Earlier today Sports.uz reported that Uzbek Heavyweight fighter Bakhodir Jalolov (7-0, 7) [Баҳодир Жалолов] is open to fighting as a professional again early in 2021, despite being set to compete in the Tokyo Olympics.
The 6'7" Jalolov, one of the favourites to take home gold at the belated Tokyo games, is reported training in the US at the moment and explained to the Sports.Uz that if a bout is organised, he would fight.
Of course things aren't that simple, and Jalolov did explain that the bout would likely need to take place in either the US or in Mexico, and that there was no clear plan or a scheduled bout currently in the works. He's open to fighting, if given the opportunity, but it seems very much like the Olympics is his key focus.
With that in mind we suspect that if Jalolov does indeed fight as a professional before the Olympics it would be against a very low level opponent, and would be fought as a warm up bout prior to the games, rather than as an actual test. If that happens we would expect him to face someone similar to Wilfredo Leal, who he blasted out in a round back in December, rather than someone who poses any qustions at all.
Earlier today Vesti reported that the next bout for unbeaten Kazakh Heavyweight hopeful Zhan Kossobutskiy (14-0, 13) [Жан Кособуцкий] had been decided.
The 32 year old Kossobutskiy, who scored two wins last year including a notable one against Kamil Sokolowski, is now scheduled to return to the ring on February 20th at the Universum Gym in Hamburg.
The heavy handed Kazakh fighter will be up against 38 year old Czech Pavel Sour (13-3, 8), in a bout for the WBA International Heavyweight title.
The unbeaten Kossobutskiy has been quietly building a decent record since his 2017 debut. Despite not scoring any massive wins he has beaten the likes of Osborn Machimana, Argron Smakici and the aforementioned Sokolowski and has been slowly climbing towards a world ranking.
Sour on the other hand has been padding his record at home, and losing almost every time he has left the Czech Republic. This has seen him suffer losses to Filip Hrgovic, Jermaine Franklin and Hughie Fury, with Hrgovic stopping him in a round back in 2017.
On paper this looks "okay" as a fight but in reality we suspect it'll be little more than a blow out win for the Kazakh who, with the WBA "International" title would likely break into the WBA top 15.
The last 24 hours or so have been torrid ones for DAZN.
Firstly there was reports of a positive drug test for former multi-time Light Heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev (34-4-1, 29). That test will likely force a cancellation of a planned January 30th bout against fast rising Uzbek Bektemir Melikuziev (6-0, 5) [Бектемир Мелиқўзиев]. This was supposed to be DAZN's big bout to end a relatively action-free January.
Although not officially, yet, it's expected this bout, and the subsequent show, may be scrapped on very short notice due to Kovalev's test.
Soon after that it was reported that a scheduled February 13th bout, between IBF Super Featherweight champion Joseph "Jojo" Diaz (31-1, 15) and Tajik challenger Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov (15-0, 12) [Шавкатджон Рахимов] is now also off.
Keith Idec, reporting for Boxingscene, reported that the Rakhimov tested positive for Covid19 forcing him to be pulled from the show, and have his shot at the IBF title delayed.
At the moment it's unclear if Diaz will face a short notice opponent, with former Diaz foe Tevin Farmer (30-5-1-1, 6) throwing his name in to the hat for a rematch, or whether the focus will be on rescheduling the mandatory for Spring.
This bout has been a long saga, already fuelled by legal issues and a lengthy wait for Rakhimov. The unbeaten Russian based Tajik won an eliminator in September 2019, when he stopped Azinga Fuzile in south Africa, before accusations that he had used illegal substance, including smelling salts. There was a challenge to his position as the mandatory challenger due to the issues regarding the substances.
There was also further complicated by Diaz and Farmer having a rematch clause in their contract for their first bout, in 2019. A clause that Farmer's team tried to enforce.
Yesterday Richard Damerell, writing for Sky Sports, reported on the future of the future of the Female Super Featherweight division, and the on going attempts to get all 4 world champions to unify their titles.
In that article were quotes from Stefy Bull, the manager and trainer of WBC champion Teri Harper (11-0-1, 6) ,explaining where they were at, and it appears that Harper's next bout will be one of 3 planned unification bouts for the division.
According to Bull's quotes a bout has been agreed with Korean fighter Hyun Mi Choi (18-0-1, 4) [최현미], with bull explaining:
"We did agree terms for the WBA champion Choi. As far as we believe, we have got the unification with Choi who is a very good champion."
It should be noted however that former Harper foe Natasha Jonas (9-1-1, 7) may be looking to throw a spanner in to the works and try to get the WBC to order a mandatory between herself and Harper, following their thrilling 2020 draw.
If the bout between Choi and Harper goes ahead it will be one of three unification bouts planned for the division, with IBF champion Maiva Hamadouche (22-1, 18) said to be in talks with WBO champion Mikaela Mayer (14-0, 5). If both bouts go ahead the plan will be for the champions to clash in the future.
Of course, and as we all know, plans in boxing rarely go ahead in the way every one hopes, and we wouldn't be surprised if there is at least one or two stumbles on the way to an undisputed champion here. However we do like the plan and there does seem to be a genuine effort from Eddie Hearn, who promotes 3 of the 4 fighters, of getting this all sorted.
tomorrow at Korakuen Hall we'll see OPBF Welterweight champion Riku Nagahama (12-2-1, 4) [長濱 陸] defending his belt against the hard hitting challenger Ryota Toyoshima (12-2-1, 8) [豊嶋亮太]. For fans not able to make it to the venue, the bout will also be available on CS channel G+ as part of their long running Dynamic Glove series.
Today, ahead of their bout, the two men took part in their weigh in and both fighters came in well under the limit.
The champion came in around 145.7lbs, more than 1lb under the divisional limit. He explained that he did lose a little more than usual, just in case. In regards to his preparation he explained that this was the first time he had done 12 rounds of sparring in a day, and it seems the focus was on his stamina and work rate.
For the champion the bout will be his first defense following his title win in February 2020 against Kudura Kaneko, in what was regarded as a small upset.
Toyoshima, sporting pink hair, on the other hand was around 146.2lbs, close to 1lb under the limit.
The challenger went on to explain that this was the best condition he had been in, despite taking 16 months out of the ring, in part due to a dislocation he suffered in his hand in his last fight. To prepare he was training with Jorge Linares, and it seems the focus was on using Linares' experience to help develop Toyoshima's understanding of the ring and variety of attacks.
For those wanting to tune in to the event on TV, or attending in person, please be aware the event will begin earlier than usual due to the new state of emergency declared in Tokyo Metropolitan region and 3 surrounding Prefectures. With this in mind, fans watching via iSakura will need to order earlier than usual, especially given that typical iSakura orders are taking around 12 hours to process at the moment.
Preview - Potential thriller as OPBF champion Nagahama takes on Toyoshima!
(Image courtesy of Kadoebi)
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