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".
Earlier today it was revealed that unbeaten Kazakh Tursynbay Kulakhmet (3-0, 2) [Турсынбай Кулахмет] would be returning to the ring on July 10th, in Almaty, Kazakhstan, where he will face 32 year old Ukrainian Stanyslav Skorokhod (20-2, 17).
The talented Kulakhmet, one of the standout Kazakh amateurs of recent years, made his professional debut last August. Since turning professional he has looked both brilliant, as he did on his debut, and frustratingly limited, as he did in his second professional bout, though it's clear he's a work in progress and is developing his professional style.
Skorokhod on the other hand is a 22 fight veteran who has a very nice looking record, at least on paper. In fact there's a genuine argument that he could have won both of the bouts he lost, including one in the 2015 ESPN Boxcino tournament to John Thompson. Sadly though there is little of real substance to his record, and his best wins have been against the likes of Artem Karpets and Michael Moore.
The bout will headline a notable MTK card in Almaty which will also feature the likes of Sultan Zaurbek (10-0, 7) [Султан Заурбек], who takes on Scotland's Ronnie Clark (21-4-2, 10), Talgat Shayken (4-0, 2) [Талгат Шайкен], who faces Russian fighter Alexander Sharonov (12-5-2, 6), and a string of other promising Kazakh prospects, who are yet to have their opponents for the show confirmed.
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 the great folks at Vesti.kz announced a host of details regarding a December 18th show from MTK Kazakhstan, which will be held in Almaty and feature a staggering 22 bouts!
In one of the main bouts from the show Kamshybek Kunkabayev (1-0, 1) [Камшыбек Кункабаев], a 2-time World Amateur Championship silver medal winner, will fight in his second professional bout. He will be up against tough Ukrainian Serhiy Radchenko (7-6, 2), who has gone the distance with some very good competition, including Krzysztof Glowacki - who he dropped, Michal Cieslak, Ruslan Fayfer, Aleksei Ergorov and Artur Szpilka, who he ran very close this past March. For a second professional bout this is a real test for the unbeaten Kazakh, who is fighting as a professional boxer to merely stay busy whilst awaiting the Tokyo Olympics.
Another notable name on the show will be unbeaten 24 year old prospect Sultan Zaurbek (9-0, 7) [Султан Заурбек], who will take on Ukrainian Vladyslav Melnyk (12-2, 7) in an interesting looking 8 rounder. Despite not having a title on the line here this is one of the most interestingly and well matches bouts on the card and looks to be a decent step up in class for Zaurbek, who is a clear talented but is yet to be given the tests to really know how good he actually is.
In an interesting all-Kazakh bout Nurbol Sultanbay (3-0, 1) [Нурбол Султанбай] will battle Miras Ertanov (2-0, 1) [Мирас Ертанов] in a minor title unification bout. Interestingly these two men both made their debuts earlier this year and have been fast tracked to title bouts, even if they are only for minor belts. Sultanbay will be looking to make his first defense of the WBO Asian Pacific Youth Light Middleweight title whilst Ertanov will be looking to defense his WBC Asian Boxing Council for the first time.
We'll also get a very similar match up between Torgynbek Amirov (2-0) [Торгынбек Амиров] and Alimzhan Tursunov (4-0, 3) [Алимжаном Турсуновым], who will also be battling for two minor titles in another unification bout. Amirov enters as the WBO Asia Pacific Youth Super Featherweight champion whilst Tursunov is the WBC Asian Boxing Council Silver champion, both men are looking to make their first defenses and become a double champion.
One other bout that is really interesting will see 20 year old Kazakh hopeful Talgat Shayken (2-0, 1) [Талгат Шайкен] take on 34 year old veteran Maxim Churbanov (8-7-1-1). The promising Shayken turned professional with a decent amount of buzz, and despite not shining in his debut, he looked a lot more polished in his second bout and this should be a good test against a 34 year old who has been mixing in good company in Europe, even if he has lost his last 4.
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