In recent years we've seen Kazakh fighters begin to make a bigger and more significant mark on the professional boxing scene than ever before. The charge, lead by Gennady Golovkin, has seen the likes of Beibut Shumenov and Zhanat Zhakiyanov winning world titles and an emerging number of prospects. Among those prospects are notable names, like Daniyar Yeleussinov, Aidos Yerbossybuly, Sadriddin Akhmedov, Zhan Kossobutskiy and Batyrzhan Jukembayev along with a host of lesser known hopefuls.
Later this month we expect to see another Kazakh hopeful begin his professional journey, which was actually pencilled in to begin late last year before the bout was cancelled very close to fight time.
That is 28 year old Darkhan Zhumsakbayev (0-0), who is pencilled in to debut on February 12th in Florida.
Like many Kazakh's who turn professional Zhumsakbayev had a very long and notable amateur career. He was never banging on the doors for the big global championships, in part due to the depth of talent coming out of the country, but was regularly seen in international tournaments, racking up serious experience in the unpaid ranks. It's due to that experience that his, eventual, professional debut is something to get excited about.
As a fighter Zhumsakbayev has been making his name on the Kazakh scene for years, though was often regarded as the #3 or #4 in his homeland, where there really has been stiff competition over the last decade or so.
We obviously won't go through all of Zhumsakbayev's amateur achievements, but we will go some of the highlights, and show just how long he has been on the radar of those who follow the Kazakh amateur scene.
One of his earliest highlights was in 2009, when Zhumsakbayev won the Kazakh Youth Championships. The following year he reached the last 16 at the World Youth Championships. Sadly as he began to compete at senior level he found himself up against stiff competition and ended up struggling to win at the highest levels of domestic competition. Despite that he was a losing finalist in 2013 Kazakh national Championships and and twice lost in the semi-finals showing how consistent he was on the domestic scene.
Zhumsakbayev's good showings in domestic competition saw him getting the chance to compete in various international competitions such as the "President's Cup" in 2014, where he lost to Filipino Charlie Suarez, and the 2015 World Cup of Petroleum Countries, where he was the losing finalist. Incidentally that same tournament also had the brilliant Christian M'Billi taking home a silver medal along with Serge Michel.
Despite competing, a lot, as an amateur relatively recent footage of Zhumsakbayev is rather scarce. Thankfully however there is some decent quality footage from some older tournaments, including a bout with Thai Sailom Ardee from 2015. In that bout Zhumsakbayev looked a little bit under-sized but showcased a lot to like, with an aggressive mindset, a lot of head movement and actually managed to upset the Thai at home. In other bouts he was also a high energy and aggressive fighter, who looked like he had a style very much suited to the professional ranks.
Sadly we're not sure how Zhumsakbayev will look now, a few years on from that win, but a result like that shows what he can do, and the style he showed in that bout was certainly fan friendly. With that in mind we are looking forward to his debut.
Sadly at the age of 28 the Featherweight will have to be moved quickly, though with his extensive amateur background that shouldn't be an issue. The fact he's going to debut in a 6 rounder is a good sign that he, and his team, may well feel he has the background to be matched well this year and fingers crossed in 2022 and 2023 we begin to see him in with some noteworthy names, before father time starts to get his mitts on Zhumsakbayev.
This is just an opinion, maaaan! It's easy to share our opinions, and that's what you'll find here, some random opinion pieces