By Peter Lim
Hard-hitting light heavyweight Medzhid Bektemirov (10-0, 8 KOs) headlines the latest Savarese Boxing card at the Bayou City Events Center in Houston on Wednesday, Feb. 20. A native of Dagestan, Russia, Bektemirov began dropping jaws with his concussive power almost as soon as he arrived in the United States in 2009. But footage of his knockouts made it to YouTube and it soon became exceedingly difficult finding opponents willing to fight him.
In 2012, Bektemirov, 25, signed with Lou Savarese and fought four times that year. Ironically, it was Bektemirov's aggressive bob-weave-and-explode mode of combat, eerily reminiscent of a fighter who needed just 38 seconds to stop Savarese in Glasgow, Scotland in 2000, that convinced the former heavyweight contender turned promoter to ink the Russian.
"I liken him to Mike Tyson," Savarese told The Houston Chronicle. "There are so many guys who are big and there are so many guys who are fast, but there are few guys who are big and fast. He closes the distance so well just like Tyson did. What people don't realize about Tyson was how fast he was."
Heavyweight Nagy Aguilera (17-7, 12 KOs) returns to the ring 11 months after his loss to Tomasz Adamek to take on Zack Page (21-42-2, 7 KOs). Aguilera, 26, pulled off a minor upset in 2009 by knocking out former WBC titleholder Oleg Maskaev in the first round but he was subsequently defeated by Sam Peter, Chris Arreola and Antonio Tarver, and has since been relegated to the role of gatekeeper in the heavyweight division.
Several up-and-coming prospects will also be featured on the card including featherweight Jerren Cochran (7-0, 3 KOs), lightweight Pablo Cruz (2-0, 1 KO) and middleweight Gianni Giambi (1-0, 1 KO), a fourth-degree taekwondo black belt and instructor.