Through the last few hours we've been lucky enough to tune in to an incredibly long Russian show that featured a handful of Asian fighters.
One of those was Bakhodur Usmonov (2-0), who saw make a successful professional debut last year against Vildan Minasov. He was in action against Kazakh fighter Bektas Kassenay (4-1, 1) and took his second professional win.
From the off Usmonov looked much better here than he had in his debut. He was in charge from the start, and was applying the pressure round after round, letting shots go, whilst Kassenay was forced to slip shots and try to counter. Credit goes to Kassenay for fighting back, and trying to respond to everything, but he was on the wrong end of the vast majority of clean shots for 6 rounds. He gave a true effort but was second best to the unbeaten Tajik.
Things weren't as good for the under-sized Azeri fighter Elvin Akhundzada (4-6, 2), who was stopped by unbeaten Russian hopeful Vladimir Mironchikov (3-0, 3) . The 34 year old Akhundzada was giving away significant weight and he looked visibly smaller than Mironchikov, with everything he landed bouncing off the unbeaten Russian. Late in the opening round Akhundzada was dropped from a body shot and whilst he did see out the opening 3 minutes he didn't get out of his corner to begin round 2.
The most notable of the central Asian fighters on this card was Uzbek contender Azizbek Abdugofurov (13-1, 5) [Азизбек Абдуғофуров], who competed in the chief support bout of the show. In the opposite corner to Abdugofurov was brilliant Russian prospect Pavel Silyagin (7-0, 4), who should absolute class to give Abdugofurov his first professional loss.
From the opening round Silyagin was in control, he was too quick, too skilled, too versatile and smart for the slow footed pressure of Abdugofurov, who had moments but nothing too sustained. From round 1 to round 7 the bout was all Silyagin's, as he bloodied Abdugofurov's nose and hurt him several times. Credit however to Abdugofurov who refused to just roll over and take a loss, and in round Abdugofurov rocked Silyagin, giving the bout some real drama. It seemed that there was set to be a momentum shift towards Abdugofurov who came out for the next round looking hungry.
Sadly for Abdugofurov he failed to build on his big moment, and in round 9 Silyagin had resumed resumed control of the action, with his boxing at and punching on the move. That control of Silyagin's never let up to the final bell, and he really put on a brilliant show case of boxing skills.
After 12 rounds it was clear that Silyagin had schooled Abdugofurov, and the scores reflected that, with Silyagin get the nodge on the judges with scores of 120-108, 119-109 and 119-109. With the win he claimed the WBC Silver Super Middleweigth title and made a genuine statement. As for Abdugofurov this is not the result he would have wanted after a disappointing run in his career that saw him out of the ring for 18 months.
It's fair to say that Uzbek Super Middleweight hopeful Azizbek Abdugofurov (13-0, 5) [Азизбек Абдуғофуров] has lost all the momentum his career once had. At one point the unbeaten Abdugofurov was on the verge of a world title fight, and seemed set for a shot at the WBC Super Middleweight title, though since then he has been horribly inactive and issues out of the ring have killed those world title dreams, for now.
Whilst Covid19 affected every fighter in 2020 many fighters still managed to squeeze fights in. That wasn't the case for Abdugofurov who has now been out of the ring since August 2019, when he stopped Gasan Gasanov. During that team he linked up with British promoted Frank Warren and then left Warren, who failed to secure Abdugofurov any fights.
Thankfully the wait for Abdugofurov's return to the ring finally seems to be over, with various sources now reporting that he is scheduled to fight in Moscow on March 20th where he will defend his WBC Silver Super Middleweight title. In the opposite corner to the unbeaten Uzbek will be Russian 27 year old Pavel Silyagin (6-0, 4).
Whilst we've mentioned that Abdugofurov has been inactive the same cannot be said of Silyagin, who debuted in February 2020 and ran up his first 6 wins in less than 12 months, including a notable victory over popular journeyman Siarhei Khamitski, and a win in January over Omar Garcia. Whilst certainly less experienced than Abdugofurov he doesn't appear to be a push over, or a patsie, and should be a regarded as a genuine test for the Uzbek hopeful
This bout, for those interested, will be part of the under-card for Artur Beterbiev's long delayed world title defense against Adam Deines.
Earlier today our good friend Jalol Akhmedov revealed that unbeaten Uzbek hopeful Azizbek Abdugofurov (13-0, 5) is now set to return to the ring in late February, for a fight against a yet to be named opponent.
The world ranked Super Middleweight, who is still only 28, was supposed to have a major fight in 2020, after signing with Frank Warren and Queensberry Promotion. Sadly 2020 happened and as a result "AAA" never actually fought, and he's now been out of the ring since August 2019, when he beat Gasan Gasanov.
After that win he was very highly ranked by the WBC and seemed destined for a shot at a belt. Sadly he has started to slip down the rankings, but it still well within their top 10 and could well climb into a potential mandatory position by the end of the year.
Jalol has also reported that Abdugofurov has now left Queensberry Promotions, and is currently a free agent. The plan is to sign with Vladimir Promotions, and it seems clear that the hope is to get some momentum back in his career after what has been a year wasted of his prime.
Given no opponent has been named for the February bout we're not expecting that to be a tough one, but hopefully a busy year will see Abdugofurov face off with at least one or two notable opponents and build on his 2018 win over Dmitrii Chudinov, and his 2017 wins over Martin Fidel Rios and Sirimongkol Singwancha.
Note - The date in Jalol's tweet is assumed to be wrong, as 2021 isn't a leap year and there will be a February 29th this year.
Tomorrow in Russia we'll see unbeaten Uzbek hopeful Azizbek Abdugofurov (12-0, 4) compete in his next bout, and on paper it's his toughest test yet. By quite a bit.
The unbeaten, and well regarded, Uzbek Super Middleweight, who currently holds the WBC Silver Super Middleweight champion, will be stepping up to face Russian fighter Gasan Gasanov (16-8-1, 13), in what is essentially a Cruiserweight bout.
From what we understand Abdugofurov was originally lined up to face Andrey Sirotkin (16-1, 5) but at late notice Sirotkin was replaced by Gasanov, who typically fights at Light Heavyweight.
On the scales earlier today Abdugofurov was 175¾lbs, well above his typical fighting weight of 168lbs. Even though he came in "over" his typical weight he was still dwarfed by Gasanov, who towered over him. The Russian hit the scales at a career high of 184½lbs.
Although Abdugofurov will still be strongly favoured giving away so much weight could be a problem here, and it certainly seems like a dangerous bout to take, regardless of how little note Gasonov had for the bout.
(Image courtesy of Olamsport)
Earlier today fight fans in the Philippines saw the unbeaten Uzbek hopeful Azizbek Abdugofurov (12-0, 4) successfully retain the WBC Silver Super Middleweight title, as he defeated Chinese puncher Wuzhati Nuerlang (11-2, 9).
Details of the bout are scarce however our Uzbek sources have informed us that the unbeaten Uzbek was comfortably in control of the bout, as he ran out the clear decision winner. That was despite a brave performance from the Chinese youngster.
After 12 rounds Abdugofurov took the decision with scores of 117-111, 118-111 and 117-110.
In theory the win moves Abdugofurov a step closer to a world title fight, though in reality he's relatively far down the queue for a WBC title fight, and we'd be very surprised to see him getting a shot in 2019. As for Nuerlang we suspect he'll return to China and eventually work his way back into a fight around this level, and at 22 years old he still has a bright future.
(Image courtesy of Sports.uz)
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