Boxing’s cruiserweight (200 lbs) division doesn’t get much attention in North America, which isn’t surprising given the majority of the current top fighters are from Central or Eastern Europe, with a spattering of contenders from Latin America and Africa. However unpopular it may be stateside, cruiserweight is clearly one of the deepest divisions in boxing right now, and on Saturday we’ll be seeing quite possibly the hardest power puncher in the sport make his US debut as part of the World Boxing Super Series tournament.
Russia’s Dmitry “The Russian Hammer” Kudryashov has a record of 21-1, and all of his wins (plus his one loss) have been by stoppage. His resume doesn’t stand out as having many great wins, but he’s got multiple good wins over contenders, including the avenged defeat to Nigerian contender Olanrewaju Durodola. A karate practitioner in his youth, Kudryashov switched to boxing as a teenager, and he has some of the most destructive fists you’ll ever see.
Watch video of his top ten knockouts at the top of the page. It didn’t even include what he did to kickboxing standout Zack Mwekassa. The impact of his body shots sound like gunfire, and he freezes opponents up with short punches. Francisco Palacios was a fairly recent two-time title challenger at the time he faced Kudryashov, and had otherwise never been knocked down. Dmitry flattened him in a round.
Bad Left Hook’s Patrick L. Stumberg has one of my favorite fighter write-ups ever:
In the UFC, my fighter of choice is John Lineker, a 5’3” ball of murderous intent so utterly devoid of self-preservation instincts that he was last seen talking trash as his opponent slammed elbows into his broken jaw. In boxing, it’s Dmitry Kudryashov.
Kudryashov is abnormally slow. His defense is atrocious. The concept of jabbing seems to come and go from his mind like a cat struggling to decide if it wants in or out. He has the gas tank and overall stylistic aesthetic of a Hummer freshly dredged out of a two-year stint at the bottom of the ocean.
And man, I don’t think I would like him half as much if he actually fixed any of that. They’re what make him special. Even the legendary sluggers of the past, like George Foreman, generally had at least some semblance of a gameplan and the skills needed to execute it.
Dmitry Kudryashov has gotten as far as he has solely by having a quality chin and punching like Ivan Drago with two smaller Ivan Dragos instead of fists.
Kudryashov is going up against WBA “regular” champion Yunier “The KO Doctor” Dorticos, who is 21-0 with 20 KOs, so this has high potential to be a Fight of the Year contender. Dorticos is a lot more technically refined and proven in the later rounds than Kudryashov, so he is the rightful favorite, but Kudryashov is the living embodiment of “puncher’s chance.”
Dorticos vs. Kudryashov airs live on Super Channel in Canada, free on ITV Box Office in the UK, and for free for US viewers on the WorldBoxingSuperSeries.com website. The start times vary by region (depending on which networks want to pick up undercard action), but it looks as if the card kicks off at 8 PM ET/5 PM PT. Main event should probably begin at around 10 PM ET/7 PM PT.