As we write this, in early May, once beaten Jamshidbek Najmitdinov (16-1, 13), is pencilled in to make his US debut and with that in mind we thought we'd take this opportunity to discuss once beaten man Uzbekistan. He's not the typical type of fighter we look at in this "Introducing" series, but he's certainly the sort of fighter who deserves a lot more attention than he's gotten so far, and is definitely someone fans need to be aware of. Even if he is, now, the wrong side of 30.
In recent years we have seen a massive rise in fighters from Uzbekistan getting massive amounts of attention. Guys like Murodjon Akhmadaliev, Israil Madrimov, Shohjahon Ergashev, Shakhram Giyasov and Bektemir Melikuziev have all been getting rave reviews and a lot of time to show what they can do on in front of a main stream audience, with each of those fighters having become well known in the US. The same, however, cannot be said of Jamshidbek Najmitdinov who is a very obscure fighter, but someone who is much better than fans may realise. In fact with just a bit of luck, there's a good chance he would have landed a world title fight already, or at least seriously impacted the look of the Light Welterweight division of the last few years. More about that a little later.
Unlike many of those top names from Uzbekistan Najmitdinov has lacked two things. A major international amateur profile, and a strong backer able to get him fights away from Uzbekistan, where he has fought almost his entire career so far. He has lacked the backing to secure the fights he's needed to progress his career and become more well known, and that's been the major issue with his career so far.
Najmitdinov debuted way back in July 2013, on a show in Tashkent. The show featured just 5 bouts in total, and on the event the debuting 23 year old Najmitdinov defeated Botir Nosirov via a 4 round decision. Despite a win on debut it was more than 2 years before Najmitdinov was back in action in the pro's, though in fairness he did try to make up for lost time, fighting in 3 times in 2015, squeezing fights into October, November and December. Those wins saw him race his record to 4-0 (3) and he would notch another win in January 2016 to keep momentum building.
Whilst Najmitdinov was building up some momentum, and getting busy, his competition was absolutely terrible. His first 5 opponents failed to have a recorded win and were little more than a nuisance for the talented fighter who needed bigger, better tests. Thankfully they came later in 2016, as he took on the the sturdy Ismatullo Gulomov, whp extended Najmitdinov 6 rounds. He would then secure a fight against Mansur Abdumamatov for the Uzbekistan national title at 140lbs, winning that in 7 rounds to claim his first title belt.
Despite winning the Uzbekistan Najmitdinov would never actually defend it. Instead he would score two stay busy fights in early 2017 before getting his first international bout, over in Ukraine against former world champion Viktor Postol. On paper this wasn't just a step up in class for Najmitdinov, but a completely new game all together. He was going from fighting novices in Uzbekistan to taking on a former former champion in Kiev. Despite the massive leap up in class Najmitdinov gave Postol all he could handle, and them some, dropping the Ukrainian veteran several times, and hurting him repeatedly, whilst Vadym Lavrenets, the referee, did all he could to help Postol survive. Despite being beaten and hurt numerous times the bout ended in a disgusting home town decision, from the Ukrainian judges who all gave the win, by some margin, to Postol. Following this "win" Postol would go on to challenge the then WBC "silver" champion Josh Taylor and more recently the WBC and WBO world champion Jose Carlos Ramirez. Had this bout gone the right way there's a good chance Postol wouldn't have had those opportunities, and Najmitdinov could have been in the world title mix as early as 2017.
Sadly since the controversial loss to Postol we've not seen Najmitdinov land a fight of real note. His most relevant fight since was a 10 round win, in Kazakhstan, against limited Indonesian veteran Hero Tito, a 10 round win that has been followed by 3 quick blowouts back in Uzbekistan. The only thing of note from those 3 wins was was Najmitdinov winning the WBC CIS and Slovac Boxing Bureau (CISBB) Welter Title in 2019, hardly a massive achievement.
Sadly fighting in Uzbekistan for almost his entire career has meant not a lot of footage of Najmitdinov is available. Thankfully however a few of his fights are out there, including his clash with Postol and his clash with Tito. In both of those bouts it was clear that Najmitdinov was heavy handed, aggressive, strong, and powerful, but much a fighter who was crude around the edges. He's the sort of fighter who looks like he could be a nightmare for anyone, but that the best fighters in the division would counter, a lot. His shots are looping, they aren't the quickest or the sharpest, but when he lands, he lands hard. As with many of the current fighters from Uzbekistan there is some flair to his in ring style, and a sense of excitement, but a lot of work needs doing with him.
In 2020 Najmitdinov signed with Banner Promotions. The hope was that he would have made his US debut in 2020 but, of course, 2020 was not a normal year. As a result he's not yet made his US debut, but that is set to come on May 28th, as he finally begins to move his career forward and move towards some career defining fights, that are well over-due.
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