Every so often a fight looks so good on paper that hardcore fans get incredibly excited. This evening we had once such fight on Showtime as talented Kazakh fighter Batyrzhan Jukembayev (18-1-0-2, 14) [Батыржан Джукембаев] faced off with heavy handed Puerto Rican Subriel Matias (17-1, 17), in what turned out to be a legitimate Fight of the Year contender, and a bout that lived up to the lofty expectations that fans had.
From the opening round this was fantastic with both men having styles and mentalities that gelled perfectly from the very opening moments. They met in center ring and both looked to dictate the tempo and range of the bout. Through the first round it was very hotly contested, but it was a round that saw the clean, smooth, powerful straight left hands from Jukembayev that caught the eye the most, but Matias landed plenty of his own, mostly in combinations which became more regular later in the round.
In round 2 Matias' pressure began to pick up, his work increased drastically, and he began to fight his fight. Jukambayev still landed plenty of his own left hands, but he was starting to be out worked, and was starting to take more than he was giving. This was something that really began to become more and more apparent in round 3, a fantastic high tempo round, but one that Matias seemed to take the lead in, with his high volume clearly making Jukembayev uncomfortable.
In round 4 the pressure finally broke through and Matias dropped Jukembayev with a left hook. He got back to his feet but it seemed like the Kazakh was going to be taken out before the round came to an end. Amazingly however Jukembayev managed to not only recover, but also fight back, and even rocked Matias in the final seconds of the round, giving us amazing 3 minutes of action that swung one way, then the other. It was a round that really needed to be watched, and showed the guts of Jukembayev, who genuinely seemed ready to go before landing his huge left hand.
Jukembayev managed to recover in his corner between rounds but rounds 6 and 7 saw Matias continue to out work, out fight, and out battle Jukembayev, who began change tactics. He tried to use his feet more, and began to try and use his right hook more. They managed to help him, somewhat, but it was round 7 that really saw Jukembayev have his biggest moment, rocking Matias to his core. Matias did what no fighter should do when hurt, and decided to just fire back and the two exchaged wild shots to the bell, giving us an incredible finish to the round. It was an amazing final 30 seconds of the round, and one that saw Matias clearly hurt at the bell.
Sadly for Jukembayev his face was starting to fall apart as we went into round 8 and despite buzzing Matias at the end of round 7, he never finished his man off. And Matias wanted revenge in round 8. The Puerto Rican pressured from the off, taking a good left hand a good right hook from Jukemabyev but pretty much walking through them as he went into terminator mode, forcing Jukembayev into the corner and letting shots go. By the end of the round it appeared Jukembayev was hurt, again, and what little momentum he had heading into round 8 was done. His face was cut, swollen and bruised, and he looked like he was running out of ideas.
Rather then his team sending him out for another round Jukembayev was, smartly, pulled from the fight. He was taking punishment, and it seemed like the pressure was taking a real toll on him. The longer it was going the more and more punishment he was going to take and to be fair to his team, it was the right decision to pull him. Especially with his face swelling in the way it did and with the punishment he was taking. It was an anti-climactic ending to the bout but it was the correct call by his team.
Tonight in Carson, California, we'll see unbeaten Kazakh fighter Batyrzhan Jukembayev (18-0-0-2, 14) [Батыржан Джукембаев] take on once beaten Puerto Rican Subriel Matias (16-1, 16) in a mouth watering match up. The bout is one, of many, fantastic matchups taking place later today and is one the true 50-50 style bouts. Not just on paper, but also with the bookies who have struggled a lot, to split the men.
In fact the bookies have struggled so much that even they see the bout as essentially being a toss up. The best odds available on Jukembayev are events whilst the best price on Matias is 11/10. Strangely, given how close those to win odds are, the bout is a huge 22/1 to result in a draw.
It's not just the "To win" market that's interesting here but also the "Method of victory" market. The most likely result is a Matias win inside the distance, at 7/4 whilst a Jukembayev win inside the distance is a very similar 13/5. A decision win for the Kazakh is 3/1, again a very, very similar price to the other two results.
The big outlier in this market is a decision win for Matias, who is priced at 7/1 to win on the cards. A very clear outlier given the other three potential outcomes.
Given the most likely result is a TKO, for either guy, it will come as little surprise to learn that the bout is not expected to go to the final bell. In fact it's 4/7 to finish within the distance and 7/4 to go the schedule.
