Batu Khasikov returned to the ring today on quite an impressive Fight Nights show in Russia, with a big crowd and very professional production in Moscow. He faced Gago Drago, the K-1 and It's Showtime veteran who has fallen from grace the last couple of years. Drago had finally snapped an eight fight losing streak in September with a win.
Drago's wasn't able to find a win this time though. Khasikov stormed him from the opening bell and battered him with power punches and just real mean intentions that we haven't seen out of him in a long time. He backed Drago up into the corner and teed off on him, showing punches power that I didn't think he had. The end of the fight came in the first round when a right cross from Khasikov dropped slumped Drago into the ropes.
This was an important fight for Khasikov, who hadn't looked great in his last two fights, especially the one with Warren Stevelmans where Warren should've won. Though Drago is by no means a top opponent or anything nowadays, what matters is that Khasikov showed a real determination and intensity that hadn't been seen this year. He stormed onto the scene last year with big wins over Albert Kraus and Mike Zambidis but so far had underperformed this year.
Lately there's been a lot of talk among some kickboxers, most notably Artur Kyshenko, that Khasikov is being protected fighting at home on his own shows in Russia. I don't know for sure, but it really looked like Khasikov was very motivated to prove some people wrong here. Kyshenko said that Batu must fight outside of Russia to prove himself. A fight between Kyshenko and Khasikov would be something I'd love to see, especially with the somewhat animosity between them.
As for Khasikov, his team said that there is a tentative agreement in place for him to fight Buakaw Por Pramuk in Moscow in spring 2013. Whether it will happen or not isn't certain but that would also be another great fight. Here's a video detailing what Artur Kyshenko said about Khasikov and about the potential Buakaw fight.