Back in December it was announced that unbeaten Uzbek Bektemir Melikuziev (6-0, 5) [Бектемир Мелиқўзиев] would be facing former multi-time Light Heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev (34-4-1, 29) in Russia at the end of January. Now however it's been confirmed that the venue for the bout has shifted from Russia to the US.
Originally the plan was for the contest to take place at the Luzhniki Arena in Moscow, however according to Sports.Uz the on going pandemic forced a change from Russia and now the bout will be held at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino Arena in Indio, California.
Despite the chance in venue the show is set to be shown early on in the US to help appeal to a European and Central Asian audience, with DAZN showing the bout. The will be good news for British fans, and although not perfect for a US audience it certainly isn't as bad as it would be for fans in Russia and Uzbekistan as the show being on at a "normal" time for a US show.
Interestingly Sports.uz also report that the contracted weight for this bout is 178lbs, which is 10lbs heavier than we saw Melikuziev fighting at last time out, when he stopped Alan Campa. Despite that he's seen as a clear favourite against the heavy hitting, but much faded, Kovalev.
According to a highly reliable source a deal has been reached for WBO female Minimumweight champion Etsuko Tada (20-3-3, 7) [多田悦子] to defend her title on February 13th in the US, in bout against unbeaten American challenger Seniesa Estrada (19-0, 8).
The bout will be Tada's first defense of the title since reclaiming the title in December, when she stopped Ayaka Miyao in the 9th round, with a brutal single left hand.
At the age of 39 Tada has seen better days, and she seemed very much on the slide in early 2020 when she fought to a draw with Miyao. She also seemed to be slowing and aging in 2017, when she lost a decision in Macau to Cai Zong Ju, though has strung together some good wins since that loss, including the win over Miyao and wins over Naoko Shibata and Kayaoko Ebata.
Notably this will be Tada's first bout in the US, and her 4th bout outside of Japan, and she is currently 0-2-1 when she has fought away from home.
The 28 year old Estrada is one of the rising stars of female boxing in the US and is an exciting, explosive, talented fighter who has created a real buzz for herself in recent bouts. "Super Bad" claimed the WBA "interim" Flyweight title in 2019, when she upset Olympian Marlen Esparza, and scored a 7 second blow out win over Miranda Adkins in 2020, in one of the most explosive KO's seen in female boxing in recent memory.
On paper this is the toughest fight Estrada has had since turning professional, as she takes on a multi-time world champion, but she is likely to enter as the clear favourite. Despite that this is not a gimme for the talented American.
The bout is said to have been scheduled as part of the under-card to the highly anticipated IBF Super Featherweight title bout between defending champion champion Joseph "Jojo" Diaz (31-1, 15) and mandatory challenger Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov (15-0, 12) [Шавкатджон Рахимов], and will be held at The Avalon, in Hollywood California. DAZN are expected to show the bout live, in what looks set to be a fantastic show from Golden Boy promotions.
Last night in Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Hollywood, Florida we had two bouts featuring Asian fighters on a card on DAZN. Going in both were heavily fancied to pick up wins and that's exactly what they both did.
The first of the two was hard hitting Azeri Heavyweight Mahammadrasul Majidov (3-0, 3) who continued moving forward in his career with a TKO win against Puerto Rican Puerto Rican Sahret Delgado (8-1, 7).
On paper this looked like an intriguing match up, but it was essentially over when the two men stepped on the scales yesterday and Delgado weighed in at close to 300lbs. Due to the excess weight Delgado looked slow and clumsy and was using a lot of gas to do anything.
After winning the first 2 rounds the Azeri close the show in round 3 when he had Delgado out on his feet, forcing the bout to be stopped.
The second, and more notable, Asian on this show was 2016 Olympic Gold medal winner Daniyar Yeleussinov (10-0, 6) [Данияр Маратұлы Елеусінов] . Th talented Yeleussinov was up against former unified Light Welterweight world champion Julius Indongo (23-3, 12) and was looking to do 2 things. He was looking to claim the IBF Inter-Continental Welterweight title and he was looking to score the biggest win of his professional career.
