AUSTIN, TEXAS — Ismayl Sillakh’s (17-1, 14 KOs) light-heavyweight title hopes went up in smoke last night at the hands of Denis Grachev (12-0-1, 8 KOs), who scored a stunning, comeback eighth round TKO on Friday Night Fights.
Sillakh dominated the preceding seven rounds with movement and sharp counter-punching. The shorter ans slower Grachev was reduced to lunging haymakers, resulting in Sillakh catching him repeatedly with left hooks, straight rights and uppercuts. In the third, Grachev was dropped to his knees off a Sillakh left jab-straight right.
From round six, Grachev began to land sporadic but noticeable right hands on Sillakh, who had begun coasting on his lead. In the eighth, Sillakh pounced on Grachev inside only to be wobbled by a right hook. Sillakh stumbled into the ropes and received a series of head-snapping hooks around his guard. The badly dazed Sillakh didn’t hold and Grachev ended matters with a left-right hook combination for a decisive knockdown and referee stoppage.
Grachev would sum up his shocking upset by referencing his pre-fight statement.
“I will break Ismayl Sillakh,” he predicted.