By Jake Donovan
Aliu Bamidele Lasisi (12-0, 8KOs) headlines the first-ever edition of Dubai Fight Night on ESPN+ , as he faces Nicaragua’s Ricardo Blandon (10-1, 6KOs) in a 10-round super flyweight contest Friday evening at Emirates Golf Club in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Lasisi—a locally based super flyweight originally from Nigeria—fights for the fifth time in Dubai. He turned pro in his adopted home country in 2015 and fought here as recently as last November. Friday’s clash with Blandon marks his first scheduled 12-round contest.
Local lightweight Majid Al-Naqbi (1-0) enjoyed a successful pro debut with a 4th round knockout over hapless Vladimir Lytkin (0-3), a Russian boxer based in Thailand.
Al-Naqbi won every round but seemed resigned to settle for a points win before enjoying a power surge down the stretch. The Dubai-bred debutant floored Lytkin with barely a minute to go in the fight, with the ending stalled due to the winless boxer spitting out his mouthpiece. It merely delayed the inevitable, as a right hook to the body sent him to the canvas for a second time as the action ceased at 2:33 of the fourth and final round.
Sultan Zaurbek (6-0, 3KOs) became the first to stop China’s Chenghong Tao, scoring a one-punch 5th round knockout in their lightweight contest.
The bout appeared destined for the scorecards as action was one-way but slow moving in favor of Zaurbek, a former amateur standout from Kazakhstan now fighting out of England. The bout ended in an instant, as a vicious right hook landed flush on the chin of Tao (7-6-1, 5KOs), who was laid out on the canvas as the bout was waved off at 1:16 of round five.
Shakhobidin Zoirov waited nearly three years after winning Olympic Gold to make his pro debut, but the diminutive southpaw didn’t waste any time once he entered the ring.
The 2016 Olympic Gold medalist for Uzbekistan needed just 18 seconds to vanquish woefully overmatched Anthony Holt (5-5-1, 3KOs) in their bantamweight contest. Zoirov (1-0, 1KO) ended matters with a straight left hand which at first glance seemed to graze the chin of Indonesia’s Holt, but enough to put him down for the full ten-count.
Opening the show, Cesar Mateo Tapia maintained his perfect record, enduring a few rough moments to stop Gaganpreet Sharma in the eighth and final round of their super middleweight contest.
Tapia (10-0, 6KOs)–an unbeaten Mexican super middleweight now fighting out of Australia—opened up to an explosive start, flooring Sharma in the opening round. The young prospect—who turned 21 earlier this week—continued to apply pressure but at the expense of nearly punching himself into mid-fight fatigue.
Sharma—an India-born prospect now living in Houston, Texas—had Tapia in rounds six and seven in seemingly having survived the worst of the storm. Tapia regrouped in a big way, however, pummeling Sharma (8-2, 4KOs) with left hooks to the body and an array of power shots upstairs until forcing a stoppage at 2:20 of round eight.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox