Mikaelyan Easily Overpowers Makabu in a Dominating Performance
In what has to count as a surprise, unheralded Noel Mikaelyan (27-2, 12 KOs) won the vacant WBC cruiserweight title with a third-round stoppage against former WBC champion Illunga Makabu (29-4, 25 KOs).
Fighting at the Casino Miami Jai Alai in Miami, Florida, it was a feel-out opening round for both combatants. But in the second, Mikaelyan took over and established himself as the boss, as he hit Makabu with a series of right hands early in round two.
HE WANTED TO END THE FIGHT EARLY
From there, the Armenian went on an all-out assault, battering Makabu. The former world champion was on unsteady legs and was fortunate to make it to the end of the round.
Before the beginning of round three, the ringside physician took a long look at Makabu before allowing the fight to continue. Once things got back underway, Mikaelyan was determined to make this a short night.
Fifty seconds into the third, another right hand stunned Makabu, and a follow-up combination put him down. Despite getting back up, he was on very wobbly legs. It was at this point that the ref had seen enough and waived off the fight.
The WBC title became available when the previous champion, Badou Jack, vacated the title in September 2023. With such an impressive performance, Mikaelyan looked like he could be a world champion of substance.
Makabu has always had the reputation of not having the strongest of chins. He looked extra shaky in this fight. At this point, he has to evaluate whether it’s time to call it a day.