Denis Lebedev successfully defended his WBA Super World cruiserweight title with a one-sided 12 round decision over Mark Flanagan Sunday night at DIVS in Ekatterinburg, Russia.
With the win, Lebedev improves to 30-2, with 22 knockouts. Flanagan falls to 22-5, with 15 KOs. It was Lebedev's first fight since losing a split decision to IBF cruiserweight titleholder Murat Gassiev on Dec. 3. The 37-year-old Lebedev had scored recent victories over Youri Kalenga, Lateef Kayode, and Victor Ramirez.
Flanagan, who hails from Rasmussen, Australia, entered the bout on an 11-bout winning streak, mostly against average opposition.
The southpaw Lebedev had little difficulty with Flanagan throughout the fight. Flangan attempted to walk Lebedev down, but the popular Russian fighter held his ground. By the midway point of the fight, Lebedev's pedigree was evident, as his left hands to the body and right hooks to the head put Flanagan on the defensive.
Flanagan, who is ranked number six by the WBA, would land an occasional straight right to the head of Lebedev, but those punches were few and far between.
Lebedev scored the only knockdown of the fight early in round nine, as he landed a sweeping left hand to Flanagan's stomach. To his credit, Flanagan stood up and fought on.
Rather than press the action, Lebedev was content to outbox Flanagan for the remained of the fight.
Scores were 119-108, 119-108, and 120-107 for Lebedev.
In the co-feature, unbeaten Qudratillo Abduqaxorov won a 12 round unanimous decision over fellow welterweight contender Dmitry Mikhaylenko.
Abduqaxorov, who won a regional WBC title, improves to 12-0, with 8 KOs. Mikhaylenko, who has now lost two of his last three bouts, drops to 22-2, with 10 KOs.
Abduqaxorov, who is from Qorgontepa, Uzbekistan, did his best work on the inside, effectively countering Mikhaylenko with right hands to the head. An inadvertent clash of heads open a cut over the eye of Mikhaylenko in round seven. Per the WBC rules, Abduqaxorov was deducted a point by longtime referee Daniel Van de Wiele.
As the bout progressed into the second half of the fight, Mikhaylenko's punch output dropped considerably. Abduqaxorov would put Mikhaylenko on the defensive, allowing him to connect with hard right crosses to the head of Mikhaylenko.
Scores were 116-111, 116-111, and 117-110 for Abduqaxorov, who is currently ranked number eight by the WBA, nine by the WBC, and number 10 by the IBF.
Francisco A. Salazar has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco covers boxing for the Ventura County (Calif.) Star newspaper, RingTV, Boxingscene.com, and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing