Nadjib Mohammedi was victorious in his IBF light heavyweight eliminator on Saturday night as he stopped Anatoliy Dudchenko in the 7th round of the NBC Sports Net Fight Night main event.
The taller Dudchenko tried working from the outside with minimal success, while Mohammedi found a way to close the distance without staying in Dudchenko’s range. Mohammedi was getting in and out, landing what he had available to him and not sticking around long enough to pay the price for it.
Mohammedi kept the pressure on his opponent and never let him stay too comfortable, landing right hands from the proper range to make them count. But Dudchenko made the fight much more difficult for himself, at least more so than it probably had to be, by fighting with his hands down and not staying shelled up when the onslaught would ensue on the behalf of Mohammedi.
Mohammedi got stronger and more confident as the fight continued and by round 5 it was his fight to win as Dudchenko put the earmuffs on and was fighting to defend as opposed to fighting to win. In that same round, Dudchenko absorbed something like 4-5 big right hands, a couple of them consecutively.
Besides not offering any offense worth consideration, Dudchenko spent too much time against the ropes and turned the bout into target practice for Mohammedi.
In the final round, Mohammedi was just having his way with Dudchenko and the referee started looking closely at the action. In the closing moments of the fight, Dudchenko was almost completely shelled up, yet Mohammedi was still finding holes through his opponent’s guard, tagging Dudchenko with vicious rights and lefts, both to the head and body. One big right hand later and it was clear the fight was past its due date as the referee stopped the bout, not even a minute into round 7.
The win makes Mohammedi the mandatory challenger for Bernard Hopkins’ IBF light heavyweight title, whether that is his next fight remains to be seen as Hopkins is currently making plans to fight fellow titleholder Adonis Stevenson. Regardless, Mohammedi was impressive and showed enough to be considered a legitimate threat to any of the titleholders, possibly Sergey Kovalev who is in desperate need for an opponent that fans can realistically believe in, or at least believe in his ability to survive the first 4 rounds.
In the evening’s co-feature, Karl “The Dynamite” Dargan (16-0, 8KOs) defeated Anthony Flores by 5th round TKO, in what was an incredible performance for the Philadelphian fighter.