Headlining the Uzbekistan card showcasing many of their best talent was elite Super-Welterweights 🇫🇷Michel Soro (35-3-1, 24KO), and 🇺🇿Israil Madrimov (8-0-0, 6KO) risking their top-contender positions in what was a WBA final eliminator, for the rights to face the Undisputed World Champion if a winner is granted between 🇺🇸Jermell Charlo, and 🇦🇷Brian Carlos Castaño in their rematch soon-to-come, with contracts nearly finalized.
The fight was intriguing while it lasted, but a horrible Referee call was somehow superseded by those overseeing the process, and the blunder by the Referee was upheld. Madrimov walked away as the winner, by way of technical knockout, with the controversy tag.
With Michel Soro, you know what to expect…composed pace, stingy defense, and the majority of his work coming off of the jab. Madrimov, athletically being the more dynamic fighter, was more active than Soro in the opening rounds, though was having difficulty getting to the target with the overhand right, and Soro was able to neutralize his sidesteps, taking away the angles, and getting back to center ring to command the ring.
Round 4 was where Madrimov started to make his presence felt, finding home with the right hand to the head, and to the pit of the belly. Michel wasn’t overly stung, but you could tell that he was feeling the weight of the shots. Soro’s hand speed disadvantage was something Madrimov began to take advantage of, with his footwork. By the time Soro committed to firing, Israil already darted out, and back in, to land counterpunches.
Soro fought well, probing forward on the front foot in the beginning of the 5th round, but he was rocked with a heavy right hand by the Uzbekistan contender. Madrimov began to box more effectively off of the back foot by round 7.
Soro, understanding the circumstances, began to press forward more powered behind the 1-2, and began to time Madrimov better whenever he tipped off his punches. Soro later on was getting closer to the range he needed to connect the work together, and he was forcing Madrimov to fight his style of fight, trying to time Israil in 50/50 exchanges.
The fight gravitated more towards being fought in closed quarters by each man, with exclusive work being done to the body. Though a risky proposition by Madrimov participating in that style of fight in the moment, it paid off as a chopping right hand wobbled Soro badly, and Madrimov teed off on him. There were multiple shots landed after the bell, yet Referee Salvador Salva stopped the fight, a terrible ruling in his favor.
With anger spewing from the Soro corner, and with big wigs at the front row, they spent the next 7 – 10 minutes arguing about what to do – an embarrassing turnout all across the board to say the least. Would they allow the fight to continue to prevent Soro from being robbed? no, too much time passed in between their deliberation…well would they then call it a no-decision
Unbelievably incompetent regarding those that were involved…they somehow agreed to uphold the original TKO stoppage for Israil Madrimov, thus him winning the title eliminator. Israil was ahead on the scorecards anyway, but still, this one left a sour taste in the mouth, for one more black eye on the sport of boxing. Hopefully some more competent heads can come together, to agree to administering a rematch, but who knows what will go down, especially with the weak hierarchy of power that exists in the sport.
It has to be noted that Madrimov mentioned that he would be open to a rematch, and that is respectable on his part. As for Soro, it’s tough to imagine how he feels, especially at the age of 34 dealing with this level of corruption, with minimal time left on the odometer.