Fighters took to the ring at the Tatneft Arena in Kazan, Russia for the second selection of the first stage of the 2012 Tatneft Cup. Winners will move on and join the winners from the first selection that took place on December 17, at the second stage (quarter finals). In total four selection events will be held in the first stage.
A few changes were made to the card, as the two Portuguese fighters, Bruno Carvalho and Luis Morais were unable to acquire a visa. Valeriy Podoyakhin was substituted in for Bruno Carvalho to face Enriko Gogokhia at -70kg and Oleg Zablodskiy stepped in for Luis Morais to face Dmitry Bezus at Heavyweight. Neither had any success though, as Gogokhia knocked out Podoyakhin in the third round and Bezus stopped Zablodskiy in the first. Gogokhia and Bezus are veterans of the Tatneft Cup, with Bezus losing in the final last year to Hicham Achalhi.
Two Japanese fighters, Masakazu Watanabe and Tsutomu Takahagi made the long trip to Kazan but were both unsuccesful. Watanabe, the Krush veteran, dropped a unanimous decision to Edvin Erik Kibus of Estonia at -70kg. Takahagi, competing at heavyweight, was knocked out in the second round by Tsotne Rogava, a fighter from Ukraine who is only 18 years old and has already fought the likes of Ismael Londt and Stefan Leko.
In the -80kg division, possibly the best division in the Tatneft Cup, Vitaly Nikiforov of Ukraine took a unanimous decision over Rain Karkinen of Estonia. Nikiforov's win put Ukraine at 3-0 for the event. One time It's Showtime fighter Errol Koning of Holland defeated Omar Amrani of Germany when Amrani gave up in the fourth round.
Be on the lookout for more Tatneft Cup content, as we have an interview with the organizers coming up shortly. Quick results below.
70kg: Enriko Gogokhia def. Valeriy Podoyakhin by KO in Round 3.
70kg: Edvin-Erik Kibus def. Masakazu Watanabe by unanimous decision.
80kg: Errol Koning def. Omar Amrani by TKO (Gave Up) in Round 4.
80kg: Vitaly Nikiforov def. Rain Karkinen by unanimous decision.
Heavyweight: Tsotne Rogava def. Tsutomu Takahagi by KO in Round 2.
Heavyweight: Dmitry Bezus def. Oleg Zablodskiy by KO (Liver Shot) in Round 1.