Ismail Sillakh looked very strong last night in defeating former Cuban amateur star Yordanis Despaigne. Sillakh dropped his foe with a beautiful right hand/left hook combination. He works well off the jab, features an accurate, straight right hand (though not necessarily powerful), and throws sneaky left hooks and occasional looping right hands. I was very impressed with his poise and his ability to place punches. His amateur pedigree and ring generalship suggest experience well beyond his 15 professional fights.
Sillakh earned the victory by a wide decision. Despaigne was able to hurt him in the fifth round last night but Sillakh rebounded with his excellent conditioning and boxing skills.
After the fight, the ESPN2 broadcasters stated that with the win, Sillakh should be placed in the upper tier of light heavyweights, behind only Hopkins, Cloud, Pascal, Dawson and Glen Johnson. I think that's a little hyperbolic at this point. Let's see how he holds up to a pressure fighter or someone that has more tactical weapons than a looping right hand.
The light heavyweight division features a lot of strong, quality boxers. Sillakh needs to beat a tough guy like titlist Beibut Shumenov, Adrian Diaconu, Chris Henry or a master boxer like Zsolt Erdei before reaching the top tier of the division.
At this stage, Sillakh has many tools and is clearly one to watch in the division. It was an excellent performance but let's not anoint him just yet.