The drama of Jose Zepeda vs Ivan Baranchyk lands them Fight of the Year!
It should go without saying that a five round prizefight with eight traded knockdowns is rather memorable. This is exactly why Jose “Chon” Zepeda (33-2, 26 KO’s) versus Ivan “The Beast” Baranchyk (20-2, 13 KO’s) has won 3kingsboxing.com 2020 Fight of the Year!
Many thought their October 3 showdown would be a fun affair. Yet, no one could have been prepared for the back-and-forth mayhem that they unleashed.
Going into the bout Baranchyk was only one fight removed from his first professional loss. Back on May 18 The Beast dropped a unanimous decision loss to now IBF and WBA super lightweight champion Josh “The Tartan Tornado” Taylor. As a result, the former IBF champion gave Taylor his first of two titles. Five months later the Russian collected a fourth round TKO over Gabriel Bracero.
Meanwhile, the southpaw Zepeda came into the bout riding back-to-back unanimous decision wins. Similar to Baranchyk, he suffered the second loss of his career in a close fight to WBC and WBO super lightweight champion Jose Ramirez on February 20, 2019. Remaining in the win column against Baranchyk turned out to be a very tough night in the office!
THE RUGGED RUMBLE
To begin the bout, Baranchyk threw a couple a wild leaping right hooks at Zepeda. While they did not land, the ill-intent blows certainly set the tone for the remainder of the evening. It didn’t take long for the real action to get started. Ultimately it was the Russian who scored major damage first.
Before they could get out of the first period, The Beast put the Californian down twice. First a right hook sent Zepeda to his knee, although, he was not really shook up. A few moments later Baranchyk hurt and knocked down his opponent with a thudding left hook.
Zepeda wasted little time in extracting revenge. At the top of the second round a tight left hook of his own sent Baranchyk to the canvas. When the Russian got to his feet it was evident his legs were not solid. Sensing his foe was hurt, Chon pounced on him only to get dropped for a third time. The action slowed a hair in the third outside of the southpaw planting Baranchyk on the canvas for a second time with the same left hook.
Remaining true to the tug-of-war nature of this contest, the Beast recaptured the momentum in the fourth. For the first half of the period he pressured Zepeda around the ring and roughed him up along the ropes. Suddenly, in the closing twenty seconds of the round, Chon’s trusty left hook clipped and dropped Baranchyk for a third time!
Zepeda remained the ring general throughout the majority of the fifth. While still coming forward, the Russian was not so “gung-ho” with his attack. In the closing forty seconds of the round, the former champion clubbed Zepeda and sent him reeling into the corner. Since it was only the assistance of the padding that kept him upright, referee Kenny Bayless administered an 8-count.
Once the count was completed, The Beast charged in to finish the period as strong as possible. Unfortunately for him, he ran into the same left hook that had plagued him all night. Only this time, it was clear he was not getting back up. When the blow landed he immediately clasped and fell painfully and awkwardly on his own leg. Sprawled out and unmoving on the canvas, Baranchyk looked like a coma patient who somehow fell out the bed.
In that temporary vegetative state, referee Bayless near instantly waved off the contest.
No one believes this bout will go down in history due to the skill and craft displayed. However, in terms of back-and-forth action, knockdowns and shifts in drama, few bouts can top this one! Maybe a rematch should be on the horizon!
By: Bakari Simpson