Konstantin Airich Gets Revenge, Stops Pala in Turkey
In an upset, 33-year-old German veteran Konstantin Airich sensationally stopped fight favorite Ondrej Pala (30-3, 21 KOs) of the Czech Republic to add Pala’s WBO European heavyweight title to his already owned IBF I/C belt. IBF #15 Airich was losing the fight but he found some inner resources not only to defeat the uncharacteristically slow Pala, but also to resurrect his stagnating career.
WBO #6 Czech, who hasn’t lost for well over five years since his injury-insisted TKO loss to Denis Boytsov, was in firm control of the fight in the opening rounds. Pala was slow and mostly inactive but so was Airich, while Pala’s punches were much sharper and landed flashier on the Kazakh expatriate’s chin. Airich was taking the punch well but he was steadily given an unnecessary diet of leather, which didn’t look good for him. However, he stayed solidly on his feet, and at the end of the third the Czech’s bell was rung, when he was shaken by Airich’s big right hand. The next couple of rounds were once again for Pala, 27, whose strong jab and big right hands were the difference.
It has all changed in the sixth, when Airich landed a huge combination in the center of the ring to wobble Pala badly. The Czech was on the verge of going down but wisely dropped his mouthpiece. Referee Yuri Koptsev did a terrible job of bringing the fighters together and gave the Czech every chance to survive, which he surely did.
Ondrej looked rather good in the seventh but Airich’s confidence was still intact and he began beating Pala to the punch in the eighth. Round nine turned out to be a personal holocaust for the Czech. First, he was pinned to the ropes and ate a number of clean punches, which were enough to stop the contest. However, referee Koptsev gave Pala every chance to survive and took him back to his corner to insert his mouthpiece once again. The Czech was deducted a point, but it wasn’t necessary. Airich immediately went in for the kill and punched an almost senseless Pala until Koptsev stepped in at 1:10 to stop the carnage.
A huge win for Konstantin Airich, who has slowly put his career back on track. Pala is young enough to come back as a serious European contender but he definitely needs to improve his defense. Airich also avenged his majority decision loss to Pala, which took place three years ago.
By Alexey Sukachev