In what was one of the closest fights on paper heading to the start of the second season of the World Boxing Super Series, Kiryl Relikh and Eduard Troyanovsky produced an action-packed fight that nearly ended without a winner.
Instead, it was Relikh who narrowly beat Troyanovsky by unanimous decision (115-113, 115-113, 115-113) to retain the WBA junior welterweight title and advance to the semifinals of the World Boxing Super Series 140-pound tournament. The fight took place at the Yokohama Arena in Japan as the main event was Naoya Inoue's 70-second knockout win over Juan Carlos Payano.
The fight started off well for Relikh, who managed to get the early lead in rounds with timely power punches scored on the former world champion. Relikh's right-hand shots consistently broke down Troyanovsky early and the challenger seemed exhausted at times in the second half of the fight.
Eventually, Troyanovsky managed to make a comeback late in the fight, scoring two big right hands at the start of the 12th round. Troyanovsky would continue to pressure Relikh with multiple punches throughout the round, but Relikh managed to avoid getting knocked down until the final bell sounded.
This was Relikh's first WBA title defense since winning the vacant belt earlier this year with a win over Rances Barthelemy. The title was previously held by Terence Crawford, who vacated the title to move up in weight and win a welterweight championship. Relikh will face the winner of the quarterfinal matchup between Regis Prograis and Terry Flanagan. That fight will headline the WBSS card from the Lakefront Arena in New Orleans on October 27.