Earlier today the CSKA Sports Complex in Almaty played host to MTK Global Kazakhstan card. Whilst it wasn't the most stacked card it did feature a number of very promising Kazakh fighters who were, for the most part, stepping up a level with several getting their best tests so far.
One of the local fighters picking up a win was the often frustrating Nurtas Azhbenov (12-1, 4), who rebounded from a July loss to Isa Chaniev as he beat light punching 36 year old Sherali Dostiev (9-2-1, 2) over 10 rounds. Azhbenov, who looks like a talented but hugely frustrating fighter, walked away with the clear decision, but again it's clear he doesn't have what is needed to reach the upper echelons.
One of the most impressive performances came from Sultan Zaurbek (12-0, 8) who retained the WBO European Super Featherweight title with a 6th round TKO win over Ryan Wheeler (16-2-1). Zaurbek impressed from the off, fought like a man with a point to prove, and repeatedly hurt Wheeler. In round 6, with Wheeler rocked, Paul Tuzinde stepped in to save the British fighter
Another very impressive performance came from Talgat Shayken (7-0, 4) who claimed the WBC Youth title at Welterweight as he dominated Ukrainian Volodymyr Hordiienko (9-4, 4). This was a show case of controlled aggression from Shayken, who broke down, dominated, out landed and beat up Hordiienko. Credit goes to the Ukrainian for showing his toughness, but he failed to win a round, as Shayken shut him out over the 10 round distance.
Another of the top hopefuls on this card was former amateur star Kamshybek Kunkabayev (4-0, 4), who defeated Steven Ward (13-2, 4) and claimed the WBA Gold Cruiserweight title. Ward was outclassed from the start, he struggled to get around the long southpaw jab of Kunkabayev, and although he landed the occasional blow, his counters were few and far between. The clean blows of Kunakbayev were taking their toll, but a head clash left Ward cut, and took up to the scorecards in round 7, with Kunkabayev winning every every round of the bout when it was stopped.
Earlier today we had an MTK show from Kazakhstan featuring some of the most notable emerging Kazakh talent in the pro ranks, including a talented but forgetten Heavyweight giant, and several very exciting prospects.
After more than 2 years away from the ring we saw the, long over-due, return to action for Kazakh Heavyweight giant Ivan Dychko (10-0, 10) [Дычко Иван], sadly however he was required for little more than a cameo as he easily stopped veteran Denis Bakhtov (39-19, 26).
Dychko found his jab almost instantly, not looking at all rusty, and landed a big right hand early on. Bakhtov took it well before a brilliant 1-2 from Dychko dropped the Russian veteran, and the referee quickly waved off the bout, with Bakhtov's legs twitching on the canvas. Thankfully Bakhtov quickly regained control of his body, but this was his 11th stoppage loss, and it seems clear that he should hang them up at the age of 41.
As for Dychko he now needs an actual test. Fights like this do nothing for his development, and he needs a genuine fight, especially given he is now 30 years old and has been a professional for around 4 years!
In an impressive, and fan friendly, performance talented youngster Talgat Shayken (5-0, 3) [Талгат Шайкен] stopped Russian fighter Alexander Sharonov (12-6-2, 6) in the 7th round. Shayken looked really good at times, and like a potential star of the future, but at other times his inexperience showed through, and it's clear he's a work in progress. In saying that however he looks like he has the tools and the building blocks to develop from and in 3 or 4 years there's a real chance he'll be on the fringes of a world title fight.
Sadly for Nurtas Azhbenov (11-1, 4) [Нуртас Ажбенов] he failed to build on a good start as he was knocked out in 3 rounds by Isa Chaniev (15-3, 7). In round 1 Azhbenov managed to dropped his man, but in round a massive right cross from Chaniev caught him hard on the chin, and sent the previously unbeaten Kazakh fighter down hard. In many ways it was a loss that seemed inevitable for Azhbenov who has often looked like someone who hasn't really adapted to the professional ranks, though we're genuinely surprised by just how brutal this KO was from Chaniev, who is unlikely to ever land a better shot.
In the chief support bout we saw the hugely skilled Tursynbay Kulakhmet (4-0, 3) [Турсынбай Кулахмет] picked up his latest win as he stopped the tough and rugged Aleksei Evchenko (19-15-2, 8).
