Last night fight fans at the Boca Raton Hotel & Club in Florida saw a couple of unbeaten, and promising, Kazakhs in action.
The first of those was was the heavy handed Zhankhozh Turarov (21-0, 15) [Жанкош Тураров] who extended his perfect record with his first win of the year, stopping Gustavo Garibay (13-9-2, 5) at the very end of round 3. Garibay had come to win and was happy to let his hands go, but the Kazakh showed some lovely movement to slip shots and counter. Sadly for Garibay his failure to ever make an impact on Turarov showed again in round 3 before the Kazakh began to open up a but more, dropping Garibay mid way through the round. Having had his man down Turarov went for the finish and unloaded on Garibay who was shipping some solid shots whilst the referee looked closely at him. Right on the bell Garibay was dropped again, the result of a right hand on the button. He recovered to his feet and looked like he was heading to the corner whilst the referee waved the bout off.
The other Kazakh in action was Kanat Islam (24-0, 19) [Қанат Ислам], who got a genuinely decent work out against Mexican veteran Norberto Gonzalez (23-9, 13), in a bout for two regional baubles. Gonzalez brought the pressure but lacked the foot speed and movement to cope with Islam who eased himself into the bout and began push Gonzalez back with a consistent and busy jab. A clash of heads in round 4 let Gonzalez in some minor discomfort but the following round the right eye was cut, with the fighter claiming a head clash. The blood flowed freely from the cut but was handled very well by his corner. Sadly for Gonzalez he never looked capable of making a mark on the Kazakh, and was again angered by an apparent headbutt in round 8. In the final round Islam was deducted a point, for using the elbow, but by then it was clear Gonzalez was going to need a KO to claim a victory, and he had never looked like he was going to get one.
The scores were announced after the 12th round, and there was no surprise when Islam was announced as the winner.
Sources in both Mexico and in Kazakhstan have began to report that unbeaten Kazakh Kanat Islam (22-0, 18) [қанат ислам] is likely to be the next opponent of Mexican superstar Saul "Canelo" Alvarez (48-1-1, 34).
The story seems to be that Canelo's team have began talks with Islam's team about staging a bout on May 6th at the Cowboys stadium in Dallas, with the Mexican expected to defend his WBO Light Middleweight title in the bout.
If the contest does take place, as speculated, it would raise the profile of Alvarez in Kazakhstan ahead of a potential showdown with Gennady Golovkin (36-0, 33) [Геннадий Геннадьевич Головкин], and add another sub story to that long awaited clash, which some specualte could be the big bout this coming September.
The unbeaten Islam is a 32 year old Chinese born American based fighter who has Kazakh nationality, and fought his Kazakh debut last year. Although he has a punchers reputation he was a talented amateur claiming medals at the 2008 Beijing games, the 2007 World amateur Champions and the 2006 Asian Games. For him this would be a huge step up in class, and a chance to finally prove himself as a top class professional, though he would be the big under-dog against Alvarez.
For Alvarez the bout would be his first defense of the WBO 154lb title and a chance to showcase his talents in front of a huge audience whilst making the most of a massive Mexican holiday. He would obviously be the favourite and many would instantly be calling for him to face the Golovkin as soon as he saw off Islam.
At the moment there bout is said to be in talks, though sources have suggested the bout is looking likely to be complete in the coming day.
At the moment Kazakh boxing is certainly in an interesting phase with Gennady Golovkin and Biebut Shumenov leading the way whilst prospects and contenders such as Zhankhozh Turarov and Zhanibek Alimkhanuly begin to make a mark on the professional scene. Arguably the country's #3 fighter at the moment is Kanat Islam (22-0, 18) [Канат Ислам] who made his first professional outing in Kazakhstan earlier this weekend, when he took on Ghana's Patrick Allotey (34-3, 28), who had been stopped in his last two bouts away from home.
On paper the bout looked like a probably stoppage win for Islam, who had a reputation as a heavy handed fighter, boating 18 stoppages from 21 previous bouts, especially when you consider that Allotey's losses were both by stoppage. Instead however the bout went the distance, exposing Islam's power as over-rated in many ways, and perhaps showing that he wasn't on the fast track to the top. Despite winning the bout.
From the off Islam tried to impose his will, but had to cope with with the intelligent movement of Allotey who refused to stand still, giving Islam issues in terms of connecting on his foe. As the bout progressed Allotey's movement slowed and Islam managed to get into range more consistently, landing copious shots to the body, and hip, of the African visitor. The shots to the hip looked accidentally, and were partly caused by the high trunks of Allotey, but they were effective from a gameplan point of view in slowing Allotey's movement and making him a more stationary target.
Although Allotey was ellusive early his output did lack at times and it seem like he missed his chance to really build a bit of a lead before he slowed and allowed Islam to build some momentumn and land more frequently.
Although never really hurting Allotey it did seem like Islam was doing enough to impress the judges as a result he did enough to secure the win, with scorss of 116-112, twice, and 117-111 winning the vacant WBA Fedelatin and WBO Inter-Continental Ligfth Middleweight titles. Sadly though it wasn't the great performance he was wanting and it looks like a really poor result when you consider that Charles Manyuchi stopped him in 8 rounds, back in 2014, and Patrick Teixeira stopped him in 2 rounds last year, with Teixeira having a similar record to Islam at the time of facing Allotey.
Whilst some can excuse Islam's relatively tame performance by the fact he was under a lot of pressure to perform in his Kazakh debut it does seem like the sort of result that could make him more attractive to the world champions at the weight, who may not see him as the threat he once seemed. Sadly though he's looking unlikely to win a world title unless he can improve significantly from this performance.
Earlier this month we reported that Kazakh Kanat Islam (21-0, 18) [قانات يسلام / Қанат Ислам] would be returning to the ring on October 29th in Kazakhstan to face Patrick Allotey (34-2, 28). News on that bout has started reach more outlets in recent days, with sources since confirming the fact that the bout will be for the WBA "interim" Light Middleweight title.
The title would make the winner of the bout one of three WBA title holders at 154lbs, along with Super champion Erislandy Lara and Regular champion Jack Culcay and although a bout with either of those would seem unlikely for the winner there, however the winner should see new doors open up with bigger pay days and more notable names. In fact the winner may find themselves in the target lines for fighters like Demetrius Andrade, or Julian Williams.
Whilst we haven't much news about the rest of the card at the moment we were entertained by a recent training video released by Berik TV on youtube showing Islam training for the bout and it seems like he's enjoying his training with the fighter posting not only this video but also a number of pictures to his social media accounts showing him on horse back.
Kanat Islam to face Patrick Allotey on October 29th!
Earlier today we were informed by the wonderful Rian Scalia that unbeaten Kazakh Kanat Islam (21-0, 18) [قانات يسلام / Қанат Ислам] would be returning to the ring on October 29th in Almaty, Kazakhstan, where he will face big punching Ghanaian Patrick Allotey (34-2, 28).
Islam has quietly made a name for himself whilst fighting in the west, with bouts in the Dominican Republic, Ecuador and the USA. He has also claimed two regional titles, the WBA Fedecaribe and the WBA Fedelatin titles at 154lbs, and is #4 ranked by the WBA.
An interesting side note is that this will be his first professional fight in Kazakhstan.
Allotey is #13 ranked himself and has been the Ghanaian champion at Welterweight and the WBC International silver Welterweight champion. Although he holds a notable win away from home against Patrick Bogere he is probably best known for being beaten by Patrick Teixeira last year in the US.
Interestingly Kazakh sources are reporting that this will be for the WBA "interim" title.
We've included footage of both below for those who want to give the fighters a look ahead of the bout.
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