The first of 3 Central Asian fighters in action at Madison Square Garden today was the unbeaten Kazakh prospect Ali Akhmedov (16-0, 12) [Али Ахмедов] who successfully defended his WBC International Silver Super Middleweight title, with an incredibly quick win against the usually durable Andrew Hernandez (20-8-2, 9).
The aggressive and popular Kazakh dropped Hernandez after around 30 seconds, with a hard right hand around the back of the ear and although Hernandez got to his feet the bout was quickly waved off by the referee as Hernandez did seem to stumble.
Whilst Hernandez did take the bout on short notice, around 2 weeks notice, we had expected a bit more of a work out for Akhmedov, who really didn't break a sweat here. Sadly not getting much of a chance to show what he can do or answering any questions about his ability or potential.
It's unclear what the immediate plan is for Akhmedov, but there's no real reason for him to not fit in one more fight before the end of 2019, following this very quick win.
Later today unbeaten Kazakh prospect Ali Akhmedov (15-0, 11) [Али Ахмедов] will defend his WBC International Silver Super Middleweight title, with a bout against Andrew Hernandez (20-7-2, 9) at Madison Square Garden. The bout has been picked up as one that UK gamblers can bet on, though the bookies see it very much a mismatch.
The rising Kazakh is best priced at 1/33 to win whilst the challenger is available at around 33/1 if you look around on the spread betting websites, that's the same price as the draw with a number of online bookmakers.
Where the interest comes in such a perceived mismatch is the method of victory, Though here the market makes the mismatch look even more obvious, with Akhmedov inside the distance best priced at 2/7, whilst he is 9/2 to take the victory with a decision. The bookies do not expect him to face any kind of a test at all here. Hernandez by stoppage is available at 22/1 and a decision by the challenger is up there at a staggering 66/1.
Interestingly the bout is 2/7 to not go the distance, which covers not only an early Akhmedov win but also a technical draw or the the surprise Hernandez stoppage win. Whilst the fight isn't expected to last the distance, you can get 5/4 on the bout ending in the first 5 rounds and 8/5 on it ending in the second half.
Later today we'll see unbeaten Kazakh prospect Ali Akhmedov (15-0, 11) [Али Ахмедов] return for his first defense of the WBC International Silver Super Middleweight title, as he takes on Andrew Hernandez (20-7-2, 9) at Madison Square Garden.
Yesterday evening the two men took part in their weigh in, and both men made the 168lb limit, though did so very differently.
On the scales a strong and powerful Akhmedov was 167.2lbs, and he looked really comfortable on the scales, having made weight with no issue at all. Things were much tough for Hernandez, who officially weighed 167.6lbs but had to strip naked and be weighed in behind a towel to make the 168lb limit.
Not only did Hernandez, the naturally smaller man, need to come in naked but he also looked a bit fleshy and like a man who could be fighting several division's lower than he is here, in fact he looked like he could have made Light Middleweight had he really tried to get into tip top shape.
Fast rising Light Middleweight Israil Madrimov (3-0, 3) [Исроил Мадримов], from Uzbekistan, has now been confirmed as one of two Central Asian fighters set to be in action in the under-card of Gennady Golovkin's (39-1-1, 35) [Геннадий Геннадьевич Головкин] IBF Middleweight title bout Sergey Derevyanchenko (13-1, 10).
The talented and hard hitting Madrimov has his opponent for the bout named as Alejandro Barrera (29-5, 18).
Whilst we are huge fans of Madrimov, and his desire to be moved quickly, we do wonder why he's facing off with the 33 year old Barrera, who has lost 3 of his last 4 and been mostly fighting at Welterweight. Whilst that alone doesn't make him a bad opponent, it needs to be said that he's not fought in over a year and is more than 2 years removed from his last win. For a fighter like Madrimov, who needs to face someone able to test him and ask questions of him, this seems too much of a mismatch to be an interesting contest, and instead looks likely to be an easy blow out win for the Uzbek.
The other Central Asian fighter set for the under-card is Ali Akhmedov (15-0, 11) [Али Ахмедов], though his opponent for a scheduled 10 round bout has yet to be announced. He's coming in on the back of good wins over the likes of Marcus McDaniel and Mike Guy, so hopefully his opponent will be someone who is more interesting on paper than Barrera.
As part of the supporting-card for the Gennady Golovkin (38-1-1, 34) Vs Steve Rolls (19-0, 10) fight we had two unbeaten Kazakh fighters in action. Despite both being being unbeaten going in they had very different results.
The first in action was Welterweight Bakhtiyar Eyubov (14-1-1, 12) [Бахтияр Эюбов] who put up a brave effort but was made to look second best against the excellent Brian Ceballo (9-0, 4).
Ceballo, one of the best prospects in the US, was too quick, too smart and too sharp for Eyubov, racking up rounds with his movement and combinations, often getting his punches off before Eyubov could respond. When Eybuov did get moments he did look dangerous, but looked too basic too often to over-come Ceballo.
The other Kazakh was Ali Akhmedov (15-0, 11) [Али Ахмедов], who destroyed the previously unbeaten Marcus McDaniel (15-1, 2). It seemed like McDaniel was put into survival mode early on, before being taken out in round 3, from a nasty combination. McDaniel got up from a knockdown but was judged unfit to continue, in what was the rigth decision and save him from further punishment.
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