It's fair to say that 2020 has been a very, very messed up year. We don't feel we need to explain anything there, but it really has been a screwed up year in so many ways. Despite that we do have some interesting boxing on the horizon. One of the most interesting things coming up is the debut of Tursynbay Kulakhmet (0-0), who appears to be getting a baptism of fire in the professional ranks in July.
The 26 year old Kulakhmet became one of the latest Kazakh fighters to turn professional earlier this year, signing with MTK Kazakhstan, and instantly those who followed amateur boxing knew the pros had just gotten another sensationally talented Central Asian fighter to get excited about.
Sadly it's almost impossible to come across full amateur numbers for Kulakhmet thought what is known is that he was a genuinely exceptional amateur and had been for years. He won the 2013 Asian Youth Championships at 75KG, and was among a group of medal winners that also included Kosei Tanaka and Israil Madrimov, who both won Silver medals.
A year later Kulakhmet took a Silver medal at the 2014 World University Championships, losing a split decision to local favourite Imam Khatayev. He took a Silver at that year's China Open in Guiyang and won the Agong Cup in Malaysia.
Following Kulakhmet maturing from a youth into an adult his success continued and in 2019 he had a stand out year. Firstly he won Gold at the 2019 Asian Champions in Bangkok. Along his way to that medal he beat Israil Madrimov in the quarter final and barely lost a round in the competition. Just a few months later he would claim Bronze at the World Championships in Yaketerinburg, losing in the semi-final to Filipino star Eumir Marcial.
Of course we've only highlighted Kulakhmet's international honours here, but unsurprisingly he was also a dominant force on the domestic amateur scene and it's due to his domestic success that he got so many chances to shine internationally.
Like many emerging Central Asian fighters Kulakhmet doesn't have a purely amateur style, even in the amateurs. He's aggressive, exciting, and has a real entertainers attitude in the ring with a hands down style involving lots of upper body movement. It's a style that works well over the short distance but may be tricky to maintain over 10 or 12 rounds. He's a southpaw who has an educated lead hand and a brilliant backhand that's sharp and accurate.
Whilst we wouldn't go as far as to suggest Kulakhmet is Lomachenko-esque, there are certainly traits of Lomachenko's style in Kulakhmet, and like Lomachenko you know you're seeing a special talent at work when you see Kulakhmet.
Although Kulakhmet is clearly a special boxer there are worries we have about him. One is his style, and whether he can fight with so much movement for 10 rounds or 12 rounds. If he can he is going to go very far, if not then it's going to be interesting to see how he accomodates. It could be that he just slows things down, which would would, or completely reworks his style, which would be much tougher. We also wonder if he can drop his hands as much in the professional ranks.
Those worries aside the Kazakh looks like a special fighter and in his debut, on July 18th, he's expected to be asked questions as he takes on Sagadat Rakhmankulov (6-1, 4). An impressive performance there could see him being put on a Madrimov-like race through the rankings to a world title.
With his amateur experience, his incredible skill level, and thrilling style Tursynbay Kulakhmet is a someone every fan should make an effort to be aware of before he makes his debut in a few weeks time.
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