Aussie boxing fans stunned by 'KO of the year': 'That is savage'

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·Sports Editor
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Andrei Mikhailovich, pictured here sending his opponent crashing to the canvas.
Andrei Mikhailovich sent his opponent crashing to the canvas. Image: Main Event

New Zealand boxer Andrei Mikhailovich left commentators and fans in awe on Wednesday night with a ferocious KO ahead of Justis Huni's fight with Joe Goodall in Brisbane.

The Russian-born middleweight inflicted a devastating third-round knockout on Venezuelan Ernesto Espana to move to 18-0 in his career.

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Mikhailovich produced a pair of massive right hands that rocked Espana, with the referee forced to call off the fight as the Venezuelan crashed to the canvas.

It was Espana's fourth loss in a 33-fight career that has resulted in 27 knockouts.

“What a big right hand that was,” Jeff Fenech said in commentary.

“I’ve got to say one thing about Mikhailovich, he’s a great finisher. When he gets you hurt, he finishes you.”

Mikhailovich was glad to get past the tricky opponent.

“As soon as I relaxed and just backed myself - well, I always back myself - but you saw what happened, he wobbled and then there was, boom, kabam, roadrunner s***,” he said.

“This is the hammer (his right hand) and this is the left hook from hell, so you got two bombs coming in and you haven’t seen the uppercut from hell.

“You all see me as this knockout puncher but I’m a developing fighter. Regardless of what rank I am, I’m still an apprentice in my eyes.

“I believe I’m the best but I’m still with the apprentice. When I walk in the gym, believe me, I believe on the best fighter that’s ever lived to my soul of souls man, but like every day I walk in the gym and I say absolutely nothing. I shut up and I listen, and I trained my a**e off.”

Andrei Mikhailovich, pictured here knocking out Ernesto Espana with a huge right hand.
Andrei Mikhailovich knocked out Ernesto Espana with a huge right hand. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

The Russian-born Kiwi then called out Michael Zerafa in his in-ring interview.

“I want to fight who people believe are the best, I believe I’m the best, but if Zerafa’s in, let’s go man, anytime, any day, I’m ready for that,” Mikhailovich said.

“If we can have a great showdown with Zerafa, I think there’s a great fight and I think that’s like a super fight. You know, I’m the young gun coming up and he’s like seasoned vet and like there’s so many variables to that fight.

“So we need to make that.”

Justis Huni gets past Joe Goodall

Meanwhile, Huni said he knows his critics will remain after accounting for Goodall in his heavyweight boxing return.

The 23-year-old had to wait almost exactly a year since beating Paul Gallen to improve his record to 6-0 at Brisbane's Nissan Arena.

Huni picked apart his 29-year-old rival, a former sparring partner who like him medalled at the amateur world championships before turning professional.

But for all his speed, precision and smarts, it was Huni's power - or lack of it - that meant many pundits weren't confident he could handle the rejuvenated Goodall.

Justis Huni, pictured here punching Joe Goodall in their heavyweight title bout in Brisbane.
Justis Huni punches Joe Goodall in their heavyweight title bout in Brisbane. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

And despite Huni's clear victory - he won an unanimous points decision 100-90, 98-92, 98-93 - the fighter knows the knock will remain after Goodall finished on his feet.

"About the power? Not really," he said when asked if he's silenced some critics.

"But I'm still here and got my '0' (zero losses) so I'm happy."

Huni landed an incredible 194 punches in 10 two-and-a-half minute rounds to close up Goodall's left eye.

"If the right punch lands then it'll come. But I've been in the game for a long time, I'm not going out there to look for it," he said.

"I learnt that in my first couple of fights."

with AAP

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