Gradovich outpoints Berrio in Russia; Sonsona, Paypa KO’d
There’s been no place like home for Evgeny Gradovich for the past few months, as he won his second-straight fight in Russia with a majority decision over Colombian Hugo Berrio on Friday in Ekaterinburg.
One judge scored the junior featherweight fight 114-114 but was overruled by the other two, who had it 115-114 and 117-111 for the former IBF featherweight titleholder Gradovich (23-2-1, 9 knockouts). It was far from easy for Gradovich as he dealt with a well-prepared Berrio (23-7-1, 14 KOs), who brought his counterpunching shoes to Russia, answering the former champion’s advances with double right hands through the guard to end the third.
Gradovich established the pace he wanted in the fourth and fifth, banging away in close with his shorter punches while Berrio tried to match him. The fight fell into a pattern of Berrio getting his licks in, but Gradovich’s experience and accuracy allowing him to land the shorter shots in close to begin and end exchanges.
The 30-year-old “El Ruso Mexicano” has now won back-to-back fights to get his career on track after suffering a fourth-round technical knockout loss to Oscar Valdez in April 2016.
Sonsona, Paypa KOed by Russians
In the co-featured bout, Eden Sonsona saw his unbeaten streak of 12 fights over 7 years snapped as he succumbed to Evgeny Chuprakov in the fifth round.
Sonsona (36-7-2, 13 KOs) of General Santos City, Philippines, was knocked down in the third round by a counter left hook and dropped once again in the fourth while complaining of a kidney punch. Whatever pain he was experiencing hadn’t subsided by the following round, as he turned his back following another flurry by Chuprakov (18-0, 10 KOs) and went to his knees in the corner, compelling the referee to stop the fight at the 1:35 mark.
Chuprakov, 28, is ranked No. 2 by the WBO for the 130-pound title currently held by Vasyl Lomachenko.
“Tough loss for Eden,” said Sonsona’s promoter, Jim Claude Manangquil of Sanman Promotions. “We had high hopes for him. Back to drawing board for him.”
The fight that preceded Sonsona-Chuprakov was more competitive as visitor Jimmy Paypa dropped Shavkat Rakhimov twice before the Russia-based Tajik came back and scored a one-punch knockout with a left uppercut to the solar plexus, which Paypa never saw coming. The time of stoppage was 1:17 of Round 6 in the junior lightweight fight.
Paypa (19-4-1, 7 KOs) of Magsaysay, Lanao del Norte, Philippines, looked on his way to an upset win in the second round when he dropped Rakhimov (10-0, 8 KOs) on a straight left, and again in the third with a right hook. Rakhimov, who is two years younger at 22, never stopped punching, occupying Paypa with his busy style while adjusting to moving out of exchanges to his right, and away from Paypa’s own right.
The knockout came as Rakhimov turned Paypa and planted a left uppercut that left the Filipino breathless and struggling in pain to rise.
Paypa, who is promoted by ALA Boxing, drops to 0-2-1 in international fights, snapping a 3-fight winning streak which included an upset decision win over former title challenger Bernabe Concepcion last year. He was accompanied to Russia by trainer Michael Domingo.
The win is Rakhimov’s fourth-straight knockout of a Filipino boxer, having defeated Jun Doliguez, Roldan Aldea and Jerry Castroverde in his previous three bouts.
The show was promoted by RCC Boxing Promotions.