Ricards Bolotniks advanced to the final of the MTK Golden Contract by scoring two late knockdowns to widely outscore Hosea Burton in their semi-final in Riga.
It was refreshing to see a crowd at Studio 69 in Latvia’s Capital, and Burton’s cousin, WBC and Lineal Heavyweight champion, Tyson Fury, was in attendance to see ‘The Hammer.’
Burton (25-2, 11 KOs) flicked out his southpaw jab from the off, whilst Bolotniks attempted to cut off the ring by applying forward pressure.
The home fighter landed a couple of decent right hands in the opener, but Burton’s back foot boxing seemed to have won the round.
‘The Hammer’ was very alert in the early stages and was boxing intelligently, putting together good combinations.
Burton, backed by his vociferous coach, Joe Gallagher, began the third again off his straight jab, but Bolotniks (17-5-1, 7 KOs) found success with a stiff left that landed high on Burton’s head.
Bolotniks landed a sharp right hand in round four that got the crowd’s excitement, but Burton soon returned to his back foot work that kept the Latvian at bay.
Going into the second half of the fight, it looked there for the taking for both men and Bolotniks was landing with single shots, doing well in the sixth with a couple of solid lefts to the head of the former British champion.
The ‘Lion’ continued his good work in the seventh, as he closed the distance on his opponent, and landed well to the body, growing in confidence to the delight of the crowd, with Burton’s nose bloodied during the round.
FURY IN THE BUILDING 🥊@Tyson_Fury getting a fantastic reception from the fans in Latvia tonight.
He is ringside for @hosea_burton‘s #GoldenContract fight with Ricards Bolotniks on @IFLTV this evening.
FREE LIVE STREAM ➡️ https://t.co/xAiRzkESW8#TeamMTKGlobal pic.twitter.com/sKLXZJAGrz
— MTK Global 🌍 (@MTKGlobal) September 26, 2020
The 30-year-old was now beginning to walk Burton down, and the penultimate round saw Bolotniks land more freely and with a massive right hand that buzzed Burton.
A big follow up attack left the Brit stranded on the ropes and with them holding him up, the referee administered a count.
On the resumption, Bolotniks again drove him towards the ropes and as he unloaded, again the ropes kept ’The Hammer’ up and again the referee started a standing count.
The 32-year-old bravely survived the round, but it looked as though his tank was empty ahead of the final session, whilst Bolotniks was brimming with confidence.
Burton got back to the jab, as he seemed content to try and see the fight out, but Bolotniks had no real respect for his power by this point and continued to walk forward, landing an uppercut on the inside, as the fight went to the scorecards.
Two scores of 98-90, and a third at 100-90 were way too harsh on Burton, who seemed to control a lot of the early rounds, but Bolotniks was a deserved winner in the end with his second half performance.
He now moves on to face the winner of Wednesday’s other semi-final between Serge Michel and Liam Conroy.
Selected Other Results
Super Lightweight – Marcis Grundulis (9-1, 2 KOs) UD6 Brayan Mairena (10-17-1, 4 KOs)
Cruiserweight – Arturs Gorlovs (8-1-1, 7 KOs) Draw Felipe Nsue (4-1-1, 3 KOs)
Middleweight – Kristaps Bulmeistars (9-0, 5 KOs) UD6 Pavel Semjonov (24-16-2, 9 KOs)
Light Heavyweight – Francis Rozentals (5-0, 1 KO) TKO2 Pjotr Filatov (2-10-1, 1 KO)