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Oleg Platov-The Unsung Ukrainian


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Oleg Platov was a talented heavyweight who only suffered one loss as a pro, which he later avenged, and though he defeated some good fighters, never got to fight for a world title and eventually, inactivity sidelined him and he ended up retiring. Platov had good skills, a good enough punch and was fast and explosive, being not a big or tall heavyweight. Despite this, he went under the moniker “DniproHulk”.

The “Dnipro” part came from his birthplace, one of the largest cities in Ukraine, once called Dnipropetrovsk, on the river also called Dnipro in Ukrainian. He was born on 8 April 1983, in what was then Soviet Union. After leaving amateur ranks, he moved to Belgium and was managed by Alain Vanackere. Turning professional in 2001, he won 5 fights before suffering his only loss in an upset against Ludovic Mace of France. Platov was down in the fifth round before losing on points in 6 rounds. After winning 3 more fights, he rematched Mace and knocked him out in 3 rounds. In 2005, he stopped Mindaugas Kulikauskas of Lithuania by TKO3-Kulikauskas held a TKO victory over Herbie Hide. 

After this victory, he caught the eye of Kalle Sauerland and signed with him, leaving Belgium for Germany, where he would fight for the rest of his career. His greatest achievement came on 4 November 2006, when he took on the acclaimed Henry Akinwande, who had a record of 49-2 and had held the WBO title before vacating it. The title on the line was the IBF Intercontinental one and after 12 hard fought rounds, Platov was proclaimed the winner by a split decision. This victory was meant to propel Platov towards a world title fight, but, for some reason-he didn’t get it. His compatriot Wladimir Klitschko had earlier that year wrested the IBF belt from Chris Byrd, but it seems Platov was not in his sight. 

Instead, DniproHulk defended his belt against the once-solid Aussie Colin Wilson and won by a TKO10 against the still game but aging Wilson-coincidentally another former Herbie Hide opponent. On 8 December 2007, he faced his second most famous opponent-Danny Williams of Great Britain, in a second defense of the title. The fight was in Basel, Switzerland and it ended in a no-contest after 4 rounds because Williams accidentally stepped on Platov’s foot and he got injured and could not continue. Williams criticized the stoppage. The injury did however seem severe enough, because it kept Platov out of the ring for a year and when he returned on 20 December 2008, he no longer held the title. This likely affected the rest of his career and he was never able to get another big fight. 

He would fight sporadically and would have only four more fights, the most significant one being against Gbenga Oluokun, a fringe contender back then, in 2010. He was 17-4-1 and had only been stopped by Mahmoud Charr before, in 7 rounds. Platov was impressive and stopped him in 6. It seemed like he was slowly getting back on track and there were talks of him getting bigger fights, but then, for some reason, he was again missing from the ring until 2012, when he fought in The States for the first time, Miami, FL. His opponent was a journeyman called Harold Sconiers and Platov easily won by TKO 2. That turned out to be his last fight and Platov wasn’t yet 30 when his career ended. 

It is indeed a mystery to me why his career ended like that, but what is certain is that for a while, he seemed like a very good contender and a potential threat to the Klitschkos. Curiously, I could not find the info on how tall he is anywhere, but in the Akinwande fight he looked like 6’1 to 6’2: significantly shorter than the 6’7 giant. Whatever happened (managerial problems may be the reason very well), Platov never got the chance to show just how good he was and that is truly a shame, for in his best fights he looked impressive. 


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  • 2 weeks later...

A correction on the Danny Williams fight: Platov got cut and hurt badly by an accidental headbutt in round 2. Before that, he was dominating the fight and had Williams in trouble, but that butt made him take the knee and it affected him from there on. He was punished by Williams in the next two rounds, until the referee called an end to it because of the cut above Platov’s eyebrow, left one I believe. It was at 2:15 of round 4. 

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