Shishkin Beats Ex-champ Uzcategui on Rivera v Martin Undercard
Skills paid the bills for IBF #9 and WBO #10 ranked super middleweight Vladimir Shishkin (14-0, 8 KOs) as he scored a unanimous decision win (115-113, 117-111, 117-111) over #7 ranked an ex-IBF 168-pound champ Jose Uzcategui (32-5, 27 KOs) in an IBF title eliminator.
Shishkin used his jab and some slick counterpunching to set the tone and pile up points. Uzcategui staged a brief rally in rounds eight and nine. But in the championship rounds, Shishkin regained control and ran away to victory. With the win, look for Shishkin to be elevated to #1 IBF contender and in line for a world title shot in 2023.
VINCENT ASTROLABIO OVERPOWERS NIKOLAI POTAPOV
WBO #3, IBF #6, and WBC #11 ranked bantamweight Vincent Astrolabio (18-4, 13 KOs) scored three knockdowns en route to an overwhelming sixth-round stoppage win over IBF #3 ranked contender Nikolai Potapov (23-3-1, 11 KOs). The win grants Astrolabio the right to challenge for the IBF title. The power of Astrolabio was evident early and often. After putting Potapov down in the first and fifth round, a savage body shot finished Potapov off midway through round six. With reigning unified bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue moving up to 122, look for Astrolabio to fight for the vacant IBF belt in the first quarter of 2023.
BAKHRAM MURTZALIEV SWEEPS JOSE VALENZUELA
IBF #1 and WBO #4 154-pound contender Bakhram Murtzaliev (21-0, 15KO) added another dominant win to his record. However, the level of competition also did not increase as he took on hard-hitting Mexican contender Jose Valenzuela (20-4, 19KO). Murtzaliev understands he needs to dominate all challenges if he wants a shot at a major title. While he won every round, it would have been more impressive to get the knockout. Especially since Valenzuela has only been stopped once in four loses. Regardless, he keeps his IBF #1 ranking and will have his sights set on the winner of Jermell Charlo vs Tim Tszyu.