From tweets posted by Steve Kim (@StevESPNKim) yesterday we may be set to see two very highly regarded Uzbek hopefuls in action in July on DAZN as both men look to continue their perfect starts and move towards big bouts by the end of the year.
The first of those would be Bektemir Melikuziev (1-0, 1) [Бектемир Мелиқўзиев] who recently took out Argentinian veteran Martin Fidel Rios (23-20-4, 13) inside a round with a debilitating body shot. He is looking like he could be in action on July 18th, as per Kim's tweet, on the a Golden Boy card. At the moment little has been confirmed for this show, which will take place at the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California, though Melikuziev would be a brilliant addition.
The 23 year old "Bek Bully" was a true amateur star taking medals at the Olympics, World Amateur Championships, Asian Championships, Uzbek national Championships and the youth versions of the Olympics, World and Asian Championships. Given how promoter World of Boxing are pushing their Uzbek fighters we would expect a notable opponent if he is indeed on this July card.
The second fighter being spoken about for a July date is Light Middleweight Israil Madrimov (3-0, 3) [Исроил Мадримов], who could be in action just 9 days later on July 27th. The talented Madrimov is already in the world rankings, and has been on the fast track since his debut, which came in a 10 round bout. The talk circulating around Madrimov is that he could be in a huge bout by the end of the year, and this July bout could be one final gate keeper type contest for the incredibly talented, exciting and confident 24 year old.
The July date would see Madrimov added to a card headlined by a Light Welterweight unification bout between Jose Carlos Ramirez and Maurice Hooker in Arlington, Texas. It should be noted however that there's a chance that Madrimov's may slip to August to fill up a different undercard a week or two later.
Unbeaten Uzbek contender Israil Madrimov (3-0, 3) [Исроил Мадримов]continued the impressive start to his professional career as he stopped Mexican veteran Norberto Gonzalez (24-13, 13), becoming only the third man to stop the Mexican.
From the off it seemed like Madrimov was after a stoppage, but knew it wasn't going to come easily and instead of being rash looking for it he was smart, applying intelligent pressure and landing solid combinations to break down the resistance of Gonzalez.
By round 4 the pressure and consistency from Madrimov was really starting take it's toll and Gonzalez was beginning to rely more and more on his toughness, rather than his defense. Madrimov, by then, was having a lot of fun, showcasing more and more of his arsenal against a progressively more negative Gonzalez.
Round 5 was a particularly painful one for Gonzalez, who took a lot of punishment. His corner seemed to consider pulling him out of the bout, but instead allowed him out for round 6. It was as if the corner wanted to allow Gonzalez to go out on his shield, and that's what he did, with Madrimov unloading to the head and body of the Mexican until the referee stepped in and stopped the beating.
Gonzalez, despite being 38, showed he was slippery early on, but was simply broken down by the pressure and relentless offensive work of Madrimov who really does look ready to fight at the very top of the sport rather than facing off with more veterans like Gonzalez.
Tomorrow we'll see former Middleweight king Gennady Golovkin (38-1-1, 34) return to the ring for the first time since his loss Saul "Canelo" Alvarez last year. The Kazakh, who will be fighting under the guidance of Johnathon Banks, will be up against unbeaten Canadian Steve Rolls (19-0, 10) in a bout being fought slightly above the Middleweight limit.
A few hours ago the two men took part in their weigh in, and both men looked in great shape.
Golovkin hit the scales at 163lbs, a career high and the first time he's come in over 160lbs since his 2008 win over Malik Dziarra. Rolls was a touch heavier, at 163.75lbs, but still lighter than he has been in some recent bouts.
Of course it's worth noting that Golovkin isn't the only Asian fighter on this show, in fact there are two other Kazakh's and Uzbek, all of whom are unbeaten and in interesting bouts.
One of those is Bakhtiyar Eyubov (14-0-1, 12) [Бахтияр Эюбов] Brian Ceballo (8-0, 4). On the scales Eyubov was 148lbs whilst Ceballo was 147.5lbs, for the bout being fought just above the Welterweight limit. The other Kazakh is Ali Akhmedov (14-0, 10) [Али Ахмедов], who takes on who faces Marcus McDaniel (15-0, 2) in a bout for the WBC International Silver Super Middleweight title. On the scales Akhmedov was 167.5lbs whilst McDaniel was bang on the Super Middleweight limit of 168lbs.
The other Asian on this card is fast rising Uzbek Israil Madrimov (2-0, 2) [Исроил Мадримов], who takes on Mexican veteran Norberto Gonzalez (23-12,13). Madrimov hit the scales at 153.25lbs whilst Gonzalez was slightly lighter at 152.75lbs.
Since making is professional debut last November Israil Madrimov (2-0, 2 [Исроил Мадримов] hasn't been able to stop himself from impressing fans. On debut, a 10 round, he showed cased confidence, a great in ring style and tough match making, before stopping Vladimir Hernandez. In his second bout he blew away Frank Rojas with one of the best KO's of the year so far.
With those wins he has quickly skipped the typical prospect status to immediately become a contender, and is already ranked #7 by the WBA at Light Middleweight, after just 2 professional bouts.
Madrimov's next contest will come on the June 8th card at Madison Square Garden, a show headlined by Gennady Golovkin (38-1-1, 34) making his ring return to take on Steve Rolls (19-0, 10), and will see the Uzbek take on Mexican veteran Norberto Gonzalez (23-12,13), in what is thought to be a 10 round bout at Middleweight.
The 37 year old Gonzalez is a great trial horse, who tends to lose to his best opponents, but rarely gets stopped. In his 35 fight career he has seen the final bell against the likes of Antwone Smith, Erickson Lubin, Kanat Islam, Esquiva Falcao, Frank Galarza and Bakhram Murtazaliev, with only Jermall Charlo and Terrell Gausha managing to stop him.
On paper this is a slight step up for Madrimov, given the competition that Gonzalez has faced, but in reality it feels more like a lateral step for the Uzbek, who should win comfortably. The only question is whether he can become the third man to stop the Mexican trial horse.
There's not been a lot of professional news out of Central Asia since the Asian Championships finished a few days a, however today we were informed of two small but notable bits of news.
Firstly unbeaten Kazakh prospect Madiyar Ashkeyev (11-0, 6) [Мадияра Ашкеева] will be back in the ring on May 23rd in a notable step up. The unbeaten Kazakh will be up against 34 year old American Cecil McCalla (21-3, 8), in what is a really good step forward for Ashkeyev. The Kazakh was least seen in action in January, beating Luis Hernandez over 10 rounds, and should be hoping to be kept busy through 2019 as he develops his skills and experience. McCalla on the other hand will be fighting for the second time since 2016. It's worth noting that he is 1-3 in his last 4, but losses have come to Chris Van Heerden, Ishe Smith and current world champion Tony Harrison, all by decisions. The American is tough and should give Ashkeyev a test.
The other thing we were informed of was that Israil Madrimov (2-0, 2) [Isroil Madrimov] has returned to the US to begin preparations for his next professional bout. The details are scarce at the moment, but he will be defending his WBA Inter-Continental Light Middleweight and the bout is expected to take place in Summer. More information on this is expected to be revealed in the coming weeks.
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