Ukrainian defends World Heavyweight Kickboxing title

The world heavyweight kickboxing title was at stake in downtown Moscow on Thursday night. Three tough opponents aspired to win the belt, but they could not stop holder Pavel Zhuravlev from defending his title.

The Moscow fight club Arbat is a traditional arena for various martial artists. This time it hosted four kickboxers fighting for the WBKF heavyweight title.

It was the champion's belt holder Ukraine's Pavel Zhuravlev versus Aleksey Kudin from Belarus, who settled scores first.

For Kudin, it was a chance for revenge after losing his title to the Ukrainian last year. But after three rounds of a very close bout, a unanimous decision followed, and Pavel Zhuravlev got through to the final.

“Aleksey is a very tough opponent, so I spent the first round finding out what he had to offer. But in the third round, I went up a gear, although I feel like I've should got off to a better start,” Zhuravlev said after the fight.

In the other semi-final, the K-1 Grand-Prix winner Konstantin Glukhov from Latvia took on former European champion Russian Elvin Abbasov. To the crowd's disappointment, Glukhov was much better than his opponent.

That's how it came to the climax.

After just a few minutes of recovering, the finalists stepped into the ring again.

With the first round won convincingly by the champion, Glukhov was keen to come back in the last two rounds. He managed to hurt Zhuravlev several times.

However, it wasn’t enough to defeat Zhuravlev, who kept the precious title.

“Kostya is a very special fighter. He's very good at kicking, that gives him a certain edge. But I tried to give my best tonight and, fortunately, that was enough to beat him. Anyway I'll keep on improving my skills as it's far easier to reach the top than remain there,” Zhuravlev recalled.