Earlier today UZreport reported that fast rising Uzbek fighter Bektemir Melikuziev (7-0, 6) [Бектемир Мелиқўзиев] had now recieved a 4 year ban from AIBA for a doping violation, which means he'll be banned from all AIBA related competition until February 2024. He will also have all his medals and results from 2020 wiped out.
The fighter had originally tested positive Furosemide in 2018, with a second issue arising in 2019.
Olamsports spoke to Tulkin Kilichev, the coach of the Uzbek amateur team, about the situation who explained that Melikuziev hadn't actually tested positive a second time. Instead he bad failed to meet the obligations that expected of him. The coach explained that Melikuziev was unavailable on 3 occassions for a WADA drug test, including being at an airport during one of the tests when he was on route to an amateur tournament.
Olamsport also report that it's unlikely to affect Melikuziev's career, as this is an AIBA anti-doping violation, and that fighters are tested before professional bouts. As a result it's expected that his scheduled bout with former world title challenger Gabriel Rosado (25-13-1, 14) on June 19th will go ahead without any issues.
Similar Sports.uz have also spoke about the ban, and explained that it's been misinterpreted as a second positivie test. In actuality he failed to have a control test, or a random test rather than another failed test, and that this ban won't extend into his professional career, where he has been tested with every fight and passed clean with every fight.
For those curious about furosemide, it's a drug used as diuretic, and is often given to people with heart failure, liver disease, kidney disease and high blood pressure. Melikuziev reportedly took the drug during an abscence from the ring with an injury. The drug may be familiar with baseball fans as it laned Robinson Cano an 80 game suspension in 2018. It can be used as a masking agent. In boxing the chemical was found in Guillermo Jones' sample, following his bout with Denis Lebedev and forced the cancellation of their rematch, and was also found in a sample given by Heather Hardy in 2019, which resulted in Hardy having a 6 month ban.
The UZreport article, stating the ban can be read here, whilst the Olamsport article stating that it was essentially 3 missed tests, can be read here (note neither article is in English)
Earlier today Golden Boy Promotions announced the ring return of fast rising Uzbek prospect Bektemir Melikuziev (7-0, 6) [Бектемир Мелиқўзиев], who we now know will be in action on June 19th. Not only that be we also know that he will be up against former world title challenger Gabriel Rosado (25-13-1, 14) on the undercard of Jaime Munguia's bout with Maciej Sulecki, which will take place at the Don Haskins Center, in El Paso, Texas.
For the 25 year old Melikuziev the bout will be his first since beating Morgan Fitch back in February, in a hastily put together bout after Sergey Kovalev failed a drug test. On paper this is, by far, the toughest match up of his career but also a great chance to the "Bully" to prove he's as legitimate as one of the top prospects in world boxing today. In fact a win over Rosado would help establish Melikuziev as more of a contender than a prospect, and be the perfect step up as he begins the pursuit of a world title.
Although Rosado has suffered 13 losses during his career the exciting American is a fan friendly fighter who always comes to win, even when he's a huge under-dog. Not only that but he is also a multi-time world title challenger, who has challenged Gennady Golovkin and Peter Quillin in world title bouts, and has faced the likes of Alfredo Angulo, Jermell Charlo, David Lemieux, Willie Monroe Jr, Martin Murray, Maciej Sulecki and Daniel Jacobs, in his long career. Notably he was last seen losing a very close decision to Daniel Jacobs back in November, in a bout that saw Rosado come close to scoring the biggest win of his career.
Whilst Rosado is no world beater he is a legitimate opponent, in fact he's essentially a gate keeper, and a win over him still means a lot. Saying that however a stoppage over him means a significant amount more and we suspect that Melikuziev will be looking to stop him, rather than just claim a win. If he can do that it would be a huge statement but the unbeaten man from Uzbekistan has always been one who has fought like he has a point to prove, and we genuinely think that he will indeed be looking to become the 5th man to stop the now 35 year old Rosado.
