In a few moments we'll see Dmitri Bivol look to defend his WBA Light Heavyweight "Super" title against Saul Alvarez. Prior to that we've had an interesting under-card with a number of Asian fighters on it.
The first of those, competing on the preliminary portion of the show, was unbeaten Uzbekistani hopeful Elnur Abduraimov (9-0, 8), who put in a very impressive performance and dominate the previously unbeaten Manuel Correa (11-1, 7). Heading into the bout with an 11-0 record Correa was expected to put up a good fight, but he offered almost no challenge to Abduraimov. Correa was hurt early in round 1 and although he survived the round it felt very much like he going to be taken out, sooner or later. The power of the Anduraimov was simply too much, and in round 2 Correa was dropped twice early in the round, and hurt again late on with the referee waving it off with Correa proving to be too tough for his own good.
In the first bout of the main card we saw unbeaten Chinese Heavyweight Zhang Zhilei (24-0-1, 19) [张志磊] score an opening round KO win against the horribly over-matched Scott Alexander (16-5-2, 8), who replaced Filip Hrgovic at short notice following Hrgovic pulling out. The bout was a farce in many ways with hang taking control almost immediately and knocking out Alexander with a straight left hand through the guard.
The third of the Asian fighters on the under-card was Uzbekistani fighter Shakhram Giyasov (13-0, 9) [Shahram G‘iyosov], who was given a genuine test by the heavy handed Christian Gomez (22-3-1, 20). The hard hitting Gomez was a genuine threat though out the contest, and came ouit looking to land power shots, damaging the face of Giyasov early on. Giyasov was however the cleaner, more accurate puncher and in round 4 the accuracy paid off as he dropped Gomez for the first time. Gomez was down again in round 7, as Giyasov landed a gorgeous uppercut, showing his class and timing in the process. Amazingly however Gomez bounced back from that knock down to hurt Giyasov later in the round and had a solid 8th round, landing a huge uppercut part way through it. After a good round 9 for Gomez he was dumped on the canvas again in the first minute of round 10 as Giyasov put to bed any doubts about the scorecards. Sadly though despite dropping his man 3 times Giyasov continued to show a lot of respect to Gomez and didn't look to close the show in the final minutes, but did win a very wide unanimous decision.
On Friday in Tashkent we got a rare big show in Uzbekistan, with a world title eliminator and several top former amateur fighters in action, as well as a lot of controversy and some really good action.
Among the most notable names on the show was 2016 Olympic gold medal winner Hasanboy Dusmatov (4-0, 4), who once again showed he's a top, top prospect capable of being moved incredibly quickly, as he stopped Mexican Jose Rivas (18-13-4, 10). Rivas, who boasted notable reach and height advantages, was no match for the crisper, sharper, smarter and faster Dusmatov, who forced the Mexican to retire on his stool between rounds 4 and 5.
Another notable name in action was the highly touted Bektemir Melikuziev (8-1, 6) who bounced back from his shock loss to Gabe Rosado, by beating up Sergey Ekimov (18-4, 9), over 8 rounded. The rounds were all really 1-sided, with Ekimov doing little more than showing his toughness to survive. Ekimov was hurt numerous times, dropped in round 5, and had to rely on veteran moves to avoid having the fight pummelled out of him. After 8 rounds the scores were all clearly in favour of Melikuziev.
Another name familiar to US fans on this card was 2016 Olympic Silver medal winner Shakhram Giyasov (12-0, 9), who easily out pointed the tough, but always game, Christian Rafael Coria (29-9-2, 13). The tough Coria, who always puts in a credible effort and is one of the best "journeymen" in the sport right now, gave Giyasov a genuine test, but wasn't rewarded by the officials who saw this a near shut pout for the Uzbek.
