Reassessing My Reassessment of the Cruiserweights

By Timothy Seaver on November 12, 2015
Reassessing My Reassessment of the Cruiserweights
Dmitry Kudryashov was stopped on his feet by heavy underdog, Olanrewaju Durodola.

Kudyrashov may have had it too easy early on. All of his previous fights were knockout victories, and most of them came early in the fight…

In a recent article I posted on this website, I made a case for the cruiserweight division being a high-quality, dynamic weight class, and one of the best in the sport today. I listed several fighters as examples of how the division is shaking off its reputation as a garbage dump of wannabe heavyweights. The man at 200 pounds made for must-watch boxing, I claimed. Well, two of those men just got knocked out and knocked back a few steps in losses that happened this week in Russia.

Dmitry “The Russian Hammer” Kudryashov (18-1) was stopped on his feet by heavy underdog, Olanrewaju Durodola. And Rakhim “The Machine” Chakhkiev (24-2) was stopped by Ola Afolabi.

Kudyrashov looked like a fighter who didn’t know what he was doing. The power that had served him so well didn’t work immediately and there was nothing else to get him through. He stung Durodola in the first round with a nice left hook, but failed to follow up, even as his opponent was staggering. A quick right at that point could have altered the course of the battle. But Durodola covered up against a late attack and was soon on steady legs.

Kudyrashov may be suffering from the curse of having it too easy early on. All of his previous fights were knockout victories, and most of them came early in the fight. He never needed anything besides his power and when his power did get the job done he had nothing more to call upon.

As for Chakhkiev…the machine was dismantled by the veteran Afolabi. The fight ended after a big right which was followed by a wild left hand that crashed against the Russian’s head. A British television announcer described his performance as “fairly naïve.” This is a fair assessment, and one which should not be acceptable from a man who had won a gold medal. Chakhkiev used all his energy in the early rounds with punches that were loaded like catapults. By the fourth, he was visibly slowing down.

It’s almost as if he thought Afolabi was hurt and one more big punch would take him out. That was not the case. Ola was never seriously hurt. He was not winning those first few rounds, but he was clearly in the fight. Chakhkiev began the fifth too exhausted to resist whatever Afolabi had. An Olympic fighter should have more than a powerful, wild attack. And he should know when a plan isn’t working.

In retrospect, however, maybe these outcomes shouldn’t have been great surprises. Afolabi is a veteran who has been in with some of the best in the cruiserweight division. And while his record of 22-4-4 is somewhat modest, it contains no truly embarrassing blemishes. Three of his draws and one of his loses all came in his first dozen fights when he was still developing. Two more losses and the other draw came against longtime champ, Marco Huck. It really should have been clear that Afolabi was a legitimate threat.

As for Durodola (22-2), he did have twenty knockouts on his record, so he could clearly punch. And while he never defeated a great opponent, he only lost once at the weight class (his other loss came at heavyweight where he was undersized).

If Kudyrashov and Chakhkiev have a good team around them they’ll come back and fix the mistakes, tweak the problems, add to what’s missing, lose what’s unneeded and come back stronger. As for my original assessment about the cruiserweight division being strong, I’m sticking by that claim. I just need to swap out a couple of names on my list.

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Olanrewaju Durodola vs Dmitry Kudryashov

Ola Afolabi vs Rakhim Chakhkiev

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  1. KB 03:22pm, 11/12/2015

    This was the venue of the year.

  2. macman 02:42pm, 11/12/2015

    Thought it was a hell of night of boxing actually, as well as being an extremely well matched competitive card (Povetkin Wach probably had the widest odds…)
    Durodola - Kudryashov was a hell of a fun 2 rounds Almost blasts him out in the first and then gets blown out in the 2nd. Hopefully will be a wakeup call for Kudryashov and he starts thinking beyond his power (very bright guy apparently - multiple degrees)
    Cruiserweight’s a great division with a lot of good fights. Hopefully we’ll see Lebedev - Glowacki soon.

  3. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 02:01pm, 11/12/2015

    They needed to switch partners here….Lebedev would have had his hands full but he could have handled Durodola and Kudryashov could have done the same with Kayode….all three of the Africans could have beaten Chakhkiev so he would still be out of luck.

  4. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 01:41pm, 11/12/2015

    Chakhkiev ain’t coming back anytime soon, not in any real way. The bigger disappointment was Kudryashov, not so much that he lost but the way he lost. He shot his wad and Durodola shot him down in very short order. Take a good Goddamned gander at Durodola….powerful as can be and he was ready….somebody made a big ass mistake here.

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