Thabiso Mchunu easily defeats Evgeny Tishchenko to maintain mandatory status!
The “fast-track” is something boxing fans have become accustomed to seeing from most Eastern European and Japanese fighters. Names like former undisputed cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk, three-division champs Vasiliy Lomachenko, Naoya Inoue and Kosei Tanaka have all looked to become world champions within their first ten professional fights. At 8-0, Russia’s Evgeny Tishchenko will look to make his move towards this list as he takes on WBC #1 ranked contender Thabiso “The Rock” Mchunu.
The bout is a WBC eliminator to name the mandatory challenger for champion Ilunga “Junior” Makabu.
Tishchenko had a stellar amateur career much like some of his Easter European counter-parts mentioned above. In 2016, he cruised through the Olympics in Brazil to win gold. Prior to that, he had already started making a name for himself as a participant in the World Series of Boxing. While he may not have garnered much attention outside of Russia, he hasn’t been taking his pro career lightly. In eight fights, his opponents have a combined record of 142-30-1. Furthermore, he is ranked #4, #5 and #15 by the WBO, IBF and WBC at cruiserweight respectively.
Mchunu is well known around hardcore boxing circles. The 33 year-old former world title contender has a wealth of experience to his credit as a fourteen year cruiserweight and has a reputation of being an opponent who is always tough to deal with. He shared the ring with Usyk, Makabu, Denis Lebedev, Eddie Chambers and Thomas Oosthuizen to name a few. In addition to being the #1 contender for the WBC, he is also ranked #10 by the WBO.
This is without a doubt the biggest fight of Tishchenko’s young career. Unfortunately given his lack of experience in big fight situations, he fell short to impress!
This bout had an extremely slow start mostly due to the nervous energy mostly manifested by the Russian southpaw. That energy would eventually translate into arguably the worst fight on the entire card!
While taking advantage of his major height and reach advantages was the obvious game-plan, Tishchenko was still too cautious to let his hands go. When he did, it was merely just shooting the jab while shying away from shooting the straight left.
Furthermore, while his movement looked good, he did too much of it. Mchunu had moments where he left himself open after trying to get in close and the 29 year-old was more intent on moving out of the way instead of countering.
Mchunu wasn’t doing any better to increase the action. He did most of work posturing on the outside before lunging in with some wild shots that either hit air, gloves or his opponent’s back. Regardless, Mchunu seemed to be the man who dictated the pace throughout.
That is not to say he washed his opponent in those rounds. This fight was ridiculously hard to watch as neither fighter did anything significant.
GIVING AWAY ROUNDS
As rounds went by, it became increasingly difficult not to fall asleep! By the fourth, Tishchenko shook off most of the nervous energy as he started bouncing on his toes more looking to setup combinations from the outside. It looked as if he had found his groove. However, that was not the case. When he looked to be picking things up, he would fall back to decreasing his output after either coming close to eating a big shot or actually taking one.
Mchunu did do well to make it look as if he wanted to fight. While his attack was sloppy, he did land more punches and he consistently brought the fight to the younger prospect. Additionally, he had some success pushing Tishchenko against the ropes while landing hooks to the the body. He also had what looked like a combination of an uppercut and a hook that he lunged in with. That punch landed with a high-level of accuracy as it always seemed to get around Tishchenko’s guard.
To make matters worse, by the championship rounds, the WBC #1 contender even started having success landing his own jab! By this time, the Russian prospect looked ridiculous and it was clear he was not going to win this fight unless he benefited from some serious “home cooking”.
Realistically all Tishchenko had to do was stay busy on the outside, maintain distance and pepper Mchunu with a jab, straight left combination whenever he tried to jump in. This is exactly the same game-plan WBO cruiserweight champion Lawrence Okolie exacted on a much more difficult opponent in Krzysztof Glowacki on March 20.
Unfortunately for him, he only did half of this and it cost him the fight!
A GOOD WIN AND A LOOK AHEAD
In the end, regardless of being on home-soil, the Russian prospect would receive his first loss. The judges turned in scorecards of 117-111 twice and 119-109 all for Mchunu. 3kingsboxing.com scored the fight 116-112 for the WBC #1 contender as well.
With the win, Mchunu will look to get his revenge against WBC champion Ilunga “Junior” Makabu. The two fought in May 2015 and produced a high-action bout where the fight could have gone either way until a huge uppercut landed on Mchunu that put him down and out!
The rematch should be just as good as the first bout especially since this time around, a world title is on the line!
By: EJ Williams