Over the last few years it's been getting harder and harder and harder to define what a prospect is. The fact fighters like Naoya Inoue and Kosei Tanaka having been able to win world titles after just a handful of fights have meant we can't just consider someone a prospect due to have a lot of talent and not many fights. In fact a lot of the truly tremendous amateur stand outs seem to be rushing from novice to contender in double quick time. A great example of that is Murodjon Akhmadaliev, who debuted in March and is already in line for a WBA title fight.
As a result when we looked for our Prospect of the Year we decided that if a fighter was world ranked, by any of the 4 major world organisations, they weren't to be classed as a prospect. This rules out Akhmadaliev, who is ranked #1 by the WBA, along with fellow Uzbek's Shakhram Giyasov and Shohjahon Ergashev and the likes of Junto Nakatani and Carl Jammes Martin.
What we were left with was a lot of fighters, though one that really caught our eye a lot in 2018 was 20 year old Uzbek Light Middleweight Ulugbek Sobirov. Sobirov isn't a fighter who got a lot of attention by the boxing press in 2018 despite having a genuinely amazing year. He was busy and went 9-0 (5) during the year, with 5 wins over opponents with winning records, as well as well travelled, with fights in Uzbekistan, India, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand. Given his young age, his high level of activity, his willingness to travel to his opponents back yard and his controlled performances he's our prospect of the year and one of the men we suggest actively following in 2019. He's not got the flair of some of his countryman, or the attention that others have gotten but he has had a fantastic year!
Earlier today we were informed that Uzbek teenager Ulugbek Sobirov (8-0, 5) [Ulug‘bek Sobirov] would be back in the ring on October 21st, as he continues to climb through the rankings and make a name for himself.
The youngster, who only made his professional debut in this past January, will be up against experienced Indonesian veteran Stevie Ongen Ferdinandus (27-16-1-1, 14) in a bout held in Malaysia this coming weekend.
Very limited details have been given to us about the rest of the card, though we are excited to see Sobirov continue his active schedule and take a bit of a step up. We say a bit of a step up as it's hard to really know what Ferdinandus offers right now following an embarrassing performance in August against Tim Tszyu,
There are some rumours that this may be for some minor regional title, though at the moment that's yet to be confirmed to ourselves, though it's clear that Sobirov is likely to be wanting to fight for belts sooner rather than later.
Uzbek teenager Ulugbek Sobirov (8-0, 5) [Ulug‘bek Sobirov] continued his unbeaten run yesterday, as he took a technical decision win over Filipino veteran Dondon Sultan (20-24-3, 11) in Cotabato del Sur, Philippines.
The two fighters clashed heads in the opening round, leaving Sultan with a cut that worsened through the fight causing the technical decision in the 5th round of the scheduled 10 round contest. Prior to the bouts conclusion Sultan had also been deducted a point, due to excessive holding.
Sources from Uzbekistan informed us that the 19 year old Sobirov had began to look frustrated before the finish, and he was obviously unhappy about the survival tactics of Sultan, who was holding and spoiling. Despite that he will be happy with the victory, 8th of the year, even if it did end a 4 fight stoppage run for the unbeaten youngster.
For Sultan this loss ends a 2-fight swinning run, but it is his 8th loss in 10 bouts.
(Image courtesy of sports.uz)
Earlier today in Malaysia fight fans had the chance tosee a small, but notable, card at the "One City Grand Ballroom". Although the card wasn't a big one it did feature 4 very promising and unbeaten Uzbek fighters, who all picked up wins and all moved one step closer to bigger, and better, things.
The youngest was 19 year old Ulugbek Sobirov (4-0, 2), who needed just 74 seconds to see off Tanzania's Hamis Mwakinyo (12-7-1, 9). Coming in to this Mwakinyo had been stopped 4 times, including by a debutant in 2013, to this result doesn't really us much about Sobirov, but at 19 years old he is a promising youngster and, on paper at least, this was a step up for him.
Another youngster picking up a quick win was 21 year old Jasur Akhmadjanov (4-0, 3), who took a huge step up in class to defeat former world title challenger Roy Mukhlis (29-8-3, 22). The Uzbek was fighting outside of Tashkent for the first time and scored a 2nd round KO over the Indonesian veteran, who has now been stopped 7 times in 40 bouts. Mukhlis was one of man who challenged Takashi Uchiyama during "KO Dynamite's" WBA world title reign, since losing in 5 to Uchiyama we've seen Mukhlis go 6-5-1, with this being the quickest of those defeats.
Talented Super Middleweight hopeful Azizbek Abdugofurov (10-0, 4) continued his rise here as he out-pointed Alfonso Tissen (10-2-2, 5) in an 8 rounder. The score cards for this bout were 79-73, 78-74 and 77-75 for Abdugofurov who we would expect to see fighting in bigger and better fights shortly, especially given that he scored better wins than this one last year, when he defeated Sirimongkol Singwancha and Martin Fidel Rios.
The other Uzbek was Kudratillo Abdukakhorov (14-0, 9), who retained the World Boxing Council Silver Welterweight Title with a 12 round decision win over Laszlo Toth (25-4-1, 17). The 24 year old Abdukakhorov was deducted a point under the WBC's accidental foul rule, but was still the clear winner, with scores of 118-109, 117-110 and 116-111 to record his second defense of the title and move towards a potential world title fight.
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