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Ukrainian kickboxers steal thunder in Moscow W5 event

The fifth edition of the W5 Fighter tournament was held on Friday night in the Russian capital, but it was two Ukrainian up-and-comers who fought it out on the night.

W5 Fighter is a new Russian martial arts tournament and still far from the biggest fighting stage. But it's the kind of event that aspiring kickboxers need to build their names.

Roman Mailov is one of Ukraine's biggest hopes, and on Friday night the 20-year-old faced another test on his quest to reach the summit.

There were some old scores to settle with Belarusian Denis Larchenko. The two first met last May, and it was the "Ukrainian Thunder" who won that battle in the extra round. This time out Larchenko was standing in his way once again and out for revenge.

The Belarusian nicknamed Desperado brought emotions into the ring, while Mailov sought his chance with patience, and in the end proved to have the better skills. An impressive left upper cut with seconds from time gave Mailov a technical knock-out win in the main event of the night.

“I saw my coach signal from the corner that there were just seconds left before the end of the fight. I knew I was losing it on points. So I had to open up and attack and I missed that punch. It wasn't too hard. It was just very accurate and well-timed,” Larchenko said with regret after the fight.

“I'm glad this time around I won it fair and square. With no split decisions or extra rounds. In our first fight I made some mistakes. Chased a knock-out, it was just a brawl. Tonight I fought smart, sticking to the game plan, making him miss, and lose confidence,” Mailov noted.

The other big fight of the night saw Mailov's young compatriot Alim Nabiev take on Alka Matewa from Belgium. The 17-year-old Ukrainian faced probably the toughest test of his life with his opponent having an impressive record of 45 wins out of 51 professional kickboxing fights, and looked simply bigger and stronger.

However, Nabiev wasn't to be intimidated and claimed an undisputed victory – the fourth in his fledgling career.

“I've checked out a number of his fights on the internet. He's won so many by knock-out. But you know, I don’t think he’s faced any worthy opponents. He's a big strong guy, and it seems like the others were scared. But I wasn't. I was much faster, and he couldn’t do anything about it,” Nabiev stressed.

It seems the brave make their own fortune.