Last night we saw 2016 Olympic gold medal winner Fazliddin Gaibnazarov (7-1, 4) [Фазлиддин Ғоибназаров] suffer his first loss as a professional, coming up short against awkward American Mykal Fox (20-1, 5) in a 10 round bout at the Convention Center in Tucson.
The Uzbek, who was facing his biggest opponent to date, seemed to have real problems with the reach and size of Fox, who is a freakish fighter in and around the Light Welterweight division, especially in the later stages.
Despite the size issues Gaibnazarov did start well, having success in the early going and rocked Fox in round 2. He continued to press the action in the early rounds and although he never managed to hurt Fox again he looked in the ascendancy, getting inside and working away. That all came to screeching halt in round 4, when he began to get frustrated at being unable to shake his opponent for a second time, and in round 6 he was deducted a point for holding. The following round another point was taken for the same thing as referee Tony Zaino was on his case for everything.
That referee's actions had a major impact on both men. It boosted Fox's confidence and also further destroyed the rhythm of the Uzbek who looked unable to get much going in the later rounds.
The point deductions and surge from Fox proved to be too much, with Gaibnazarov losing 96-92, twice, and 95-93.
This is a massive setback for the Olympic champion whilst Fox bounces back from his first defeat, a loss to Gaibnazarov's fellow Uzbek Shohjahon Ergashev.
Later today Uzbek fighter Fazliddin Gaibnazarov (7-0, 4) [Фазлиддин Ғоибназаров] takes on his biggest test since turning professional, as he battles once beaten American Mykal Fox (19-1, 5).
Yesterday the two men took part in their weigh in, and the fighters look several weight classes apart, with the tall and slender Fox towering over the unbeaten Uzbek hopeful. In fact their was there 9" in height difference between the two men, who really have got polar opposite frames.
Gaibnazarov, who won a gold at the 2016 Olympics, 141.8lbs at the weigh in yesterday, whilst Fox was only slightly heavier, at 142lbs.
The bout, which has been contracted above the Light Welterweight limit, it expected to be a really serious test for Gaibnazarov, who will be fully aware that countryman Shohjahon Ergashev (16-0, 14) [Шохжахон Эргашев] really struggled with Fox earlier this year. Fox, although not an elite amateur like Gaibnazarov was, has proven to be a very talented youngster and could be a real banana skin here for the 2016 Olympic champion.
(Image courtesy of Mikey Williams / Top Rank)
Earlier today Olamsport reported that unbeaten Uzbek fighter Fazliddin Gaibnazarov (7-0, 4) [Фазлиддин Ғоибназаров] has had his next bout set.
We've known for a whilst that the 2016 Olympic gold medal winner was pencilled in for May 11th, as part of the Top Rank promoted ESPN card, headlined by a would title double header. What we didn't know, until today, was the the opponent that Gaibnazarov would be facing.
It's now been reported by the Uzbek site that Gaibnazarov's opponent will be once beaten American Mykal Fox (19-1, 5), who recently gave another Uzbek, Shohjahon Ergashev (16-0, 14) [Шохжахон Эргашев] ,his toughest test.
The talented Gaibnazarov will be looking to record his third straight stoppage, following early wins against against Wilberth Lopez and Ricardo Garcia, however this is a big step up for the unbeaten Uzbek. Fox on the other hand will be looking to bounce back from the loss to Ergashev, in what was a messy, hard to watch, but competitive bout.
Earlier today Fazliddin Gaibnazarov (7-0, 4) [Фазлиддин Ғоибназаров], the 2016 Olympic Gold medal winner, announced that his next fight is set to take place on May 11th, doing so over social media.
The talented Uzbek didn't reveal many details of the bout, and no opponent has yet to been confirmed for the Top Rank promoted hopeful.
Strangely his post on Instagram suggested the bout would take place in Arizona, and not California which would make more sense. This could be a simple mistake, or a hint that Top Rank have got huge plans for the day with potentially 2 different shows.
We'd expect more details on this bout in the near future, and hopefully it's a step up for the unbeaten 27 year old, who had an impressive 2018 and went 3-0 (2) and has already scored a win earlier this year.
Earlier today Uzbek sources reported that unbeaten Uzbek Welterweight contender Kudratillo Abdukakhorov (15-0, 6) [Қудратилло Абдуқаҳҳоровдан] had signed a 3 fight professional contract with American promoter Bob Arum, and his Top Rank outfit.
Given that the Uzbek has been pencilled in for an IBF Welterweight world title eliminator on March 30th in Philadelphia with Japanese puncher Keita Obara (20-3-1, 18) [小原 佳太], this promotional deal makes senses and seems to show that Arum is looking to set his fighters up for a shot at the IBF Welterweight title, which is currently held by Errol Spence.
The first fight of the deal will be the Obara bout and either the second or third bout will be the contest with the world title bout, potentially against Spence or Mikey Garcia, who challenged Spence in mid-March.
Arum has shown a willingness to sign Central Asian fighters, and Abdukakhorov joins the likes of 2016 Olympic gold medal winner Fazliddin Gaibnazarov (7-0, 4) [Фазлиддин Ғоибназаров], also from Uzbekistan.
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