By Dave Spencer
Stephan Larouche has ventured behind the former Iron Curtain before importing the best Eastern Europe has to offer and walking away with champions, now after conquering with all that Romania has to offer, the veteran Montreal trainer seems to have his eyes set further east and is excelling with a pair of talented undefeated fighters from Kazakhstan, both who were on display Thursday night in Montreal.
Larouche who had champions in Romanian born Leonard Dorin and Lucian Bute along with playing a large part in career of Adrian Diaconu now is the guiding force behind Batyr ‘777’ Jukembayev and Ablaikhan Khussainov, both who posted convincing victories in a small 4 fight card at Club Metropolis Thursday night. The evening was presented by Interbox and Eye of the Tiger Management and had a limited VIP crowd and was more geared to online subscribers who could purchase the card for a very reasonable eight dollars.
After dominating his first eight fights, Jukembayev who had seven stoppages heading in, headlined his first scheduled ten round affair versus grizzled veteran Cosme Rivera (41-24-3) who looked every bit of his forty years.
The mission was a simple one, if not time tested time and time again in the sport. Go against a former world title challenger who is definitely past his best before date and add some rounds and experience to an apprenticing fighter on his way up.
Rivera posed no imminent threat to the left-handed twenty-six year-old, but was savvy enough to make things difficult at times and make the Montreal miss and make him pay, but never enough that the outcome was ever in doubt.
In the end, Jukembayev would start teeing off on Rivera in the fifth before finally knocking him down and having the fight called at 1:57 of the seventh round.
But far from some of the stationary targets that have been put in front of him thus far in his two year career, Rivera who now fights at a category below where he made his mark at welterweight a dozen years ago still had enough left in his aging legs to make Jukembayev to miss plenty in the opening round.
The Montreal boxer adjusted nicely along the way, even though he was reminded via a right hand that he was still in a fight and not to underestimate the veteran. In fact, after scoring his first knockdown in the fight in the third with a left hand followed by a clubbing right, Jukembayev appeared to be cut under the left eye thanks to a Rivera right hand in the next round.
It was after that the young Kazakh seemed to shift gears and walk down his opponent. Shot after shot were delivered with accuracy and in rapid succession and while Rivera could surprise when the two were trading one punch at a time, it was clear he had no answer to what was quickly becoming a run-away freight train. After being pinned on the ropes, Rivera went to the only place he could to stop the barrage being levelled towards him, which was down to the canvas. Moments later, the bout was stopped as the onslaught continued where it left off.
Batyr ‘777’ Jukembayev makes it nine in a row with his eighth stoppage while Rivera who has been at it for almost twenty-five years continues to be matched with upcoming undefeated fighters.
The other Kazakhstan boxer on the card, lightweight Ablaikhan Khussainov had little trouble disposing of Mexican Cristian Assazola at 2:38 of the 2nd round. Assazola was down twice in the first round and Khussainov finished the job with a left hook to the body in the second moving to 6-0 with his fifth stoppage.
The other two bouts of the evening didn’t make it out of the first minute of the first round. Former Olympic heavyweight Simon Kean stopped Michael Marrone (21-7 15KO) at :50 seconds with a jab to the midsection. The Florida fighter went down heavily against the ropes and rolled into the centre of the ring where he stayed for a good two minutes.
Debuting super-middleweight Clovis Drolet took even less time versus Jesus Olivares (5-5 3KO). One right hand was all it took and Olivares was down and out with Olivares taking just :31 seconds to finish his pro debut.