This looked like it was going to be a quick day at the office for Kualkhmet, who dropped his man in opening 90 seconds, but Evchenko gritted it out, toughed out some real hard moments, and showed why he has been one of the most notable journeymen in Europe. Round after round Evchenko would take punishment, withstand it, and fire back whilst being tagged at will. The Russian was losing pretty much every minute of every round, but doing enough to survive. That was until late in round 10, when the Kazakh fighter let his shots go, hurting Evchenko and forcing the referee to jump in and save the brave 38 year old Russian.
For Evchenko this is just his second stoppage loss, and for Kulakhmet it was the perfect performance, as he got rounds under his belt and got a stoppage against a very determined and experienced opponent.
The main event then saw Sultan Zaurbek (11-0, 7) [Султан Заурбек] battle against Scotland's Ronnie Clark (21-5-2, 10) in a bout for the WBO European Super Featherweight title.
The bout saw the talented Kazakh fight within himself for much of the fight, out boxing the game but outclassed Clark for much of the fight. Things were made harder for Clark when an eye injury saw him taken to the ringside doctor, though the doctor saw no issues and allowed the bout to go on after a very brief inspection. Clarke continually proved he was tough, but he lacked the sharpness and the speed of Zaurbek who really did run up the rounds without many problems.
In the final round Zaurbek seemed to go for a stoppage, but Clarke's toughness prevented a finish and instead Zaurbek was happy to hear the final bell and take a very, very clear decision win over the game "Shark".
Just moments ago we saw the end of a show from Kazakhstan, shown live from Almaty from IFL TV. The card was certainly not the most exciting or competitive, but it was one with several noteworthy bouts on it.
One of the first bouts of real note saw Kazakh fighter Abay Tolesh (7-1, 5) [Абай Толеш] score a brutal KO win over Russian Vasily Shtyk (2-3, 2). The bout had been fairly competitive until Tolesh hurt Shtyk in round 5, and then dropped him. Surprisingly Shtyk got to his feet quickly, and it was probably too quickly with Tolesh going after him, and finishing in highlight reel fashion. Sadly whilst the KO it's self was fantastic questions need to be asked of the referee who should have stepped in earlier and saved Shtyk from the final few shots.
Another bout of note saw talented youngster Talgat Shayken (4-0, 2) [Талгат Шайкен] battle against Russian fighter Evgeny Pavko (18-4-1, 13). This one started with drama as Shayken was shaken within seconds, though he recovered very well and by the end of round 3 he looked in control of his more experienced foe. Despite looking super aggressive in his first 3 bouts, he showed real calmness here, and boxed well, dictating the bout with his boxing skills, and easily took the 8 rounds decision.
The chief support bout saw unbeaten Kazakh Nurtas Azhbenov (11-0, 4) [Нуртас Ажбенов] take on once beaten Russian fighter Evgeny Smirnov (13-2-3, 3) in a 10 rounder for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Lightweight title. On paper this looked a really interesting match up, and it proved to be competitive, though not the most exciting. The skilled Azhbenov used his skills on the outside to take an early lead, but it was the pressure of Smirnov that made the fight, especially in the second half as he forced Azhbenov to work. Sadly two of the judges failed to give Smirnov any credit for his work, scoring it wide for Azhbenov, but in reality he was forced to work for this win.
Despite the win we're still unconvinced that the 26 year old Azhbenov has the tools to go all the way. He's clearly a skilled fighter but he lacks power and he lacks intensity, and we suspect those issues will cost him sooner rather than later.
In the main event Kazakh standout Kamshybek Kunkabayev (3-0, 3) [Камшыбек Кункабаев] scored his latest win, as he over-came Server Emurlaiev (23-2, 8), who was a late replacement for Northern Irish fighter Steven Ward (13-1, 4), and claimed the WBO Asia Pacific Crusierweight title.
From the opening round Kunkabayev dictated pretty much everything behind his sharp jab and his composed boxing. There was a feeling that he was fighting well within himself and was wanting rounds, rather than wanting to impress, and he seemed to remain in first gear through the first 5 rounds. In round 6 he finally rocked his man and then hurt him again on the bell. After the 6th round Emurlaiev and his team decided enough was enough and pulled out of the corner before the start of round 7.
Earlier today in Almaty there was a Kazakh card, streamed worldwide by IFL TV. The show wasn't the best, or the most well matched, but it did feature a number of notable Kazakh prospects worthy of some attention.
One of those hopefuls was 20 year old Rakhat Seitzhan (2-0, 2) [Рахат Сейтжан], who took a notable step up in class and stopped Uzbek fighter Shovkat Khalilov (7-3, 1) inside the opening round. The finish came following two solid body shots from Seitzhan, who showed some lovely handspeed and punch placement to close the show. This is a solid win for Seitzhan at this early point of his career, though we would like to see him in with a fellow Welterweight soon, and he looked a division or two bigger than Khalilov.
There was also a stoppage win for Ray Seitzhanov (4-0, 1) [Рай Сейтжанов], who stopped Berikbay Nurymbetov (5-2, 1) [Берыкбай Нуримбетов] in the 5th round to extend his unbeaten record. The talented Seitzhanov dropped his man with a left hook and and not long afterwards Nurymbetov's corner threw in the towel.
Another talented Kazakh youngster who picked up a quick win was 19 year old Talgat Shayken (2-0, 1) [Талгат Шайкен], who made light work of experienced Uzbek Bakhrom Payazov (22-14, 15). Shaiken almost broke Payazov in half with a body shot early in the round and although the bout continued it wasn't long before the referee had seen enough and waved off the bout. On paper this is a good win, but it didn't do much to tell us how good Sahyken is, as Payazov put such a poor effort.
In a more testing bout Nurtas Azhbenov (10-0, 4) was forced to go 10 rounds to take home a victory against 36 year old Armenian Arkadi Harutyunyan (4-12-1, 1). On paper this watch a mismatch and Azhbenov won all 10 rounds, though it again leads us to question whether Azhbenov has what is needed to reach the next level. The Armenian had been stopped 4 times prior to today and going 10 with Azhbenov is a suggesting that the Kazakh does lack stopping power. This isn't the first time Azhbenov's lack of power has been questioned and we really do wonder about how hard he hits. It is worth noting that Azhbenov had stopped 3 of his last 4, in the opening round, but those results do appear to flatter him and his punching power.
In the main event of the show Yedil Kozhamberdiyev (10-2, 10) [Едил Кожамбердиев] defeated Mukhitdin Rajapbaev (12-8-1, 8) to claim the interim WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Cruiserweight title. Rajapbaev was pulled from the bout after round 4 by his corner who seemed to accept their man had taken enough punishment. Interestingly prior to the bout being stopped Rajapbaev had actually dropped Kozhamberdiyev. It wasn't a huge knockdown but was still a worry for Kozhamberdiyev, who still has a lot of questions hanging over his head, despite the victory.
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Back in August we saw 19 year old Kazakh hopeful Talgat Shaiken (1-0) [Талгата Шайкена] make his professional debut. Today MTK announced his next bout, which we now know will take place in Kazakhstan this coming Wednesday, September 23rd.
The bout will Sahaiken take on experienced Uzbek fighter Bakhrom Payazov (22-13, 15) in Almaty, Kazakhstan, in a bout that will be part of a pretty interesting Kazakh card.
Shaiken, who looked flawed but exciting on his debut, is regarded by many as a really talented and promising, but one who will need time to develop and round off his skillset. He's aggressive, exciting, physically powerful and very, very raw. With that in mind an opponent like Payazov is a perfect bit of match making for Shaiken.
Payazov is no world beater, he's 35, he's been stopped in 9 of his 13 losses, he's a naturally smaller man, but will know enough to ask questions of Shaiken, before eventually being stopped by the Kazakh youngster.
Incidentally the man Shaiken beat on his debut, Berikbay Nurymbetov (5-1, 1) [Берикбай Нурымбетов], will also be on this show. The once beaten Nurymbetov will be up against the unbeaten Ray Seitzhanov (3-0) [Рай Сейтжанов] in a scheduled 10 rounds. Another 10 rounder will see will see Uzbek fighter Mukhitdin Rajapbaev (12-7-1, 8) take on local fighter Yedil Kozhamberdiyev (9-2, 9) [Едил Кожамбердиев] in a bout for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Cruiserweight Cruiserweight.
One other bout worthy of attention will see touted Nurtas Azhbenov (9-0, 4) [Нуртас Ажбенов] take on Armenian foe Arkadi Harutyunyan (4-11, 1). This isn't a great bout but Azhbenov has been regarded as one to watch since he turned professional and for those who have followed it's worth being aware of this bout, as it appears the show has been put together on relatively short notice.
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