AIBA Pro Boxing’s first grandstand event of 2016 took place on Saturday night with Turkey’s APB World Middleweight Champion Adem Kilicci looking to defend his title against longstanding Russian rival Artem Chebotarev at the top of a thrilling card in Istanbul. After ten exceptional rounds of boxing it was Chebotarev who finished the stronger of the two to finally seize Kilicci’s title.
The Bagcilar Sports Complex burst into life early on in the match as fans’ favourite Kilicci started the stronger of the two boxers. His Russian opponent remained solid, upsetting the Turkish star’s rhythm and forcing him to rely on counter-attacks as Chebotarev patiently worked his way into the bout.
Kilicci evaded most of the challenger’s big punches and came back in the fifth with some sharp jabs of his own, but Chebotarev began to find his range with his big left hook. A well-timed uppercut in the eighth round then looked to have given the defending champion the edge once more, but his 27 year-old opponent dug deep, finishing off the contest with a stunning combination in the tenth round that ultimately earned him a well-deserved first APB World Middleweight title.
Earlier in the evening, Lithuania’s latest boxing sensation Eimantas Stanionis continued to show the kind of form that landed him a superb European Confederation gold in Bulgaria last year, beating Iran’s London 2012 Olympian Amin Ghasemipour. Stanionis controlled the bout from the beginning to the end landing sharp punches through the solid defence that the tough Ghasemipour put up. The Iranian tried to turn the tide throughout the bout but Stanionis was clearly the better boxer and was awarded a well-deserved unanimous judges’ decision.
Also looking to make a splash on the undercard in Istanbul were Azerbaijan’s former AIBA World Champion Javid Chalabiyev and another home favourite Ibrahim Gokcek. Chalabiyev has struggled to repeat his gold-winning form since that Almaty run in 2013 and eventually succumbed to a lethal combination from Turkey’s tough bantamweight in the fourth round.
Also featuring on a gripping first night of APB boxing in 2016 was Batuhan Gozgec who was trying to repeat the success from his first APB Bout where he already scored an impressive win. Gozgec once again was in devastating form against Ireland’s European Confederation Champion Raymond Moylette, combining some ferocious jabs and hooks in the fourth and fifth rounds to seal an exceptional win.