In the main event of the show we saw a lot of controversy, was rising Uzbekistani Israil Madrimov (8-0, 6) became the first man to stop Michel Soro (35-3-1, 24), doing so in a WBA world title eliminator. This was a great fight through 8 rounds, with both men having moments, some fantastic back and forth and regular momentum shifts. Madrimov started well, before Soro came back into things, only for Madrimov to begin to take the fight on the inside and out do Soro, in what was Soro's type of fight.
Through round 9 it seemed like Madrimov was starting to get to a tiring 34 year old Soro, rocking him late in the round. He then followed up as neither he, nor referee Salvador Salva heard the bell to finish the round. The follow up attack saw Salva wave off the fight, to give Madrimov the hugely controversial TKO win.
The ending was then reviewed by officials who, unsurprisingly, didn't over-rule the referee. Interestingly the result seems set to stand, though Salva's mistake and the odd ending perhaps should have seen the men go to the scorecards, with the bout ending, quite clearly, due to an accidental foul. Despite the outcome Madrimov seemed to suggest he was willing to face Soro in a rematch, hopefully one that ends less confusingly as this one did.
Earlier today Matchroom announced their return to Uzbekistan, now set for December 17th at the Renaissance Hall in Tashkent. No only that but they almost announced that the card would be one stacked with Uzbekistani hopefuls, and feature a world title eliminator.
That world title eliminator will see Israil Madrimov (7-0, 5) [Исроил Мадримов] taking on French veteran Michel Soro (35-2-1, 24) in a WBA world title eliminator at 154lbs. On paper the bout is a major step up for Madrimov who is has looked class at times, but has also put in some frustrating and underwhelming performances in recent contests, and looks, possibly, like a man who may come un-done when fighting at a higher level. As for Soro he is a top class fighter, but at the age of 34 we do wonder if, or when, father time will begin to get to him.
Not only is the main event a great bout, but the under-card is also stacked with top Uzbek talent, featuring the likes of Shakhram Giyasov (11-0, 9) [Shahram G‘iyosov], Bektemir Melikuziev (7-1, 6) [Бектемир Мелиқўзиев], Hasanboy Dusmatov (3-0, 3) [Ҳасанбой Дўсматов] and Ikboljon Kholdarov (1-0, 1) [Иқболжон Холдоров]
Today DAZN took their focus to the Humo Arena in the Uzbek capital of Tashkent, for the biggest professional boxing event in the countries history. The event featured 8 bouts in total including some of the best emerging talent from the country.
Before the TV cameras were had already had 2 bouts in the venue. The first of those saw amateur standout Ikboljon Kholdarov (1-0, 1) [Иқболжон Холдоров] make his professional debut in impressive fashion, stopping and his opponent Kulwa Bushiri (13-6-1, 5) in 2 rounds. The second non-televised bout saw the unbeaten Sanjar Tursunov (3-0, 1) [Санжар Турсунов] out class Ivan Yukhta (3-2-1, 2) to a clear unanimous decision over 6 rounds.
The first of the televised bout saw 2016 Olympic gold medal winner Hasanboy Dusmatov (3-0, 3) [Ҳасанбой Дўсматов] battle against the very negative Muhsin Kizota (11-3, 5). From the off this looked like an horrendous mismatch, with Dusmatov dropping his man in the opening round. The knockdown was a solid one and saw Kizota resort to clinching and doing anything to survive. The second round was even worse for Kizota, who was dropped twice before the referee stepped in and saved him from further punishment. Whilst this was a solid win on paper for Dusmatov, it should be said that Kizota looked awful.
With this win Dusmatov claimed his first title, the WBA International Light Flyweight title, and took a huge step towards his first world tile fight.
The second televised bout saw rising Heavyweight star Bakhodir Jalolov (8-0, 8) [Баҳодир Жалолов] dominante the over-matched Kristaps Zutis (7-2-2-1, 7).
