Undefeated Russian brute who knocked out Deontay Wilder as an amateur gets KO’d

Evgeny Romanov is best known for knocking out Deontay Wilder, but has now been given a taste of his own medicine.

Before he met Tyson Fury, Wilder’s last stoppage defeat came against the Russian in February 2008, when he travelled to Novosibirsk for a Russia vs USA competition.

Romanov stopped a young Wilder 13 years ago


Romanov stopped a young Wilder 13 years ago

Romanov, three months older than Wilder, was one of the Soviets’ top young heavyweights at the time, winning silver at the 2008 Russian Championships before picking up gold in 2009.

Although the pair have both fought professionally as heavyweights, they were cruiserweights when they met and competed at the 91kg (200lbs) limit.

The skinnier 6ft 7ins Wilder towered over his 6ft opponent, but the shorter, stockier man came out on top, forcing the referee to stop the contest in round three.

From the opening bell, Wilder began the bout in control and led 4-2 on the amateur point-scoring system after round one.

‘Bronze Bomber’ Deontay Wilder gets knocked out by Evgeny Romanov during amateur boxing days

In the second, Romanov had an effective answer for everything the American threw as he responded to almost every attack with swift, instant counter-punches.

At the end of the round, Wilder was forced to take a standing count after a strong right hand from the Russian cemented the turnaround and put him 10-7 up on points.

Then came the third and final round, in which Romanov followed up on his attacks and staggered Wilder with another straight right, forcing a second standing count.

This time the away fighter did not have enough time to fully recover and was subsequently smashed to the canvas by two further clean punches.

Romanov sent Wilder tumbling to the canvas


Romanov sent Wilder tumbling to the canvas

The referee decided he’d seen enough and ended the bout with less than a minute remaining.

Fast forward to 2024 and, on Saturday night, Romanov 19-0 (12 KOs) faced China’s Zhaoxin Zhang 11-2-1 (6 KOs) in a final eliminator to fight for the WBA’s new ‘super-cruiserweight’ belt.

The contest started out as expected with the home favourite getting the upper hand in Ekaterinburg, Russia.

Romanov knocked Zhang down in round one and the Chinese heavyweight only just staggered back to his feet.

However, despite the heavy knockdown, he started the second round like a man renewed.

Romanov got sloppy as they clinched against the ropes and Zhang took advantage, nailing him with a series of punches which left him face down on the canvas.

The Russian scrambled around trying to get back to his feet, but was unable to do so and counted out by the referee.

Zhang celebrated passionately and the Russian crowd were silenced.

Romanov was left face down by Zhang


Romanov was left face down by Zhang

Romanov is yet to speak out about his defeat, but regarding the Wilder fight, he reflected to RT 13 years later: “It was a long time ago. I honestly don’t think much of it.

“Wilder was different then than he is now. I was different too.

“Today’s a different time, Wilder’s at the top and I’m on my way there.

“Back then it was maybe the other way round, so I don’t want to remember or think of it.”

Asked about Wilder’s ‘weak spots’, Romanov added: “I’m not sure about weak spots but I know his legs are weak.

“As far as where to hit, I don’t know. You have to watch for that when you walk in the ring with him.

“I know that Wilder isn’t firm on his feet, you can see that when you watch him on TV.”

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