Neither Kiryl Relikh nor Eduard Troyanovsky are listed as anywhere near favourite for the World Boxing Super Series winner’s podium at 140lbs, but they carry the most experience at this level in the Super Lightweight division.
Relikh has good reason to argue that he should still be undefeated coming into this contest, having come up contentiously short against both Ricky Burns (L UD 12) and Rances Barthelemy (L UD 12 & W UD 12). But it was the latter win over Barthelemy that earned him a place in the tournament.
Meanwhile Troyanovsky 27-1(24KO’s) is Relikh’s mandatory who built quite a reputation before being sparked by Julius Indongo (L KO 1) two years ago. However 2017 proved Troyanovsky can put setbacks behind him fast, returning to winning ways by demolishing European level Michele Di Rocco (W KO 4) and unbeaten Carlos Manuel Portillo (W KO 1).
Out of all the quarter-final bouts across the three weight categories, this opener may well be the hardest to call. Russia’s Troyanovsky has the sort of power that can render opponents out cold, and destroy growing reputations, like the back-to-back stoppages over a 48-0 Cesar Rene Cuenca (W TKO 6 & W TKO 7). While Belarus’ Relikh has experience of besting some world championship talents on the road, while also showing the capability to completely outbox one of Cuba’s most awkward talents.
Maybe the Indongo blowout was just a small blip, and Troyanovsky is now ready to continue what he had started when first claiming the IBF Super Lightweight crown. But many will still question whether his own seek and destroy tactics will always see him found out at the top level.
Relikh 22-2(19KO’s) has tremendous power of his own, but can be caught and hurt himself, as Barthelemy proved in their first meeting. However, it is the way in which Relikh boxed to a faultless game plan in there second meeting that gives him a notable edge here.
Barthelemy may have been off colour that night, but Relikh’s previous outings at world level offer all the proof needed that it wasn’t just a bad night from the Cuban that resulted in such a one-sided bout.
Troyanovsky can lay to rest questions over his chin as he pulls through some hefty punches from the marginally taller champion. But he will struggle to grasp any sort of control and will come up well short on the scorecards as Relikh makes his case for being the dark horse.