Jalolov patiently controlled the action behind his long reach and rocked Zutis late in the opening round, who appeared to be in survival mode very early. To his credit Zutis survived the first round, but was marked up as we ended the round. After about 40 seconds of round 2 Zutis was dropped for the first time in the bout, following a right hook-left hand combination. He recovered to his feet but was dropped again soon afterwards, from a left hand-right hook combination, and the referee quickly waved off the bout.
Sadly for Jalolov this was pretty much a cameo against someone horribly out of his depth. He now deserves a more serious role on a show and a more notable opponent. It's time his team steps him up, and puts him in with someone who will ask questions of him.
The third televised bout, which was a swing bout, saw former amateur standout Mirazizbek Mirzakhalilov (1-0, 1) [Миразизбек Мирзаҳалиловнинг] battle against Tanzanian opponent Tasha Mjuaji (17-8-2, 5). As with the other televised bouts this one did not last long. Mjuaji was down very early in the bout, slipped later in the opening round and was then dropped again, for the full 10 count. This was rather a rather shameful mismatch, even if it was Mirzakhalilov professional debut. He would have had tougher tests in sparring.
After several blow outs, and a long musical interlude, boxing resumed with a very interesting match up between Israil Madrimov (7-0, 5)* [Исроил Мадримов] and Emmany Kalombo (14-1, 14).
The opening round saw Madrimov coming forward, applying educated pressure whilst Kalombo showed patience and respect, looking to counter whilst circling and using the ring. It was a feeling out round, and very quiet but one that saw Madrimov showing a surprising amount of patience.
In round 2 we saw Madrimov move out of first gear, and look really solid, as fought methodically, landing numerous solid body shots. Kalombo landed one or two shots, including a good body shot, but was easily out landed during the round. We saw Madrimov again step up a gear in round 3, as he began to grow in confidence, letting his hands go more and showing some touches of flashiness as he continued to outland Kalombo and racked up rounds 3 and 4.
Despite Madrimov looking in complete control through the first 4 rounds he was left bloodied in round 5, with blood trickling from his nose, and he started to become more wild and reckless. He was also under some genuine pressure in round 6 as Kalombo began to show some ambition. That ambition carried over into round 7, though he was on the wrong end of a lot of punishment through the round as Madrimov landed some huge shots. The huge shots of Madrimov finally took it's toll in round 8, when he dropped Kalombo late in the round, with a good sharp right hand.
Having dropped Kalombo in round 8 Madrimov went for the finish in round 9 and to his credit Kalombo gritted his teeth and fought back, hard, despite being visibly hurt several times. Madrimov also seemed to hurt Kalombo again in round 10, though failed to secure the stoppage.
After 10 rounds it was a clear win for Madrimov, who got tested at times, and had to fight through adversity but was a clear winner, with all 3 judges having the bout scored widely in his favour. It wasn't a star making performance, by any stretch, but was a good, solid, 10 round win for the Uzbek, who has a lot of areas to improve upon. As for Kalombo he clearly lost, but he showed enough here to want to see again, and it'd be great to see him face some more notable names going forward.
In the final supporting bout, and the final bout we'll cover here, we saw Olympic silver medal winner Shakhram Giyasov (11-0, 9) [Shahram G‘iyosov] defending his WBA International title against Mexican challenger Patricio Lopez Moreno (28-5, 20).
This one started relatively quick, with Giyasov coming out like a man with a point to prove, and pressing hard, and landing some huge shots. By the end of the opening round Moreno was cut around the hairline and looking like a man who was in far too deep. Giyasov kept the pressure up in round 2 and dropped Moreno right at the end of the round. In round 3 Giyasov dropped his man for a second time, and this time Moreno was unable to beat the count.
On paper this looked like a good test, though in reality this was a very, very easy win for Giyasov who looked levels above Moreno from the opening bell.
Tomorrow in Uzbekistan we get the biggest professional show in the nation's history, and it's a genuinely stacked card at the Humo Arena in Tashkent. It features a world title bout, two major debuts, and several massively talented prospects all looking to progress their careers and move world title bouts of their own.
