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Okolie Blasts out Glowacki in London; Beterbiev Stops Deines in Moscow

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  • Okolie Blasts out Glowacki in London; Beterbiev Stops Deines in Moscow

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    By Arne K. Lang

    Important fights were staged today in Moscow and London, precursors to the nightcap in Fort Worth, Texas. In London, two fighters trained by Shane McGuigan turned in career-best performances.

    In his fourth fight with McGuigan, Lawrence Okolie (16-0, 13 KOs) stepped up in class and blasted out Poland's Krzysztof Glowacki (31-3) in the sixth round to win the vacant WBO world cruiserweight title. Glowacki, whose lone previous losses were to WBSS tournament champions Oleksandr Usyk and Mairis Briedis, was never in the fight. Okolie was the taller man by five inches and he kept Glowacki at the end of his stick until he lowered the boom with a big right hand.

    Prior to tonight, London-born Okolie, a 2016 Olympian, hadn't fought an opponent with a recognizable name. This bout was initially set for December 10 underneath Joshua-Pulev, but pushed back when Glowacki tested positive for Covid. Okolie remained on the card whereas Glowacki had been out of action all of 2020. The Pole was obviously rusty but it wouldn't have mattered as the style match-up was all wrong for him.

    In another bout of note, Liverpool junior middleweight Anthony Fowler, in his first fight with McGuigan, demolished Spain's Jorge Fortea, knocking him down for the count with a big right hand in the waning seconds of the third frame. Fowler's lone defeat came by split decision to undefeated Scott Fitzgerald. He and Fitzgerald will almost certainly hook up again, but Fowler's next test is more likely to come against Spain's Sergio Garcia who defends his European title in Barcelona on April 23.

    A former Commonwealth Games champion, Fowler, 30, improved to 14-1 (11). Fortea falls to 21-3-1.


    At the Khodynka Ice Palace in Moscow, WBC/IBF light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev 16-0 (16 KOs) scored a 10th-round stoppage of Germany’s Adam Deines (19-2-1). A two-time Olympian, now 36 years old, Beterbiev was making his first start in 17 months and engaging in his first pro fight in his native country. He isn’t a one-punch knockout artist, but he’s the strongest light heavyweight around and tends to methodically bludgeon his opponents into submission.

    He had Deines on the deck in the opening stanza, but the German hung around until the 10th when he was felled with a short left hand that led his corner to pull him out. Beterbiev was initially due to face Fanlong Meng who was unable to travel to Russia because of Covid restrictions. This bout was postponed twice, first when Beterbiev suffered a rib injury and then when he tested positive for the coronavirus. He is penciled in to fight the winner of the April 10 contest in Tulsa between Joe Smith Jr and Maxim Vlasov, a match sanctioned for the vacant WBO belt.


    The 12-round co-feature was a super middleweight battle between an undefeated Russian, Pavel Silyagin and an undefeated Uzbekistani, Azizbek Abdugofurov. Silyagin, now 7-0, controlled the fight with his jab and was the busier man. He won in a near-shutout (120-108, 119-109 twice) saddling Abdugoforov (13-1) with his first defeat.


    Alexander Besputin had the easiest assignment of the day. The 29-year-old California-based Russian southpaw, a stablemate of Vasiliy Lomachenko, was paired against late sub Viktor Plodnikov, a 43-year-old Ukrainian who had lost seven straight coming in. It was target practice for Besputin. Plodnikov’s corner pulled him out after only two frames.

    In his last fight, Besputin (15-0, 10 KOs) won the vacant WBA welterweight title in Monte Carlo with a hard-fought but unanimous decision over former amateur rival Radzhab Butaev, but the verdict was overturned and he was slapped with a 6-month suspension when he tested positive for a banned substance.

    Photo credit: Mark Robinson / Matchroom

    Check out more boxing news on video at the Boxing Channel
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