Beybulat Isaev promised ONE Super Series fans that speed would make the difference in his light heavyweight kickboxing bout on Friday, 29 October, and that was indeed the case.
The first round started with Isaev dancing around the Romanian, tagging him upstairs and slamming him with body shots like he was working a heavy bag. Stoica failed to find an opening and instead kept his gloves glued to his forehead as the punches ricocheted off him.
Once in a while, the “Bucharest Bad Boy” peeked his head out and flung a kick at his opponent, but Isaev scooped them up and threw them away. Stoica then managed to connect with a jumping knee – foreshadowing what was to come in round two.
In the second, Isaev returned to boxing and kept Stoica at the end of his punches, which landed rhythmically, three or four at a time. The Russian then momentarily forgot the rule set he was competing under and threw a spinning elbow, which earned him a warning from the referee.
That elbow, however, seemed to wake Stoica up. He emerged from his defensive shell and walloped Isaev with a hard right hand. Then, after backing him into the Circle Wall with more punches, Stoica launched himself into the air for a right knee, which folded the Russian and exposed his head. The debutant followed up with another right hand and sent his opponent down for an eight-count.
With just over 20 seconds remaining, Isaev stood and escaped the round.
Unfortunately for Stoica, his moment was short-lived. He failed to regain his momentum in round three and allowed Isaev to go back to his boxing. The Russian worked over the “Bucharest Bad Boy” with head and body shots, looking like he’d just started a new day of training.
Then, a mad flurry of punches from Isaev sent his foe stumbling backward. He followed this up with a combination, starting upstairs and finishing at the body, which wilted Stoica and forced him to take a knee.
The referee jumped in for an eight-count, and the Romanian made it back to his feet. However, Isaev spent the remainder of the final stanza pelting his foe with punches to secure the victory.
The unanimous decision bumped Isaev’s record to 21-5 and gives the Russian his second consecutive win on the global stage.