On Friday in Tashkent we got a rare big show in Uzbekistan, with a world title eliminator and several top former amateur fighters in action, as well as a lot of controversy and some really good action.
Among the most notable names on the show was 2016 Olympic gold medal winner Hasanboy Dusmatov (4-0, 4), who once again showed he's a top, top prospect capable of being moved incredibly quickly, as he stopped Mexican Jose Rivas (18-13-4, 10). Rivas, who boasted notable reach and height advantages, was no match for the crisper, sharper, smarter and faster Dusmatov, who forced the Mexican to retire on his stool between rounds 4 and 5.
Another notable name in action was the highly touted Bektemir Melikuziev (8-1, 6) who bounced back from his shock loss to Gabe Rosado, by beating up Sergey Ekimov (18-4, 9), over 8 rounded. The rounds were all really 1-sided, with Ekimov doing little more than showing his toughness to survive. Ekimov was hurt numerous times, dropped in round 5, and had to rely on veteran moves to avoid having the fight pummelled out of him. After 8 rounds the scores were all clearly in favour of Melikuziev.
Another name familiar to US fans on this card was 2016 Olympic Silver medal winner Shakhram Giyasov (12-0, 9), who easily out pointed the tough, but always game, Christian Rafael Coria (29-9-2, 13). The tough Coria, who always puts in a credible effort and is one of the best "journeymen" in the sport right now, gave Giyasov a genuine test, but wasn't rewarded by the officials who saw this a near shut pout for the Uzbek.
In the main event of the show we saw a lot of controversy, was rising Uzbekistani Israil Madrimov (8-0, 6) became the first man to stop Michel Soro (35-3-1, 24), doing so in a WBA world title eliminator. This was a great fight through 8 rounds, with both men having moments, some fantastic back and forth and regular momentum shifts. Madrimov started well, before Soro came back into things, only for Madrimov to begin to take the fight on the inside and out do Soro, in what was Soro's type of fight.
Through round 9 it seemed like Madrimov was starting to get to a tiring 34 year old Soro, rocking him late in the round. He then followed up as neither he, nor referee Salvador Salva heard the bell to finish the round. The follow up attack saw Salva wave off the fight, to give Madrimov the hugely controversial TKO win.
The ending was then reviewed by officials who, unsurprisingly, didn't over-rule the referee. Interestingly the result seems set to stand, though Salva's mistake and the odd ending perhaps should have seen the men go to the scorecards, with the bout ending, quite clearly, due to an accidental foul. Despite the outcome Madrimov seemed to suggest he was willing to face Soro in a rematch, hopefully one that ends less confusingly as this one did.
Earlier today Matchroom announced their return to Uzbekistan, now set for December 17th at the Renaissance Hall in Tashkent. No only that but they almost announced that the card would be one stacked with Uzbekistani hopefuls, and feature a world title eliminator.
That world title eliminator will see Israil Madrimov (7-0, 5) [Исроил Мадримов] taking on French veteran Michel Soro (35-2-1, 24) in a WBA world title eliminator at 154lbs. On paper the bout is a major step up for Madrimov who is has looked class at times, but has also put in some frustrating and underwhelming performances in recent contests, and looks, possibly, like a man who may come un-done when fighting at a higher level. As for Soro he is a top class fighter, but at the age of 34 we do wonder if, or when, father time will begin to get to him.
Not only is the main event a great bout, but the under-card is also stacked with top Uzbek talent, featuring the likes of Shakhram Giyasov (11-0, 9) [Shahram G‘iyosov], Bektemir Melikuziev (7-1, 6) [Бектемир Мелиқўзиев], Hasanboy Dusmatov (3-0, 3) [Ҳасанбой Дўсматов] and Ikboljon Kholdarov (1-0, 1) [Иқболжон Холдоров]
Just moments ago in El Paso Texas we got an Upset of the Year and KO of the Year contender as Uzbekistani fighter Bektemir Melikuziev (7-1, 6) [Бектемир Мелиқўзиев] was taken out by former world title challenger Gabriel Rosado (26-13-1, 15) in sensational fashion!
The fight started incredibly tamely with Melikuziev applying intelligent pressure, but neither man landing anything of real note for around 100 seconds. The first real shot of note was a left from Melikuziev and soon afterwards he hurt Rosado with a body shot, which hurt the veteran. Rosado began to back off and Melikuziev could smell blood, chasing his man and then sending him down with burst of shots to the mid section. Rosado beat the count, getting up at 9 before the bell ended the round.
In rounds 2 and 3 it seemed that Melikuziev was building on his good opening round, pressing and smashing Rosado to the body. It seemed that the "Bully" was going to break down Roasdo, who looked in agony at times in round 3 whilst Melikuziev was getting more and more confident. Sadly for the Uzbekistani fighter that confidence became over-confidence and as he pressed forward he left an opening, which Rosado took with a perfectly timed over-hand right. The shot landed perfectly, and sent Melikuziev down face first with one of the most eye catching and brutal KO's of the year so far.
Tomorrow at the Don Haskins Center in El Paso, Texas, we'll see a Golden Boy Promotions featuring the heavy handed Bektemir Melikuziev (7-0, 6) [Бектемир Мелиқўзиев] taking on former world title challenger Gabriel Rosado (25-13-1, 14) in a bout for the WBO International and WBA Continental Americas Super Middleweight titles.
Today, ahead of that bout, the two men took part in their weigh in and both men scaled the Super Middleweight limit of 168lbs dead on.
For Melikuziev the weight is one of the lightest of his career, with the Uzbekistani fighter usually fighting above the Super Middleweight limit, and it's only the third time he has weighed 168lbs or less. As for Rosado the weight is among his heaviest with the veteran having made his name at Light Middleweight and Middleweight, though his last two bouts have been around the Super Middleweight limit.
Despite being the naturally lighter man it is worth noting the Rosado is the taller, longer man and could end up being the heavier man in the ring tomorrow. Regardless he will certainly be the under-dog against the heavy handed "Bek Bully"
Tomorrow on a show promoted by Golden Boy Promotions we'll see fast rising Uzbekistani prospect Bektemir Melikuziev (7-0, 6) [Бектемир Мелиқўзиев] take on former world title challenger Gabriel Rosado (25-13-1, 14) in a major step up in class for the "Bek Bully".
Despite Melikuziev stepping up here he's regarded as an almost unbackable favourite. In fact he is 1/18 to win and maintain his unbeaten record whilst the much more proven and experienced Rosado is a huge 10/1 to win. The draw, for those who like to back the unexpected, is widely available at 25/1.
As for the method of victory market also strongly favours one outcome, with a Melikuziev expected to win inside the distance, with odds of 2/7 for the "Bully" to notch his 7th stoppage. The unbeaten man is 4/1 to win a decision for those thinking Rosado will use his experience to survive. Rosado is currently priced 20/1 for either a stoppage or a decision win.
Given Melikuziev is strongly backed to win inside the distance it should be little surprise that the bout isn't expected to go the distance. In fact it's 2/9 to finish earlier and 7/2 to completethe schedule.
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