Last week we reported that Kanat Islam (27-0, 21) [Ислам Канат] had split with trainer Bagaudin Bekov. Thankfully it appears the Bekov sized hole in Islam's team has already been filled, with reports in Kazakhstan suggesting Islam has quickly replaced Bekov with with former Kazakh Olympic boxing coach Nurgali Safiullin.
The two men have world together in the past, in fact it appears that Safiullin has world with a relative who's who of Kazakh fighters over the years including former world champion Beibut Shumenov.
At the moment it's unclear when Islam will return to the ring, though reports are that he is back in training following an injury suffered in his October win over Namibian Walter Kautondokwa. We expect to hear news about his next bout in the coming weeks as the Kazakh really doesn't have time to waste, especially given he's already 35 and very injury prone.
Given that Islam once looked on the verge of a world title fight his career really has failed to hit the heights hoped, and it feels like his next injury could well end his career, despite the fighter himself suggesting he was going to fight on for a few years inspired by the success of Manny Pacquiao at a more advanced age. Reality though is that Pacquiao was injury prone, whilst Islam really is.
(Image courtesy of Vesti)
Earlier today news in Kazakhstan broke that unbeaten contender Kanat Islam (27-0, 21) [Ислам Канат] had split with trainer Bagaudin Bekov, with Bekov himself revealing the split.
Bekov, who had worked with Islam for his two bouts in 2019, revealed that other commitments were to blame, and that he wasn't able to give the fighter the attention he needed.
At the moment it's unclear what will happen with Islam going forward. The 35 year old, who has been plagued with injuries in recent years, was linked to a rematch with Walter Kautondokwa, after their controversial 2019 bout, but it now appears that that talk is cooling and Kautondokwa is expected to return sooner than Islam.
Although Islam beat Kautondokwa in October the Kazakh did suffer a number of injuries, including a broken arm, further slowing his career.
It was injuries that kept him out of the ring for the entire of 2018 and seem likely to prevent him from ever reaching the heights once expected of him. Despite the injuries he suffered last year he was reportedly back in the gym in December beginning training for his next contest.
Back in October unbeaten Kazakh Kanat Islam (27-0, 21) [Ислам Канат] scraped his toughest win so far, as he retained the WBO International Middleweight title with a a very controversial decision victory over the hard hitting Walter Kautondokwa (18-2, 17).
It now seems likely the two will rematch in early 2020, with Vesti reporting a deal for a second bout between the men is being put together.
Vesti have quotes from a member of Kautondokwa's team stating:
“I recently spoke with a promoter of Islam. They are positive about taking revenge. In turn, we are ready to return to Kazakhstan at any time. I’m sure that this is the only fight that Kazakhstanis now want to see. A second fight will attract more sponsors and sell more tickets. It will be beneficial for both boxers. I believe that holding a fight early next year would be ideal"
Given the fact that both teams are interested in the bout, and that it did gain some some international attention, the fight does make sense for both. On one hand Islam will look to right the wrong of the close bout, and will be looking to avoid injuring himself this time around, with that injury really causing him issues in the second half of October's bout. On the other hand Kautondokwa will be looking to avenge the loss, and take Islam out, something that almost happened late in their bout.
Of course Islam may look elsewhere if a good deal can't be made, and given he has got world rankings bigger fights might be possible, but it very much seems like this rematch is a focus for his team who will be wanting to see something better from their man.
(Image courtesy of vesti)
Yesterday in Almaty, Kazakhstan, we saw unbeaten Kazakh Kanat Islam (27-0, 21) [Ислам Канат] retain the WBO International Middleweight title with a 10 round decision win over Walter Kautondokwa (18-2, 17).
The bout had controversy all over it, from the scoring to the length of the bout and to the judges. It also saw Islam fighting terrible in the second half of the fight, and not really throwing more than 1 or 2 right hands in the final 5 rounds.
We assumed at the time that Islam had suffered an injury, and today that was confirmed. X-rays showed that Islam had suffered a broken right hand, and after the bout he had had a cast put on it.
