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Siarhei Liakhovich-White Wolf of Vitebsk


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A guy whose greatest achievement was ending Lamon Brewster's championship reign (and effectively his career), Siarhei (Belarussian form of Sergei) Liakhovich was a fine technical boxer, but lacked the punch and lost a couple times due to a late stoppage in fights that he were winning, because he was unable to finish off his opponent. Standing at 6'4 and typically weighing between 230 and 240 pounds, he was a rather large or standard-sized heavyweight of his era. He unfortunately didn't know when to quit and continued fighting too long past his prime. This resulted in too many knockout losses and 9 losses in all. He won 27 fights, 17 by ko. Here is the story of White Wolf of Vitebsk.

 

He was born in Vitebsk, Belarus, 29 May 1976, full name Siarhei Piatrovich Liakhovich. As amateur, he captured the bronze at the 1997 World championships in Budapest and also competed at the 1996 Olympics for Belarus, but went out in the first round against Paea Wolfgramm, on points. At the 1998 European championships, he beat Audley Harrison on points-Harrison would go on to win gold in the 2000 Olympics. He finished his amateur career with a record of 145-15. He turned pro at the end of 1998, with the fighting alias of "White Wolf". He had his first 2 first pro fights in Belarus and the third in Russia, before relocating to Scottsdale in Arizona and fighting in USA. He went 16-0, defeating tough trialhorses Everett Bigfoot Martin and Sedreck Fields on points along the way, and also won the NABA title by UD 12 against Friday Ahunanya. On 1 June 2002, his first upset would happen as he took on the 18-12-2 but still dangerous Maurice Harris. Liakhovich was doing well until the 9th round, when he was hurt by a few overhand rights and then knocked out by a left hook. What's worse, Harris weighed 18 pounds less and wasn't really known as a hard puncher. Liakhovich rebounded by scoring 4 stoppage wins and then a decision, before fighting Dominic Guinn, back then a promising fighter, 3 December 2004 in Atlantic City. White Wolf proved his talent by outboxing Guinn and winning by UD 10. This got him a fight for the WBO title, eventually, even though he had to wait over a year. He didn't fight the entire 2005 when he went into the ring on 1 April 2006 to fight the reigning champion Lamon Brewster in Cleveland. Brewster was known as a fast fighter and a feared puncher and everybody expected him to win easily against this underdog from Eastern Europe. However, Liakhovich used his height well (he is 3 inches taller at least) and boxed well, while Brewster suffered a detached retina early on in the fight. However, he did have a strong round 7, where he made Liakhovich take the knee after landing several hard punches. Liakhovich came back however, giving Brewster a beating, and eventually won on all scorecards by a comfortable margin, to become the first Belarussian world boxing champion! Punchstats showed him clearly outlanding Brewster, landing over 100 punches more!

 

Unfortunately, this was where the fairytale would end for him. He signed to fight another puncher, but a lot larger and less fast than Brewster-Shannon Briggs. Briggs had for a long time been a dark horse and hadn't really accomplished what was expected of him earlier. Liakhovich on his part was said to not have recovered well enough from the hard Brewster fight in time for their fight, which happened on 4 November 2006 in Phoenix. He was also outweighed by 30 pounds by Briggs. He looked slower than in the previous fight and even though he outboxed Briggs for most of the fight, everybody could see this wasn't the same guy who wrestled the title away from Brewster. In the 12th round, Briggs went in for the kill, obviously seeing Liakhovich had tired and put him down twice. The second knockdown sent him thru the ropes and the fight was controversially waved off by the ref with only A SECOND to go! Had it been allowed to finish and had Liakhovich been able to make it back in the ring, he would've retained his title with a draw. This was a very unlucky and bad way to lose your title indeed. He was again away from the ring for the whole of 2007, before coming back in February 2008 to fight Nikolay Valuev in a WBA eliminator in Nuremberg, Germany. Unfortunately, he had suffered a shoulder injury in training where he tore his ligaments and was unable to put weight behind his right hand. Consequently, he underperformed and was jabbed into submission by the gigantic Valuev, who won by a shutout on all scorecards. He was again absent for over a year after that, coming back in November 2009 and stopping Jeremy Bates by TKO1 and then next year Evans Quinn by KO9. He then got an important fight against one of the best European heavyweights at the time-Robert Helenius of Finland. Helenius at 6'7 was a taller guy and he could hit. They faced off in Erfurt in Germany on 27 August 2011. Although he suffered a broken nose in the second round, White Wolf boxed well and gave Helenius problems, but in round 8 Helenius upped the tempo and sent him down with a combination. In the next round, he landed a vicious left uppercut which badly hurt Liakhovich and then hit him with a power barrage that led to a stoppage. That was pretty much the end of Siarhei Liakhovich as a serious contender.

 

Interestingly enough, he got to fight Deontay Wilder in August 2013 and was stopped in 1 round, after being caught with that monster right. In December next year, he dropped a decision to Andy Ruiz in a fight for the NABF title. He came back in 2017, after almost 3 years away, and won his last fight by stopping Ramon Olivas Echeverria by TKO 3. In December 2019, he was stopped by Simon Kean by TKO 10 and then finally, on 7 November 2020, he had his final fight against Evgeny Romanov and lost by a KO 2. He retired (hopefully for good) after that, at the age of 44. Siarhei Liakhovich was a talented fighter, but as mentioned, his lack of serious power crippled him in a division where lack of power is the most serious flaw. He was also unlucky to lose his title in that manner, but also, it seems inactivity and not always coming in to fight in a good enough shape also put a dent in his career. Had he been managed and trained better, maybe he could have been the champion longer. What is interesting is that he is one of only 3 Belarussian boxing champions so far (others being Ivan Baranchyk and Kiril Relikh) and none of them were able to keep their world titles long. Another problem for Liakhovich was that he was fighting at the time when Wladimir Klitschko and later also his brother Vitali were holding the division in a stranglehold. What is certain anyway is-this guy had the talent, but perhaps not enough dedication to stay elite level. Thank you.

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