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.
Earlier today MTK Kazakhstan announced that a trio of former Kazakh amateur standouts would be making their professional debut later this month on a major card in Kazakhstan.
Among the debutants are Tursynbay Kulakhmet (0-0) [Турсынбай Кулахмет] and Talgat Shaiken (0-0) [Талгата Шайкена], who were both originally scheduled to debut in March, before having their debuts pushed back to July and then pushed back again, to this new date.
Of those two Kulakhmet is the more promising fighter, and his amateur shows suggest he could be a true professional sensation. His style is really suited to the professional ranks, he's very easy on the eye and has a very polished style. His success in the amateurs included a gold at the 2019 Asian Championships and a Bronze medal at the World Championships.
Although not quite as highly regarded Shaiken is not one to ignore either. His style is very much a rough and tough one. He's really young but physically very imposing and could give us some very fan friendly bouts going forward.
The third of the notable debutants is former Super Heavyweight amateur standout Kamshybek Kunkabayev [Камшыбек Кункабаев], who recently announced his singing with MTK. He is a former 2-time World Amateur Silver medal winner and is known for his amateur rivalry with Bakhodir Jalolov.
Details of their opponents haven't been confirmed but we are really looking forward to all 3 men making a statement in the professional ranks. previous Kulakhmet and Shaiken were matched really tough for their July dates, so fingers crossed they get a similar level of opponent this August date.
Although full details of who will the trio will be facing have yet to be confirmed there are now details of when and where the three men will fight.
Other fighters announced for this card include Abay Tolesh (5-0, 3) [Абай Толеш], Victor Kotochigov (11-0, 4) [Виктор Коточигов], Ray Seitzhanov (2-0) [Рай Сейтжанов], Issa Akberbayev (20-1-0-1, 15) [Иса Акбербаев], Saparbay Aidarov (4-0, 2) [Сапарбай Айдаров],Nurtas Azhbenov (9-0, 4) [Нуртас Ажбенов], Nurdos Tolebay (2-0, 1) [Нурдос Толебай] and Sagadat Rakhmankulov (6-1, 4) [Сагадат Рахманкулов].
The show will take place on August 23rd and will be promoted by MTK Kazakhstan in Almaty. The show will be held behind closed doors but will be made available world wide for viewers courtesy of IFL TV, ESPN+ and QAZSPORT
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)
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