Just moments ago we saw hard hitting Uzbek contender Bektemir Melikuziev (7-0, 6) [Бектемир Мелиқўзиев] return to the ring for his first bout of the 2021, and take out some frustrations as he used American 37 year old Morgan Fitch (19-5-1, 8) as a human punch bag.
Melikuziev came into the year expecting to fight Sergey Kovalev in January, before that bout ended up being cancelled after Kovalev failed a drug test. As a resulted he wanted a big name opponent but was unable to secure a big name and ended up with Fitch instead. Sadly for Fitch he ended up being on the wrong end of a pounding from the Uzbek.
The opening round saw Melikuziev being aggressive but not having too much success, as it seemed like he was trying just a little bit too hard to get to his man. In round two he began to clean up his work, and ended up really getting to Fitch, who was left with blood running from his nose by the end of the round.
In round 3 Melikuziev really began to punish Fitch who ended up in survival mode from early in the round, with Melikuziev hunting his man, battering his man and then dropping him. Credit goes to Fitch for getting up but he was dropped again soon afterwards with a shot that was a touch low. Instantly Jack Reiss waved off the bout. Although the shot was low Fitch didn't complain, likely feeling relieved that the bout was over.
Despite the bout lasting less than 3 rounds this was complete and utter domination from the "Bek Bully" who will almost certainly be hunting a bigger name later in the year as he looks to race to a world title fight.
Later today unbeaten Uzbek contender Bektemir Melikuziev (6-0, 5) [Бектемир Мелиқўзиев] will compete in his first bout of 2021. In the opposite corner to the heard hitting "Bek Bully" will be American 37 year old Morgan Fitch (19-4-1, 8), with the two men competing in a bout just above the Super Middleweight limit.
For those missing the chance to bet on fights this contest does have odds listed, an the UK bookies have, unsurprisingly, made Melikuziev an almost unbackable favourite to win. In fact the best price available on the Uzbek is 1/66. So for every £66 someone puts on, they win £1. As for odds on Fitch, he can be backed as high as 25/1 with the draw at a massive 44/1.
For those expecting better value on the "Method of Victory" market, even that's not much more tempting. A stoppage or DQ win for Melikuziev is available at 1/25, which seems the obvious outcome. A decision for Melikuziev is available at 12/1. For those looking at a Fitch win, a TKO/KO/DQ in his favour is 33/1 and a decision for Fitch is available at a truly insane 100/1.
Fans looking for value might be able to find some in the "Length of bout" market. The over/under is set at 2.5 rounds with the under priced at 4/6 and the over priced at 11/10.
Unsurprisingly the bout is not expected to go the distance. The bout is 1/25 to not reach the final bell and 12/1 to complete the schedule, something that seems highly unrealistic given Melikuziev's reputation and frustration regarding the now cancelled bout with Sergey Kovalev.
Earlier this month Dan Rafael broke the news that former multi-time Light Heavyweight world champion Sergey Kovalev (34-4-1, 29) had an adverse result in one of his VADA drug tests. It's now been reported by Rafael that it wasn't a one off adverse finding but that Kovalev has now failed two tests.
The first failure was taken on December 30th, and came back positive on January 13th, whilst the second test failure was taken on January 7th with the result coming back on January 22nd.
Even before the second test result his planned bout, scheduled for January 30th against fast rising Uzbek Bektemir Melikuziev (6-0, 5) [Бектемир Мелиқўзиев], had been cancelled.
Thankfully for fans of the "Bek Bully", they won't need to wait significantly longer for him to return to the ring with the plan now being for him to return on February 13th in a 10 round bout at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino Arena in Indio, California. His bout will be part of the under-card for the IBF Super Featherweight title bout between defending champion Joseph "Jojo" Diaz (31-1, 15) and mandatory challenger Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov (15-0, 12) [Шавкатджон Рахимов], potentially making for a great night for Central Asian fighters.
Sadly Melikuziev's opponent for the upcoming February show hasn't yet been announced.
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