Bektemir ‘Bek Bully’ Melikuziev continues to prove to be far more advanced than his rookie record suggests.
The 2016 Olympic Silver medalist from Uzbekistan was forced to go the distance for the first time in his pro career but maintained his perfect record after outpointing Vaughn Alexander over 10 rounds Friday evening at Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California.
Scores were 100-90 across the board in favor of Melikuziev, who picked apart Alexander throughout the super middleweight affair.
Melikuziev had never been past four rounds in his young career, but opened up the bout with the poise of a seasoned veteran prepared to go the distance if necessary. The 23-year old Uzbek southpaw—who is locally based and trains with Joel Diaz—took advantage of Alexander’s methodically slow start, thoroughly outworking the St. Louis native and connecting with sharp shooting left hands to the body and head.
Alexander—the older brother of former two-division titlist Devon Alexander—fell into an early lull, allowing his less experienced foe to dictate the deliberate pace while remaining patient to a fault in looking for an opening.
That moment would finally come late in round four, when Alexander connected with two right hands amidst his busiest sequence of the fight to that point. Alexander—who returned to the ring in 2016 following an 11-year prison stint—picked up the pace in round five, at least by his standards after a dismal output through the four preceding rounds. Melikuziev handled in the incoming well—particularly in fighting past the 4th round for the first time in his young career—but it was the constant headbutts which proved to be a nuisance.
The frequent head clashes also drew the ire of referee Raul Caiz Jr., who issued a firm warning to Alexander that another would cost him a point after a borderline intentional infraction in round seven.
Melikuziev pushed past the frequent fouls to keep Alexander on the defensive. The stocky southpaw fought through fatigue down the stretch, but was able to connect with slingshot left hands upstairs to which Alexander didn’t have any response.
The final punchstat numbers truly told the tale, with Melikuziev outlanding Alexander 253-31 over the course of the night. It was a squandered opportunity for Alexander, who failed to capitalize on the momentum gained in an upset win over previously unbeaten Money Powell IV earlier this year as he falls to 15-4 (9KOs).
Melikuziev had been four rounds just once after scoring back-to-back 1st round knockouts to start his career. Friday’s win moves his record to 4-0 (3KOs), and likely to be fast tracked to contention in 2020 as to be expected from highly respected boxing manager Vadim Kornilov.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox