Last night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena there was a trio of Asian fighters in action, and they had rather mixed fortunes on the biggest show of the weekend.
The most impressive was Bektemir Melikuziev (3-0, 3) [Бектемир Мелиқўзиев], who was actually extended into the 4th round by the unheralded Clay Collard (4-2-3, 1). The fast rising "Bek Bully" was up against someone wanting to fight back and show his toughness, but in the end Collard was broken down by body shots as Melikuziev continued to build his reputation as a body snatcher.
Talented Kazakh Middleweight Meiirim Nursultanov (13-0, 8) extended his unbeaten run and scored his fourth win of the year, as he out pointed tough Mexican Cristian Olivas (16-6, 13). The talented Nursultanov did what he needed to earn a shut out over 10 rounds, and does seem to be improving fight by fight, but this is his third decision win this year and we do wonder if he has the power for the next. Saying that however Olivas is tough, and has never been stopped so not getting him out, in isolation, it nothing to be ashamed by.
Sadly it was a terrible night for Filipino Romero Duno (21-2, 16) as he was stopped in just 98 seconds by unbeaten American Ryan Garcia (19-0, 16). Duno managed to land a decent right hand, but was then taken apart by Garcia's speed and combinations, and dropped after around 90 seconds. He then failed to beat the count, with his balance being totally gone. This was very much the speed of Garcia being too much for Duno, and in fairness to Garcia shows how much he has improved over the last year or so.
Unbeaten Kazakh hopeful Meiirim Nursultanov (12-0, 8) [Нурсултанов Мейирим] has been scheduled to return to the ring on November 2nd, in what will be his 4th bout of the year. This will however be the highest profile of those bouts as he features on the under-card of the Sergey Kovalev (34-3-1, 29) and Saul Alvarez (52-1-2, 35) bout.
At the moment Nursultanov's opponent hasn't been announced for the card, though it's expected he will take on a relatively decent opponent as he looks to build on wins over the likes of Artur Osipov and Luis Hernandez, who are his last 2 opponents.
Although not a big name Nursultanov is seen as a rising hopeful in the Middleweight division. At the age of 26 he's still a relatively young fighter, but has risen quickly since his debut in November 2016. He's still some way from a major fight, but given his activity and level of competition he is certainly putting the pieces together to get a title fight in the future. We suspect 2020 will be a year of major step up for him and then potentially an eliminator towards the end of the year, if he keeps notching up the wins.
Tomorrow unbeaten American based Kazakh Meiirim Nursultanov (11-0, 8) [Мейирима Нурсултанова] will take on an interesting test, as he goes up against once Russian Artur Osipov (15-1, 10) in Chelyabinsk as part of the under-card to Sergey Kovalev's bout with Anthony Yarde.
Despite the bout looking really competitive on paper, and taking place in Osipov's homeland of Russia, the bookies in the UK have this as a mismatch in favour of the unbeaten man.
The talented Nursultanov has been priced at 1/10 to win by any method whilst Osipov is a big under-dog, best priced at 8/1 to win. The draw on the other hand is 25/1.
Notably this will be the Kazakh's first fight in Russia and only his second outside of the US. He's looked really good at times but this is a legitimate test and Osipov, whilst not a world beater, is a solid fighter and should make for a good bout.
Whilst Osipov was beaten last time out, by Evgeny Terentiev, he'll be in the ring here looking to bounce back and do so in front of Russian fans who are their to see Kovalev in the main event.
On Friday night in California fight fans had the chance to see a couple of unbeaten Kazakh hopefuls pick up their latest wins and remain unbeaten.
One of those fighters was Light Middleweight Madiyar Ashkeyev (11-0, 6) [Мадияра Ашкеева], who faced off with Puerto Rican foe Luis Hernandez (16-7, 9). The unbeaten 30 year old from Kazakhstan was forced to go the distance with Hernandez, who despite losing 7 of 23 bouts is still yet to be stopped, and has mixed with very good company in those losses. Ashkeyev will be happy to have gone 10 rounds for the first time, but it's hard to really see where he can go.
The other Kazakh picking up a win was Meiirim Nursultanov (10-0, 8) [Мейирима Нурсултанова] who stopped late replacement Ramon Aguinaga (13-2, 9), a 26 year old Mexican foe who was the late replacement for a different replacement. The Kazakh stopped the Mexican fighter in the 2nd round, of a scheduled 8 rounder. Given how impressive Nursultanov has looked through his career we're expecting a huge 2019 from him, and wouldn't be surprised to see him breaking into the world rankings by the end of the year.
Later today their will be two notable and unbeaten Kazakh fighters in action at the Chumash Casino, Santa Ynez, California. The fighters in question will be Madiyar Ashkeyev (10-0, 6) [Мадияра Ашкеева] and Meiirim Nursultanov (9-0, 7) [Мейирима Нурсултанова], who will look to begin their 2019's with notable wins, in what could be very big years for both men. Yesterday both took part in their weigh ins, along with their opponents.
Ashkeyev will be up against Puerto Rican foe Luis Hernandez (16-6, 9) in a 10 round bout . On the scales both of these men were bang on the 154lb limit and looked in good shape. Hernandez has never been stopped and is expected to give Ashkeyev a very tough contest but has lost 5 of his last 8, including losses to the likes of Rashidi Ellis, Esquiva Falcao and Terrell Gausha. On paper this is set to be Ashkeyev's toughest bout, but is certainly a winnable one.
Nursulatanov on the other hand will be up against 26 year old Mexican foe Ramon Aguinaga (13-1, 9), who was a late replacement for a late replacement. Aguinaga was stopped last time out, in 5 rounds by Christian Mbilli and is expected to come up short again here. Notably however the Mexican does have a clear weight advantage, with the Kazakh weighing 161.8lbs and his opponent coming in at 167.6lbs, well above the Kazakh. Despite the weight difference the Kazakh is expected to use his skills and physical strength to over-come his foe.
News! We try and give you the most interesting news stories from the Asian boxing world!