The fast rising Israil Madrimov (4-0, 4) [Исроил Мадримов] continued his reign as the WBA Inter-Continental Light Middleweight champion as stopped Mexican challenger Alejandro Barrera (29-6, 18) in the 5th round
From the opening round it was clear Barrera was in the ring to make a fight of things, but was dropped in the opening minute with a leaping left hook from Madrimov. Barrera's will to fight saw him get to his feet, but his lack of skills, compared to Madrimov, were evident as he repeatedly over committed to shots, and looked off balance when he was throwing. Not only was Barrera off balance a lot in the opening round but he was taking body shots as he left himself open and as Madrimov applied smart and consistent pressure.
In round 2 Madrimov momentarily switched to southpaw, and showed more to his boxing than the pressure style of the opening round. Despite showing more it wasn't particularly effective work with the Uzbek moving more than he needed to and letting Barrera ease his way back in to things without taking too much damage. Thankfully Madrimov did begin to amp up the aggression more in round 3, though did make mistakes as he wildly threw some reckless shots.
As the fight progressed Madrimov turned up the pressure, and began to catch Barrera more frequently as the Uzbek began to move through the gears. He was beginning to break down the Mexican and as his output began to increase Madrimov began to really squeeze the fight out of Barrera. The referee saw what was happening and with around 20 seconds of round 5 left he stepped in and saved the tough, but over-matched, Mexican.
In the end Madrimov got the stoppage he wanted, becoming only the second fighter to stop Barrera, but it very much felt like he wasn't fighting to his potential. Instead of showing what he could do it seemed like he was taking risks to try and put on a show. We suspect that when he steps up the recklessness will vanish, and we'd go as far to say some of it is boredom.
Barrera showed he was tough, but was completely over matched, and it will take someone much better than him to get the best out of Madrimov.
WBA Inter-Continental Light Middleweight champion Israil Madrimov (3-0, 3) [Исроил Мадримов] will be defending his title later today as he takes on rugged Mexican challenger Alejandro Barrera (29-5, 18) at the legendary Madison Square Garden. Despite only fighting his 4th professional bout Madrimov has already built up a serious reputation as an incredible fighter with huge potential, and many fans are already tipping him to be a future world champion.
The reputation of Madrimov shows in the odds for the fight, with UK book makers making the unbeaten Uzbek an almost unbackable favourite to keep ahold of his gold, with odds of 1/25 on a win, by any method. The upset has been priced at a huge 22/1, with Barrera being given next to no chance against Madrimov. The draw, for those interested, is a huge 37/1.
What's more interesting than the "To Win" market for this fight is the method of victory market, which is where we see much more insight into how the bookies see the fight going.
Madrimov is priced at 1/6 to become only the second man to take out Bareera, who was stopped by current unified Welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. As for the decision, Madrimov is 9/2 to take his first victory on the score-cards. The upset KO win for Barrera is best priced at 25/1, and would be regarded as a genuine shocked, though a decision for Barrera is even higher priced, at 66/1.
Unsurprisingly the bout isn't expected to go the distance, and it's 1/6 to be stopped inside 12 rounds and 5/1 to go the distance. The general view with the UK bookmakers is that the Mexican will survive to around the mid way point, with the over/under on 5.5 rounds being the interesting one. Over 5.5 rounds is 4/5 whilst under is 10/11.
Later today we'll see fast rising Uzbek Light Middleweight Israil Madrimov (3-0, 3) [Исроил Мадримов] look for his 4th early win as he takes on Alejandro Barrera (29-5, 18), in what will be a WBA Inter-Continental Light Middleweight title defense for Madrimov.
Yesterday the two fighters took part in their weigh in for the contest and both men made weight for the bout with no issues, in fact both came in very comfortably under the 154lb limit, and both looked in fantastic shape.
The unbeaten Uzbek was 153.4lbs whilst Barrrera was 152.6lbs.
On paper this looks like it could be Madrimov's biggest test to date, as he goes up against a relatively rugged Mexican who has only been stopped once in 34 fights, though he has lost 3 of his last 4 and has mostly campaigned at Welterweight. Whilst we do see this as a test for Madrimov it is one we expect he'll pass without too many issues as he continues his fast ascent to a world title fight.
The rise of the Uzbek boxing scene has been relatively remarkable in recent years, The success the country had in the most recent Olympics was incredible and they went from claiming 6 combined medals in 4 Olympics, 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012, to dominating the Rio games in 2016, with 7 medals including 3 golds.
That amateur success has given their fighters a lot of impetus in the professional ranks where real attention is being given to fighters like Murodjon Akhmadaliev (7-0, 6) [Ахмадалиев, Муроджон Кахарович] and the fast rising Israil Madrimov (3-0, 3) [Исроил Мадримов]. Whilst the top Uzbek fighters are now making a name for themselves in the US it is worth noting their is real interest in their careers back home, and today it was confirmed that Madrimov's next bout will be shown live in Uzbekistan.
The "Спорт ТВ" (Sport TV) channel in Uzbekistan will broadcast Madrimov's next bout live from 6am this coming Saturday. "The Dream" will be up against Alejandro Barrera (29-5, 18), and whilst this is expected to be another win for Madrimov it should be at least an interesting test given Barrera has only been stopped once in his 34 fight career.
Of course for those not in Uzbekistan there are other outlets showing the fight, with DAZN in the US expected to be carrying the fight as part of their card on Saturday night.
(Image courtesy of Olamsport)
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.
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