Courtesy of Boxrec.com
Not all Asian born fighters fight in Asia and one such case is the Afghan born Canadian Arash Usmanee (20-1, 10).
Although Usmanee was born in in the war torn country of Afghanistan in the west of Asia he and his family would move to Canada when he was just a child.
It was in Canada that Usmanee would become a fighter and his talent was obvious as he won 5 national titles.
Usmanee now looks to become the first Afghan born fighter to claim a professional boxing world title* as he takes on talented Dominican Argenis Mendez (21-2, 11) for the IBF Super Featherweight title.
Although this is a big step up for Usmanee he's a fighter than many feel should have an unbeaten record and be viewed as a genuine contender. His run of recent bouts have been against a string of fringe contenders and his most recent contest, albeit a controversial loss, with Rances Barthelemy was a performance that showed Usmanee to be a fighter capable of fighting at the highest level.
So far in his career Usmanee has, aside from the Barthelemy fight, been a bit under-the radar. Despite this he's proven to be a tough, determined fighter, and although not a huge hitter he is technically sound and able to switch from head to body very easily. In fact it's fair to say his body attack is one of his most notable qualities.
The twice beaten Mendez is widely regarded as one of the world's premier Super Featherweights with most independent rankings rating him as the #2 guy in the division with only Takashi Uchiyama ahead of him.
Mendez is a technically gifted fighter who, at his best, looks like a very special boxer. He poses quick hands which have more sting on them than his record would indicate and of course he's very well schooled.
The schooling of Mendez has been a long and arduous task . He was, prior to turning professional in 2006, a stand out amateur with a reported 250 contests under his belt, including bouts at the Olympics, World Amateur Championships and Pan American championships. Although he often came up short, his losses were, on the whole, to tremendous fighters like Guillermo Rigondeaux, Aleksei Tishchenko and Juan Manuel Lopez.
Since turning professional Mendez has blown a bit hot and cold. At his best he'd give Japanese fighter Uchiyama a very hard night, at his worst he struggles over gatekeepers like Martin Honorio.
Although Mendez has got 2 losses on his record both were controversial. The first came via split decision to Jaime Sandoval in a bout where Mendez was certainly not at his best and the second came to Juan Carlos Salgado in Mexico, a man he has since stopped in very impressive fashion.
If Mendez looks like the fighter who stopped Salgado in 4 rounds back in March this is going to be a very hard contest for Usmanee. If Mendez blows cold and over-looks Usmanee then the Afghan born fighter could well score the upset and become the first man born in Afghanistan to claim a recognised world title.
With the fight being in Mendez's adoptive state of New York we expect him to have on his game face and put on a show. Unfortunately this doesn't bode well for Usmanee who will have to find an extra gear if he's to hold his own with an "on form" Mendez.
*Hamid Rahimi won lightly regarded the World Boxing Union interim Middleweight title in February 2012. It's fair however to ignore the WBU from being a "genuine world title".
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