Souleymane Cissokho satisfies Paris crowd with a dominant win over Ismail Iliev
Souleymane Cissokho has become a fan favorite among French boxing circles. The 30-year-old from Bagnolet, Seine-Saint-Denis, France was a member of the famed French 2016 boxing Olympic team, winning bronze in the junior middleweight division.
The popular fighter has garnered just as much attention for his outside accomplishments as his in-the-ring success. He has a master’s degree in economics, is currently working on his law degree, and starred in a ballet with the legendary French ballerina Marie-Agnès Gillot!
In the ring, Cissohko has steadily progressed. In May of 2021, he ventured stateside and scored the biggest win of his career defeating Kieron Conway by split decision to capture the WBA inter-continental junior middleweight title. The win earned him a world ranking as he’s now ranked #14 by the WBA at 154 pounds.
At the famed Roland-Garros in Paris, France, he faces late replacement Ismail Iliev. The 28-year-old from Nazran, Russia has not defeated a fighter of note but is a tough and durable guy. He was originally supposed to fight Diego Gabriel Chaves in Dubai but felt the fight against Cissohko was the bigger opportunity.
LIGHTING UP THE CROWD
With the crowd cheering “Cissokho”, the Frenchman began matters by establishing the jab, setting the tone by boxing. Iliev likes to fight on the front foot and marched forward behind the jab while maintaining a high guard.
Sensing he was faster and throwing the straighter punches, the fan-favorite began to engage in more of a tight circle at center-ring in the second and third. He used that hand-speed and boxing IQ to time and counter Iliev with the right-hands, left hooks, and right uppercuts.
The fourth saw him turn on the power. Cissokho (14-0, 9 KOs) was landing the right hand at will. With 30 seconds to go in the round, a powerful right made the Russian go “timber” and fall flat on his back. Hurt and bloody from a deep cut over his left eye, Iliev (13-3-1, 3 KOs) survived the round but did not come out for the fifth.
Delighting the raucous Roland-Garros crowd, Cissokho won in dominant fashion. His goal moving forward is to fight again before the end of the year, then fight for a world title in 2022.
By: Michael Wilson Jr.