For this week's one to watch our attention turns to Uzbekistan and a show that will be shown on DAZN. Although not officially a world title eliminator it features two fighters who each have at least one ranking with a world title body, and on paper it looks like a mouth watering match up.
The One to Watch?
Israil Madrimov (6-0, 5) vs Emmany Kalombo (14-0, 14)
April 3rd (Saturday)
There are two huge reasons to watch this one. One of those reasons is the fact the bout features one of the hottest prospects in world boxing, and the other reason is that the bout is a match up between unbeaten fighters. In fact it's a bout between unbeaten punchers who have a combined 95% KO rate and the are not men who like to hear the final bell. As well as those two reasons it's worth noting that the fight is between two men both knocking on to the door of a potential world title fight!
Hard hitting Uzbek fighter Israil Madrimov is one of the most exciting, hard hitting, and talented prospects in the sport. The 154lb fighter was a stand out amateur before turning to the professional ranks, in 2018 and every bout so far has seen him facing fighters with winning records and being scheduled for either 10 or 12 rounds. He has quickly built a name for himself, and has scored a sting of solid wins over the likes of Eric Walker, Charlie Navarro and Alejandro Barrera. He might lack that A level wins, but he already has a number of B tier wins and looks ready for a bigger, more meaningful fight.
In terms of his style Madrimov is a stylish fighter who brings switch hitting and power to the ring. He has still got questions to answer, but appears to have all the tools to reach the top, even if there are still areas that need work. The key thing for his team, however, will be to challenge him. Don't let him have easy bouts and get bored. We suspect as he takes on better opponents we will see better performances from him.
In the opposite corner to Madrimov is South African based Congolese fighter Emmany Kalombo, who is sporting a perfect 14-0 (14) record and is looking for what would be a massive break out win. In fact if Kalombo won here he would go from being a fighter unknown outside of Africa to someone who would be on the verge of a world title fight. Saying that however he will enter this bout as a massive under-dog, and it would take a career best performance for him to win here.
In the ring he's Kalombo has proven to be a hard hitting, exciting, aggressive fighter. He's not the most technically sound fighter or a particularly polished one, though that's no surprise given he only had a very short amateur career and has been learning on the job. Despite needing to essentially learn everything on the job he's a more educated fighter than some would assume, and he's got a very nice jab with solid handspeed and he certainly understand what he's doing in the ring, even if he's clearly a work in progress.
What to expect?
On paper this looks like a really, really interesting match up. A match up that is worth getting excited about. Having also seen some of Kalombo's bouts it becomes even more interesting, knowing that the Congolese fighter can genuinely box and punch. He might not be a world champion in the making but he's not a scrub either.
Whilst we were pleasantly surprised by Kalombo's skill set we can't forget he's in their with Madrimov, a man who can clown all the best in the division. We expect to see the Uzbek clowning early on, but after a few rounds, and after tasting Kalombo's powerful jab a few times, we'd expect Madrimov to get serious and begin to work away on his man.
We don't imagine Kalombo will go away easy but by rounds 5 or 6 cracks will begin to show and Madrimov will go through the gears, forcing a stoppage later in the contest.
The bad news?
The only real bad new is the fact we expect many fans to downplay the ability of Kalombo, who really does look a decent fighter. He doesn't look world class, but he looks better than some recent world challengers, and could certainly mix with some success against the top 30 type guys that we often see being given shots.
As an aside, another bit of bad news is the fact that Madrimov's wait for a world title goes on, despite the fact he enters this bout as the WBA #1 ranked contender.
Takahiro Onaga is a regular contributor to Asian Boxing and will now be a featured writer in his own column where his takes his shot at various things in the boxing world.