From the opening round it was clear Yeleussinov had a point to prove and be dropped Indongo in opening 3 minutes with a left hand. He came close to stopping the Namibian, but credit to Indongo who showed good survival instincts. This instincts however couldn't help him forever and a second knockdown in round 2 broke his spirit. Indongo beat the count but was a beaten fighter, suggesting to the referee that enough was enough.
For Yeleussinov, who had seen people complain about how he'd adapted to the professional ranks, this was the perfect performance and the type of win will should convince his team that he's a genuine talent and that he needs big chances. This was a fantastic performance and something that showcased exactly what Yeleussinov was about. A world title fight in 2021 seems unlikely, but he could end up impressing again next year and getting himself right in the mix by the time we begin 2022.
If we're being honest certain promoters and broadcasters, be it online or over the air, keep shooting themselves in the foot. Sadly two of those shooting themselves in the foot the most often are Golden Boy Promotions and DAZN, who did it again last night.
The card they aired featured a number of bouts that weren't shown. These included a bout with a former world title challenger and one featuring a man regarded as one of the hottest prospects in world boxing. Sadly for us, they were the two bouts featuring Asian fighters.
The first of those featured Filipino journeyman Neil John Tabanao (17-8, 11) battling former world title challenger Lamont Roach (20-1-1, 8).
On paper, this was an interesting bout and a chance to see how the touted Roach would fair following a loss last November to WBO Super Featherweight champion Jamel Herring. Had we got the bout shown we would have seen the American bounce back in impressive fashion, slicing through Tabanao with a brutal body shot.
Tabanao, who had never previously been stopped was damn near gutted by the brutal left hook from Roach, which was tremendous. A brilliant body that deserved to have a wider audience.
The other Asian on this show was unbeaten Uzbek Bektemir Melikuziev (6-0, 5) [Бектемир Мелиқўзиев], who many regard as one of the most promising fighters in the sport today. He dismantled Mexican foe Alan Campa (17-6, 11) to claim the WBO Inter-Continental Super Middleweight title.
Campa was down multiple times here and stopped early, though the only footage that seems to be getting widely circulated is of one knockdown late in round 2, from a straight left hand. Campa appears to be on his feet at the end of the clip, suggesting that wasn't the end. Instead it's been reported that he was then stopped early in round 3, when the count was waived following the third knockdown of the fight.
Sadly, however, the bout failed to be shown and fans were denied a chance to see a man that appears to have a lot of fight folk talking, and a lot of fans very excited about. A very stupid move from a streaming service desperate to have all the goodwill it can muster right now after very little content in recent months.
Later today on DAZN we'll see a Golden Boy Promotions show featuring two Asian fighters, as part of a very packed weekend.
Yesterday, as part of the pre-fight formalities, the men involved in those bouts took part in their weigh ins.
One of the fights in question will see Filipino fighter Neil John Tabanao (17-7, 11) take on former world title challenger Lamont Roach (19-1-1, 7) in a Super Featherweight bout. On the scales for this one both men came in at 129¾lbs.
For Tabanao that is among the heaviest weights of his career, and far higher than he's been in his last 4 bouts, which have been closer to the Super Bantamweight or Featherweight limits. Whilst Roach has come in around his usual weight, with many of his recent bouts being fought for some form of minor Super Featherweight title.
The other Asian on this show is unbeaten Uzbek Bektemir Melikuziev (5-0, 4) [Бектемир Мелиқўзиев], who takes on Mexican foe Alan Campa (17-5, 11) for the WBO Inter-Continental Super Middleweight title.
On the scales for this one Melikuziev was band on the 168lbs limit, some 13½ lighter than he was in February, when he destroyed Oscar Cortes in a round. Campa on the other hand was 166½lbs, which is comfortably under the divisional limit.
For fans wanting to watch this it will be available exclusively on DAZN.
News! We try and give you the most interesting news stories from the Asian boxing world!