Fedor Chudinov falls, decides Ryno Liebenberg in a shootout
Russia – Fedor Chudinov is surely not the most skillful or masterful, even among Russian fighters. What can’t be taken away from him is his bravery and ability to entertain fans, which was proven once again in an epic slugfest with equally brave and determined South African Ryno Liebenberg. .
Chudinov emerged victorious in a total of twelve rounds with a unanimous decision and retained his WBA Gold super middleweight title. It was the grand finale of a performance, organized by famous Russian promoter Vladimir Hryunov with the support of the Russian Boxing Federation and local sanctioning bodies and funds.
Hryunov was sure the fight was a 50/50 encounter before. Still, WBC # 11 Chudinov, 33, came in as the favorite, despite a draw in his final fight against Isaac Chilemba in February 2021. Liebenberg, 37, started his career with sixteen straight wins but competed with results mixed since his only stoppage loss to Eleider Alvarez in 2014.
The South African immediately advanced, relinquishing his advantage of reach and height. And the shooting started. The two fighters – not known for their defensive abilities – clashed and traded punches. Liebenberg was the aggressor in rounds one and two. Chudinov took the initiative halfway through but the flow of the fight did not change at all. It was a good old fight between two fighters with solid punching power and equally strong chins. Chudinov was more methodical, logging in at a higher average rate. Liebenberg with five-six-seven punches to throw a few sets of multiple punches to trouble Chudinov from the back. In the seventh round, he pulled off several of those multi-punch combos in a row, but it had no effect on the Russian. Meanwhile, Chudinov’s punches were felt a bit more by his opponent.
Chudinov changed his tactics slightly in the eighth round, starting to move more and using side steps to avoid Liebenberg’s more obvious shots. He also opened a cut under Ryno’s left eye. Chudinov’s best moment came late in the ninth, when he landed several hooks from the left, ultimately sending Liebenberg to the canvas. The South African struggled to get up but eventually did and survived a short assault right after. He was still stunned at the start of the tenth but regrouped and continued to fight back. Chudniov’s dominance was visible in rounds 11 and 12, but Libenberg gave his all and traded bombs until the very end.
The three judges unanimously had it for the Russian: 119-108, 118-109 and 116-111. BoxingScene was in between with a score of 117-110. Fedor goes to 24-2-1, 16 KOs. Liebenberg now has 21-8-1, 14 KOs.
It looked like Jesus Bravo would be the next immediate victim of a very late submarine Gor Khachatryan, but the Peruvian prepared for a long fight before finally succumbing to Khachatryan’s power at 1:57 of the sixth round.
Khachatryan, 23, after a few first round knockouts – the last one just two weeks ago – replaced 5-0 Khariton Agrba, who was due to fight Bravo but withdrew for undisclosed reasons.
He started very quickly, aggressively jumping on the Peruvian. The latter was quickly let go by a smashing left hook, but he intervened a moment after the referee called for a break. It was not deemed a knockdown. A minute later, Khachatryan let the 26-year-old Bravo down again – this time officially, although Bravo complained of a rabbit punch.
Khachatryan continued the assault in the second round and never looked back. Meanwhile, the larger Bravo rangier transformed under fire and began to retaliate. It didn’t help in the second and third rounds, but it did give the Armenian Russian a bit of sweat and dust in the fourth with several overhand left hooks. The Peruvian also constantly complained about Khachatryan’s unfair tactics, specifically hitting the back of the head, but referee Irakly Malazonia didn’t deduct any points from Khachatryan. It is noteworthy that Bravo ducked down the entire time, making him a target for such blows.
Midway through the sixth, Khachatryan dropped Bravo again with a crushing hook, which also landed in a questionable area. Bravo failed to continue after the referee’s order and was dismissed at 1:57. Khachatryan goes to 3-0, 3 KOs. Bravo drops to 19-4-1, 17 KOs.