Absolutely, I’ll go on. This is not the end of Ryan Rhodes,” said the former EBU and British holder. “It wasn’t age that got me. If you get caught in the right place with a body shot, it’s over. It was a brilliant body shot – probably the best body shot I’ve taken in my entire life.

“But I feel like I’ve still got a lot to give in the game. We’ll sit down and see where we go from here.”

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