Round 1 of AIBA Pro Boxing (APB) opened on Saturday night in Tashkent, Uzbekistan with four excellent Lightweight (60 kg) contests, headlined by an absorbing main event between home favorite Hurshid Tojibaev and Ireland’s David Oliver Joyce.
Backed by fantastic support from the packed arena, Tojibaev opened the contest utilising a defensive style, while Joyce lacked accuracy early despite throwing a multitude of punches.
After losing the first round, the Irish star found his range in the second frame, and evened up the scoring after hitting his Uzbek opponent with a number of eye-catching power shots.
Tojibaev was undeterred by the come-forward style of Joyce however, and grew in confidence as the bout progressed as he took the next three rounds on every scorecard.
Although Joyce continued to advance and attack with flurries, Tojibaev picked his punches with superb timing which frustrated his Irish rival.
There was success to be found towards the end of the contest for Joyce when he won two of the last three rounds, but the earlier dominance of Tojibaev resulted in a 77-75 unanimous decision victory.
The crowd in Uzbekistan was delighted with the result, and they were also able to view Tojibaev’s next opponent in APB, when Dmitry Polyanskiy defeated Brazil’s Robson Conceicao.
Polyanskiy is a rugged Russian fighter, and he recovered well from losing the first round to Conceicao by taking control of the middle portion of the fight, which enabled him to eventually outpoint his decorated South American opponent.
Tojibaev and Polyanskiy will next meet in Cycle I Round 2, where the winner of that eagerly anticipated clash will go on to face Lightweight Champion Berik Abdrakhmanov for the APB title.
Two other matches took place in Tashkent, beginning with a second successive victory for five-time AIBA World Championships medalist Domenico Valentino over Germany’s Artur Bril.
Elsewhere, APB newcomer Magomedrashid Dzhabrailov won the first two rounds of his debut match against Charly Suarez, but was stopped early in round five after being unable to fully recover from an earlier body shot.
20:00: Artur BRIL (GER) vs Domenico VALENTINO (ITA) W.P. (72:79/74:78/72:79)
20:30: Charly SUAREZ (PHI) TKO R5 vs Magomedrashid DZHABRAILOV (RUS)
21:00: Robson CONCENCAIO (BRA) vs Dmitry POLYANSKIY (RUS) W.P. (75:77/74:78/75:77)
21:30: Hurshid TOJIBAEV (UZB) W.P. (77:75/77:75/77:75) vs David JOYCE (IRL)