By Peter Lim
Power-punching Medzhid Bektemirov (9-0, 8 KOs) faces perennial spoiler Zack Page (21-40-2, 7 KOs), in the main event of the latest Savarese Boxing Promotions fight night at the Houston Club on Thursday. Hailing from Dagestan in southern Russia, Bektemirov, 25, relocated to Houston in 2009 and immediately began turning heads with the bone-crushing power he packed in both fists. But his reputation as the Crushin Russian preceded him and he began having difficulty finding opponents willing to face him.
Earlier this year, Bektemirov signed with former heavyweight contender turned promoter Lou Savarese, who stages fight nights every other month. Bektemirov was supposed to fight Page in August but injured his bicep a week prior to the fight. He is trained by Savarese's partner Bobby Benton.
Despite having almost twice as many losses as wins, Page, 39, is a better fighter than his record suggests. Over the course of his career, he has derailed the undefeated fighters with records of 19-0, 16-0 and 8-0. Moreover, Page, of Warren, OH, has almost always fought in his opponents' backyards and claims to have been robbed by hometown decisions both in America and Europe. At least 15 of his 40 losses should be wins, he said, a six-round majority decision loss against Bektemirov's gym mate and sparring partner Cedric Agnew, 24-0 (13 KOs), in his last fight.
Page has fought heavyweights for most of his career but faces a naturally smaller man in Bektemirov, who fought as a light heavyweight in his last two bouts. Except from hearsay through the grapevine, he is unaware of Bektemirov's style or power and prefers to remain oblivious to it. But the one thing that Page is all too aware of is the improbability of winning a decision in Bektemirov's home court and he hinted at taking the outcome away from the judges.
"They say he fights like Mike Tyson," Page said. "I'm going to be his Buster Douglas."
Bektemirov tipped the scales at 188 pounds and Page at 192 at Wednesday's weigh-in at Hooters.