Earlier today in Almaty fans had a special show from MTK to celebrate Kazakh Independence day. For the most part it was a successful day for the fighters from Central Asia, though their was one big upset.
Rather than breaking down the entire card, which had more than 10 bouts on it, we'll discuss some of the most notable bouts on the card.
Among the most notable of the fighters on the card was Victor Kotochigov (11-0, 4) [Виктор Коточигов], who extended his winning run with a 10 round shut out over Argentina's Javier Jose Clavero (27-6, 5), to defended the WBC International Lightweight title. This was Kotochigov's 4th win of the year, and whilst he's clearly a talented fighter his bouts do lack drama and he may end up being a tough man to man fans care about going forward.
In another title bout Sultan Zaurbek (9-0, 7) [Султан Заурбек] became the new WBC Youth Super Featherweight champion as he stopped Chinese fighter Leshan Li (16-4-2, 9) [黎乐善].
Nurtas Azhbenov (8-0, 3) [Нуртас Ажбенов], a man that has shared a lot of cards with Zaurbek, picked up a decision win over Filipino journeyman Landy Cris Leon (13-21-5, 6). Given Leon has been stopped 12 times the worry is that Azhbenov really does lack power, and if we're being honest he hasn't looked the star in the making that Zaurbek has.
The big shock of the night saw Iskander Kharsan (7-1, 6) [Искандер Харсан] suffer his first loss. The touted youngster was dropped twice in the opening round before being stopped in round 3 by British based Cameroonian Thomas Essomba (10-5, 4). Although this may not have looked like an easy win for Kharsan on paper Essomba has made a reputation for himself due to scoring upsets and this is the third "0" he has taken after previously upsetting Waleed Din and Sean McGoldrick.
Others who picked up wins included Elshat Nigmetolla (16-0-1, 5) [Ельшат Нигметолла], Abay Tolesh (5-0, 3) [Абай Толеш], Ray Seitzhanov (2-0) [Рай Сейтжанов], Miras-Ali Sarsenov (2-0, 1) [Мирас-Али Сарсенов] and Nurdos Tolebay (2-0, 1) [Нурдос Толебай], 2016 Olympic gold medal winner Fazliddin Gaibnazarov (8-1, 5) [Фазлиддин Гаибназаров] and fellow former amateur standout Khurshid Tojibaev (4-0, 2)
With all the goings on from yesterday some things fell through the net in terms of our news coverage, one of those things was a show from Denmark featuring two very highly regarded Uzbek fighters who both picked up wins.
One of those was 2016 Olympic champion Shakhobidin Zoirov (2-0, 2) [Шаҳобиддин Зоиров], who picked up an opening round win over Georgian Mishiko Shubitidze (12-14-3, 5). The Uzbek needed just 144 seconds to see off the poor Georgian, who has now been stopped 12 times. Despite it being quick Zoirov will be glad to have gotten some ring time here given his debut was an 18 second cameo against Indonesian Anthony Holt, a man we suspect will be added to other people's KO lists in the years to come. Given how Zoirov is blowing through this level of competition we really hope MTK give him something more testing next time out, he needs it.
The other was Uzbek prospect was Hurshid Tojibaev (2-0, 1) [Хуршид Тожибоев], who got more than a quick cameo as he was extended 6 rounds by Irakli Shariashvili (5-3-1). Although he was taken 6 rounds this was a bout that was never in doubt for the Uzbek, who swept all 6 rounds to build on his debut back in March. Although he did go the distance he also needs to be stepped up and given not just someone who will survive but someone who will come to win, especially given already 29 years old and was such an incredible amateur, and has APB experience, winning the APB world title in 2015 in fact.
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