Eduard Troyanovsky grabs IBF title with bizarre TKO of Cesar Cuenca
In a bizarre ending, another Argentine lost a title bout against an opponent from a former Soviet country due to a damaged eye when unbeaten Russian contender Eduard Troyanovsky (23-0, 20 knockouts) stopped Cesar Cuenca in the sixth round at the Basket Hall Arena in Kazan, Russia, on Wednesday.
It was expected to be an intriguing clash of unbeaten junior welterweights with contrasting styles. In the end, the power-punching Troyanovsky imposed his reach advantage to land the telling punches through the first four rounds, earning a solid advantage against a fighter known for his lack of pop and his counterpunching ability, which was all but absent during the early going.
Just as Cuenca (48-1, 2 KOs) began to pick up some steam, Troyanovsky moved in with a combination that included an uppercut that landed clearly on Cuenca’s left eye and then leaned on the champion’s back as he attempted to duck. Troyanovsky lost his footing and was then lifted momentarily in the air as Cuenca fell to the canvas under his weight and landed on the left side of his face.
Cuenca rose to his feet apparently unhurt, but he took refuge in his own corner and nodded constantly under questioning from referee David Fields, with the language barrier taking center stage. Cuenca was clearly heard saying, “No veo” (“I can’t see”) while pointing at his left eye. It was unclear whether the damage on that eye was caused by a punch, his landing on the canvas or any situation linked to the awkward tumble in which both fighters fell to the canvas, but it was enough for Fields to wave the contest off without any further considerations.
Cuenca fell short even though he was always in the fight and was just starting to make his usual game plan work: frustrate his opponents with perpetual lateral movement, move in and out with stinging jabs and accurate combinations and score often enough to win by decision.
The Argentine’s corner (led by uber-overacting promoter Osvaldo Rivero) staged a furious revolt within the ring, with trainers Mario and Patricio Tedesco attempting to lift Fields’ hand to mock him as the true winner of the bout and protesting loudly about what they perceived as an unfair ending, to no avail.
It called to mind fellow Argentine Lucas Matthysse’s loss to Ukrainian Viktor Postol early last month, a bout which ended when Matthysse was knocked down in the 10th round and later claimed he’d stayed down to protect a damaged eye.
Earlier in the evening, unbeaten welterweight Viskhan Murzabekov (12-0, 6 KOs) scored a spectacular third round stoppage over Solomon Bogere (13-3-2, 10 KOs). Bogere was dropped three times in the third round, all of them by left hooks and each one more spectacular than the other, with the third one being a devastating fall backwards in which his head whiplashed on the canvas for the immediate stoppage. Bogere had also been knocked down in the second round.
Before that, unbeaten light heavyweight Dmitry Bivol (5-0, 5 KOs) stopped Junior Jackson (19-5, 17 KOs) in four.