Later today on a PBC show we'll see unbeaten Kazakh prospect Batyrzhan Jukembayev (18-0-0-2, 14) [Батыржан Джукембаев] battle hard hitting Puerto Rican Subriel Matias (16-1, 16).
Yesterday, ahead of their bout, the two men took part in their weigh in for the contest and both men comfortably came in under the 140lb limit.
On the scales Matias was 139.6lbs, slightly lighter than Jukembayev, who was 139.8lbs.
For Matias this will be his second fight since losing a close, and hotly contested, decision to the unheralded Petros Ananyan in February 2020, and comes 4 fights after his tragic bout with Maxim Dadashev. In regards to his weight it's pretty much his typical weight, and he seems to almost always come in between 139lbs and 143lbs.
As for Jukembayev this will be a very notavle opportunity for him, as it marks his US debut and also seems him back in the ring after a 15 month lay off. The talented Kazakh is, like Matias, a relatively predictable weight, but he has come in as heavy as 144lbs in the past, albeit against an opponent who was 7lbs heavier than himself.
The winner of this will be banging right on the door of world title fight with recently crowned undisputed champion Josh Taylor, with the bout serviving as an IBF world title eliminator, albeit not a final eliminator.
Earlier today it was confirmed that Khabar TV will be airing this weekend's Light Welterweigth bout between unbeaten Kazakh hopeful Batyrzhan Jukembayev (18-0-0-2, 14) [Батыржан Джукембаев] and the hard hitting Subriel Matias (16-1, 16).
The bout, which is an IBF world title eliminator, is being held in the US on Saturday night but is scheduled to start at 8am local time in Kazakhstan on Sunday morning.
After recent events in the UK, where Josh Taylor's history making win over Jose Carlos Ramirez wasn't picked up by a single TV channel, and was only available via streaming app Fite TV, it's great to see Kazakh TV channels getting behind their fighters and letting fans watch their boxers in action. Whilst Jukembayev isn't a major star, yet, he is knocking on the door of a world title fight and if he can over-come Matias this weekend he will be within touching distance of a shot. Potentially with the aforementioned Taylor.
Notably this will be Jukembayev's US debut, and his first bout in well over a year, but fingers crossed that it won't be his last in the US and it won't take this long for him to be in the ring again next.
Earlier today MTK Global announced they had signed a deal to advise unbeaten Kazakh fighter Batyrzhan Jukembayev (18-0-0-2, 14) [Батыржан Джукембаев], who they also announce is now going to be managed by Rick Mirigian.
The world ranked Kazakh built his name as a professional with Eye of the Tiger Management in Canada, who got him into the world rankings with the IBF, WBC and WBA and seemed to have him on the verge of something big. Despite that he had been speaking about wanting to fight in the US for a while, and that seems to be the plan for his future with MTK.
In the press release to announce the signing the 29 year old Jukembayev was quoted as saying:
"I am glad to be joining forces with Rick Mirigian and a big brand like MTK Global for the the next stage of my career. I’ve had great fights so far and now I feel ready to showcase my skills on the world stage.
“I’m a crafty southpaw from Kazakhstan who is 18-0 with 14 knockouts, so I promise to give exciting fights to the fans. Follow me to see some great boxing.
“I’ve come to America to fight the best. I’m confident that with my team and MTK Global behind me we will get a title shot soon.”
It seems that it's not just the fighter with big plans as his new manager, Rick Mirigian also quoted in the press release, stating:
“Batyr has flown under the radar but at 18-0 with 14 KOs and ranked in the top 10 across the board at 140lbs, his time has come for the big stage.
“He now lives in the USA, trains with coach Manny Robles, has MTK Global on board as his advisors and I look forward to working with them all, and with Camille and Eye of The Tiger who developed him and have done an incredible job to secure him some big fights soon.
“I think we have a possible Triple GGG here on our hands in the future.”
Interestingly it appears from the comments by Rick Mirigian that Jukembayev will continue to work with Eye of the Tiger Management, with MTK adding to the team that are guiding the unbeaten Kazakh.
As for his next bout, it's yet to be announced, though there have been rumours that he will be on a ShoBox card at some point in 2021. That would be the ideal way for Jukembayev to announce himself to a US audience.
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