Photo by Tom Casino
Well, we’re glad that’s over.
The Friday, June 27, 2014 edition of ESPN2/ESPN Deportes’ “Friday Night Fights” featured up-and-coming prospect Ivan Redkach against former European Junior Lightweight champion Sergey Gulyakevich in what turned out to be a sloppy main event.
Redkach, now 17-0, 13 KOs, was looking to keep the momentum rolling against the tricky Gulyakevich, who fell to 41-3, 17 KOs. The problem was that his momentum carried him directly into Gulyakevich’s arms.
After 10 rounds of hideous fighting, Redkach got the unanimous decision victory. The judges had it 100-90, 99-91, and 98-92. RBRBoxing had it scored 98-92.
Gulyakevich looked tentative right from the beginning of the fight, when his strategy appeared to be to attempt to land punches from about the fifth row.
Indeed, it was curious to see a man with an eight foot wingspan come up short with every punch, but he appeared terrified to catch anything in return.
Redkach started slowly, but landed the straight left to the body as well as to the head in the early rounds. By the fourth round, he was tagging Gulaykevich with pretty much everything.
While “El Terrible” oddly took the fifth round off after appearing to have Gulyakevich on the brink, Gulyakevich changed gameplans. His new strategy involved morphing into Huggy Bear.
For the next several rounds, Gulyakevich would throw a couple of slapping punches and immediately hold onto Redkach, who tried desperately to land shots with one free hand. Or elbow. Or forearm. Or chair.
Referee Steve Smoger finally warned Gulyakevich for holding in the eighth round, so he went back to running for his life while Redkach stalked him with all the urgency of a koala bear on Valium.
Rounds nine and 10 saw more of the same, with Redkach being smothered while Teddy Atlas’ deranged rants provided the soundtrack.
The fight did nothing to help Redkach move his career forward, but we can maybe chalk this one up to a bad night at the office and hope to see him next time against a man who is a bit more willing to engage.
As for Gulyakevich, he did himself no favors, and it will be difficult to imagine him getting another shot on television after making John Ruiz look like Arturo Gatti.