The injury, which was apparently suffered in round 7, makes it obvious as to why Islam refused to throw right hands in the final few rounds. What it didn't come close to explaining was some of the other issues with the bout, including a bizarre 99-92 score card in his favour, one of the most egregious scores of the year or why the ring announce stated it would be a 12 round bout.
According to Vesti the fighters and their teams were aware the bout was a 10 rounder, as was Qazsport who televised the bout. The vice-president of the Professional Boxing Federation of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Viktor Demyanenko, stated that the WBO supervisor had certified the bout for 10 rounds ahead of it taking place. Notably this turned out to be a very fortunate thing for Islam, who looked like he was all in after 10 rounds and likely wouldn't have survived another 2 rounds.
Another issue spoken about by Demyanenko to Vesti was the officiating, which was supposed to have a Polish official involved, though the judge in question never arrived in Kazakhstan and was instead replaced by a Kazakh judge. Demyanenko stated that "Although it doesn’t look very good, the supervisor made the decision. This issue was not in my competence,", again putting the onus on the WBO supervisor. It seems clear that whilst it was usual, and certainly played a part in the very odd score-cards, it had seemingly been signed off by the supervisor from the WBO.
According the Boxrec, who still don't have the result up at the time of writing, that supervisor was Hungarian Zsuzsanna Toth, who we suspect will have some serious questions to answer.
(Image courtesy of Vesti)
After spending much of the last week talking about a potential showdown with Saul "Canelo"Alvarez we saw unbeaten Kazakh Kanat Islam (27-0, 21) [Ислам Канат] struggle to a win over the game but limited Walter Kautondokwa (18-2, 17), in a bout that left more questions than answers.
The bout started slowly, and we mean slowly. There was very little happening in the opening round and bar a late flurry in round 2 there was little of note then either. The pattern of the fight was however taking form, with Kautondokwa applying pressure and Islam boxing off the back foot. The first 2 rounds saw Kautondokwa's pressure really do nothing, instead of being aggressive with pressure he was following Islam, and taking more than he was landing.
In round 3 and 4 Kautondokwa was punished more for his pressure, with Islam landing eye catching overhand rights and left hands to the body. It was clear that Islam, the much smaller fighter, had the edge in speed, timing, technique and movement, but through those first 4 rounds couldn't get Kautondokwa's respect. The one thing Islam was fortunate for was that Kautondokwa had near enough no accuracy or urgency in his work.
The big round of the fight was right in the middle, round 5. The round saw Islam having his 2 best best moments. A left hook that staggered Kautondokwa and a following right hand a few moments later that dropped Kautondokwa. The knockdown really did seem to hurt Kautondokwa who ended up trading with Islam for much of the round afterwards in what was the highlight of the fight.
After that bout changed, big time.
Islam fought like a British domestic journeyman, trying to survive and fiddle his way through rounds. He looked like a man who was happy to avoid a fight, running, holding, wrestling, and generally doing what he could to limit the actual fighting. He seemed to have injured his right arm, and rarely threw a right hand in the final 5 rounds, taking away the over hand right that had been such a success for him in the first 5 rounds.
As the rounds progressed Islam became increasingly tired, the movement and smart defensive slipping of the earlier rounds had vanished, and instead he was stumbling, retreating into a negative shell, and trying to get as much of a breather as possible. For the last 5 rounds he did little more than survive.
With the knockdown we he Islam winning, 95-94, though round 1 was certainly close enough to debate either way. The judges however turned in embarrassing scores of 99-92 and 97-92, twice, all in favour of Islam.
With the win Islam retains the WBO International Middleweight title, but leaves real question marks about his injury prone body, his stamina, and his ability to really compete as a Middleweight. For 3 rounds or so he looked fantastic, but for 5 rounds he looked awful and the reality is that he isn't good enough to win a world title. On the back of this performance he would end up being stopped by any top Middleweight, likely before the middle rounds.
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