Earlier today the weigh in for the 8 bouts took place
The first men to weigh in were Ikboljon Kholdarov (0-0) [Иқболжон Холдоров] and his opponent Kulwa Bushiri (13-5-1, 5). On the scales Bushiri was 68.6KG's, or around 151.7lbs, whilst the debuting Kholdarov, a former amateur standout, was 69KG's, around 152.2lbs.
The second set of men to weigh in were Sanjar Tursunov (2-0, 1) [Санжар Турсунов] and Ivan Yukhta (3-1-1, 2). The first of these two on the scales was Yukhta, who came in at 89.4KG's, or 197.1lbs. He was followed by Tursunov who was 91.2KG's, or just over 201lbs.
The next set of men to do their weigh in were Hasanboy Dusmatov (2-0, 2) [Ҳасанбой Дўсматов] and Muhsin Kizota (11-2, 5), who appeared to be getting called "Mr Covid". These two men are battling for the WBA International Light Flyweight title. Kizota stepped on the scales first and came in at was 48.7KG's, which is around 107.4lbs. Dusmatov then hit the scales at the exact same weight.
The second debutant for the show will be Mirazizbek Mirzakhalilov (0-0) [Миразизбек Мирзаҳалиловнинг] who was part of the next bout to be weighed, along with Tanzanian opponent Tasha Mjuaji (17-7-2, 5). Mjuaji weighed in first and hit the scales at 55KG's, 121.3lbs, with Mirzakhalilov coming in slightly lighter, at 54.9KG's, or 121lbs.
The next guys to weigh in were the big lads, with Bakhodir Jalolov (7-0, 7) [Баҳодир Жалолов] and Kristaps Zutis (7-1-2-1, 7) stepping on the scales. And by big lads we really do mean big lads as both of these lads weighed in heavier than the two main event fighters. Zutis was up first and weighed in at 115.7KG's, around 255lbs, whilst Jalolov slightly lighter at 113.5KG's, the same as 250lbs. Despite Zutis being the heavier man he looked the much smaller man on the stage, and Jalolov looked about 6" taller than his foe.
The next two men to weigh in were Israil Madrimov (6-0, 5) [Исроил Мадримов] and Emmany Kalombo (14-0, 14). On the scales Kalombo was 69.7KG's, or 153.7lbs, and looked very calm and relaxed for the biggest fight of career. Madrimov also looked very cocksure and confident whilst weighing in slightly lighter, at 69.6KG's, or around 153.5lbs. One notable take away here is that Kalombo looked the much better man physically, and he towered over Madrimov when the stared down.
The penultimate weigh in was for the bout between unbeaten Uzbek Shakhram Giyasov (10-0, 8) [Shahram G‘iyosov] and Mexican foe Patricio Lopez Moreno (28-4, 20), who will be battling for the WBA International title that Giyasov currently holds. On the scales Moreno was 63.2KG's, 139.3lbs, whilst Giyasov was slightly heavier at 63.3KG's, 139.5lbs.
The main event of the show tomorrow will see unified Super Bantamweight champion Murodjon Akhmadaliev (8-0, 6) [Муроджон Ахмадалиев] defending his IBF and WBA "Super" Super Bantamweight titles against IBF "interim" champion Ryosuke Iwasa (27-3, 17) [岩佐 亮佑]. The challenger hit the scales first and he weighed in at 55.2KG's, 121.7lbs. Comfortably under the limit. Akhmadaliev also had no issues with the weight, coming in even lighter at 55KG's, or 121.25lbs.
Thankfully no one had to re-weigh and every looked in good shape. Whilst plenty of the bouts are expected to be mismatches the very majority of the B-side's looked hungry and have certainly travelled with the intention of picking up wins, rather than just making up the numbers against the very, very strong Uzbek fighters.
Related - Akhmadaliev and Iwasa clash at last! (Preview)
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