Ryan Songalia

Wlodarczyk wins thriller, stops Chakhkiev in eight

Krzysztof Wlodarczyk isn’t the most graceful fighter to watch, but he sure does make for exciting fights. 

The reigning WBC cruiserweight titleholder Wlodarczyk (48-2-1, 34 knockouts) overcome an ugly gash over his right eye in round one and a knockdown in round three to stop previously unbeaten Russian Rakhim Chakhkiev (16-1, 12 KOs) in eight rounds at the Dynamo Palace of Sports in Moscow, Russia. The win was Wlodarczyk’s fifth successful title defense since winning the belt in 2010. The time of stoppage was not immediately known.

Wlodarczyk, 31, of Warsaw, Poland started off slow, seemingly thrown off by the raw aggression of Chakhkiev, 30, a native of Tobolsk, Russia who now resides in Germany. Chakhkiev had the advantage through the first three rounds, highlighted by the knockdown in round three. But Wlodarczyk, who is in his second title reign at cruiserweight, dug into his bag of tricks and began landing effectively with short counter hooks over Chakhkiev’s lazy right.

One such punch turned the fight around at the end of round six, when a short left in close dropped Chakhkiev to his knees. Chakhkiev recovered well to begin the following round, but a trickle of blood from his nose progressively worsened, and by the end of the round he was on the floor once again hearing a count.

Wlodarczyk realized he had found a weapon with the left hook that Chakhkiev had no defense for and began to exploit the target, using it to set up a right that dropped Chakhkiev again. Chakhkiev gamely rose up but the fight had already been beaten out of him. A short left hook behind the ear dropped Chakhkiev for the fourth and final time.

Referee Daniel Van de Wiele stopped the fight without a count.

Wlodarczyk, who is rated no. 2 by THE RING at cruiserweight, has lost just once in the past decade, to Steve Cunningham in 2007.

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