Wednesday, March 22, 2023  |



Immanuwel Aleem batters, stops Khytrov in stunning upset


In a savage, brutal bout, Immanuwel Aleem dropped previously undefeated Ievgen Khytrov twice and stopped him at 1:20 of the sixth round of a middleweight bout Saturday on the undercard of James DeGale-Badou Jack at Barclays Center.

The fight had several momentum shifts and saw the ringside doctors check the wellbeing of both fighters in between rounds, such was the viciousness of the action. Aleem (17-0-1, 10 knockouts) fell to his knees in the middle of the ring and was inconsolable, crying as he waited for the decision to be announced. Khytrov was regarded as the brighter prospect, having around 500 amateur fights and winning the prestigious 2011 World Championships. But it was Aleem who ultimately proved the better man this night.

After a strong first round, Aleen knocked Khytrov (14-1, 12 KOs) down with a minute left in the third with an overhand right. Amazingly, Khytrov stormed back and stunned Aleem later in the round with a left. The fighter from the Ukraine seemed to take control of the next few rounds, his volume punching keeping Aleem at bay.

But Aleem found his footing and flattened Khytrov again with 1:35 left in the sixth with a pair of overhand rights. Khytrov beat the count but was in no condition to continue. Aleem landed several more punches, forcing referee Eddie Claudio to stop the fight as Khtryov stumbled against the ropes.

The bout was almost stopped twice: The doctor checked Khytrov after the first round after he took a frightful pounding, staggering around the ring following a flush right midway through. The doctors did the same for Aleem after the third after he also took a frightful beating. It was Aleem, however, who was able to weather the storm and take the punches while Khytrov, courageous to the end, could not.