AFTER walking into the Exhibition and Conference Centre in Aberdeen flying the flag for Scottish boxing, LEE MCALLISTER instead waved the white flag against DENIS SHAFIKOV for the European light-welterweight title.
The Aberdeen Assassin had talked up his chances of a serious upset in front of a raucous hometown crowd but he was outclassed by the fearsome Russian, before quitting on his stool in the eight round citing an injury to his left hand.
Shafikov clearly dominated throughout landing a series of highly accurate punches and constantly moving his head. Whereas McAllister remained virtually static for a large period of the fight, simply lacking the firepower to trouble the undefeated champion in any way.
McAllister, 29, who had received messages of support from Sir Alex Ferguson and Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond before the bout, did win the opening round – but that was his first and last triumph.
The champion was soon asserting himself, landing with regularity and spearing the Scot with power shots. McAllister held a clear height advantage, standing 5ft 9ins with Shafikov being only 5ft 5ins. However this advantage certainly did not worry the man nicknamed “Genghis” as McAllister was bullied around the ring and kept on the ropes.
After an increasing amount of punishment as the rounds went on, the local hero got off his stool when the bell sounded to start the eighth but then shook his head, admitting defeat and went straight to congratulate Shafikov on a comprehensive victory.
McAllister was honest about his defeat and stated that he simply could not continue.
He said: “I feel like I’ve let everyone down but I had no option but to call it quits.
“I hurt my left hand on the top of his head and after that, every time I hit him with the left I had a shooting pain up my arm.
“It’s a big disappointment to have the biggest fight of my career overshadowed by a bad hand.
“No excuses about losing because he came in and did the job. He’s a nice lad, the language barrier is a problem but we had good craic – even though he didn’t understand what I was saying!
“It wasn’t a step too far in quality – until I hurt my hand I was doing well. He has offered me a rematch so that’s good.”
Shafikov’s unbeaten record now stretches to 28 fights with McAllister only suffering his third defeat in 37 bouts. McAllister simply did not show up for this fight.
There was a lot of pressure on him to succeed in front of a partisan Aberdonian crowd and it appeared to get to him. His punches were not accurate or executed to their full ability. From this fight, Shafikov looks a fighter that could make the move up to world class with ease. His slick, accurate and downright clinical punching precision makes him a fighter to look out for in the near future.
McAllister has claimed that Shafikov has offered him a rematch in Russia but this has yet to be confirmed. This may suprise many as some might argue that the Aberdeen Assassin does not deserve one after his performance.
Nevertheless, McAllister is sure to bounce back from this fight, he’s a confident and undoubtebly skilled fighter with a happy-go-lucky attitude but his pride and his country’s pride have been dented and the Granite City faces another wait for a champion.