By Peter Lim
In an intriguing youth-versus-experience matchup, undefeated Medzhid Bektemirov (11-0, 9 KOs) faces the toughest test by far of his career against Randy Griffin (25-3-3, 13 KOs) in a 10-round light heavyweight bout on May 9 at the Hilton Anatole Hotel in Dallas.
A transplant to Houston from Dagestan, Russia, Bektemirov's opposition has thus far comprised of the typical garden variety journeymen and palookas used to pad the records of up-and-coming prospects early in their careers. Griffin twice challenged Felix Sturm for the WBA middleweight title, holding Sturm to a draw in 2007 and losing a 12-round decision to the German the following year. But while Bektemirov, 25, has been active, Griffin, 36, has only had two bouts in the last four years, winning one and losing the other.
Bektemirov has never been past six rounds. Griffin has fought 10 rounds or more on seven occasions and has yet to be stopped.
Besides being 11 years Griffin's junior, Bektemirov also appears to have the size advantage. The Russian has fought as cruiser and light heavyweight since turning pro in 2009 while Griffin has campaigned primarily in the middleweight division. Both boxers stand at 5'11".
Trained by Dwight Pratchet and Bobby Benton, Bektemirov will attempt to extend a recent trend of Houston-based prospects stepping up and winning high-risk bouts early in their careers. On April 12, Bahodir Mamadjonov (13-1, 9 KOs) won the vacant WBA International lightweight title by stopping previously undefeated Angelo Santana (14-1, 11 KOs) in the ninth round. A week later, junior middleweight Jermall Charlo (13-0, 9 KOs) stopped Orlando Lora (29-4-2, 19 KOs) in the fifth round. Jermall is the identical twin of Jermell Charlo (20-0, 10 KOs).