Evgeny Romanov is best known for knocking out Deontay Wilder, but now he has a taste of his own medicine.
Before meeting Tyson Fury, Wilder’s last loss came against the Russian in February 2008, when he was traveling to Novosibirsk for a Russia vs. USA contest.
Romanov, three months Wilder’s senior, was one of the best young Soviet heavyweights at the time, winning silver at the 2008 Russian Championships before winning gold in 2009.
Although the two men both fought professionally as heavyweights, they were heavyweights when they met and competed at the 200 lb (91 kg) limit.
Wilder, a slimmer 6-foot-7, towered over his 6-foot opponent, but the shorter, stockier man prevailed, forcing the referee to stop the fight in the third round.
From the opening bell, Wilder started the fight in control and led 4-2 on the amateur scoring system after the first round.
In the second, Romanov had an effective response to everything the American threw, responding to almost every attack with quick, instant counterpunches.
At the end of the round, Wilder was forced to count on his feet after a strong right hand from the Russian cemented the turnaround and gave him a 10-7 lead on points.
Then came the third and final round, in which Romanov continued his attacks and knocked Wilder down with another straight right, forcing a second standing countout.
This time, the outside fighter did not have enough time to fully recover and was subsequently crushed to the canvas by two more clean punches.
The referee decided he had seen enough and ended the fight with less than a minute remaining.
Fast forward to 2024, and on Saturday night, Romanov 19-0 (12 KOs) faced China’s Zhaoxin Zhang 11-2-1 (6 KOs) in a final eliminator to fight for the new super-cruiserweight belt. » of the WBA.
The competition began as planned with the local favorite taking over in Yekaterinburg, Russia.
Romanov knocked Zhang down in the first round and the Chinese heavyweight staggered back to his feet.
However, despite the heavy knockdown, he entered the second round as a renewed man.
Romanov was careless as they hung on the ropes and Zhang took advantage, pinning him with a series of punches that left him facedown on the canvas.
The Russian rushed to try to get back to his feet, but was unable to do so and was counted out by the referee.
Zhang celebrated passionately and the Russian crowd was silenced.
Romanov has yet to speak about his defeat, but regarding the Wilder fight, he told RT 13 years later: “It was a long time ago. Honestly, I don’t think about it much.
“Wilder was different then than he is today. I was different too.
“Today is a different moment, Wilder is at the top and I’m on my way there.
“Back then it might have been the other way around, so I don’t want to remember it or think about it.”
Asked about Wilder’s “weak points”, Romanov added: “I’m not sure about the weak points but I know his legs are weak.
“As for where to punch, I don’t know. You have to be careful about that when you get in the ring with him.
“I know Wilder is not firm on his feet, you can see that when you watch him on TV.”
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