A good night for South Africa

By Tom Donelson
Updated: February 26, 2011

Vlasov, Chilmba

Vlasov, Chilmba

Iowa City, Iowa—Russian fighter Maxim Vlasov won his last eight of nine fights by knockouts and he was hoping for another knock out victory over South African Isaac Chilemba. Chilemba never fought outside of South Africa and there were questions if he was making too much of a step up against the undefeated Vlasov.

In the opening round, Chilemba came out boxing and for probably first time in his career, Vlasov was facing a fighter as tall as he was. Chilemba boxing skills kept the Russian off balanced and this continued into the second round. Chilemba jab kept Vlasov from throwing his own combination as he became concern avoiding the jab coming in his direction. There were time that Vlasov avoided punches with good defense but he was not throwing enough punches to win rounds.

In the fourth round, Vlasov attempted to throw a right over Chilemba to minimize Chilemba advantages with his jab and he closed the distance to score some punches. Over the next two rounds, Chilemba jab allowed him to control the distance and the pace while he connected on some effective body shots to slow Vlasov down. If Vlasov won the fourth round, Chilemba regained control with his jab.

In the seventh round, Vlasov pushed the action as he must have realized that he was behind on the card. This round set up a dramatic eighth round when he finally connected on a right hand over a Chilemba’s left jab that sent the South African down for an eight count. Chilemba managed to beat the count but Vlasov jumped on him and in the next 30 seconds sent Chilemba down for a second time.

From this point, Chilemba changed strategy as he fought on the inside as this kept Vlasov from unleashing his own right hand. In the seventh round, Vlasov found that he could finally connect over Chilemba’s jab so Chilemba moved inside to reduce Vlasov new found efficacy.

He not only survived the eight round but he fought ninth and tenth round in gritty fashion as both fighters fought intense inside rallies and Chilemba got the better of those exchanges. ESPN Ted Atlas had the fight a draw and certainly there were many close rounds but the judges gave Chilemba a unanimous decision. Vlasov fought a good fight but Chilemba fought a better fight and what separated him from Vlasov was his ability to adjust during the fight. In the early rounds, he fought on the outside but when he realized that Vlasov adapted to his boxing style and nearly ended the fight; he moved inside to neutralized Vlasov power.

Juan Carlos Burgos came off his first lost when he failed to win the WBC featherweight division from Hozumi Hasegawa to face veteran Frankie Archuleta. Over the first round, Burgos attacked to impose his will on Archuleta as he nailed Archuleta to the body followed by nasty jabs. Archuleta decided to attack and make it a fight but this was a mistake as he got nailed by a left hook at the minute and half mark. After barely beating the count, Archuleta covered up but this did little good as Burgos ended the fight with another left hook that finished Archuleta.

South Africa Simpiwe Vetyueka continued the South Africans good night as he went after Roberto Carlos Leyva with nasty combinations. From the beginning of the fight until the end of fight, Vetyueka simply dominated the fight and outclassed Leyva. In the third round, Leyva trapped Vetyueka on the rope but Vetyueka turned Leyva around with a nasty uppercut and then finished Leyva with a left hook to the body. Leyva hit the canvas and momentarily paralyzed. Leyva failed to make the count and the fight’s ended.

While Burgos got a nice win after his first lost, the night belonged to a South Africa fighter who never fought outside his nation. Isaac Chilemba boxed effectively over the first half of the fight and when his opponent adjusted, Chilemba moved inside to win a decision while surviving two knockdowns in the eighth round.