By Alexey Sukachev
While the epicenter of local attention will undeniably be at the Olimpiyskiy Sports Arena in Moscow, Russia, where World Boxing Super Series cruiserweight final takes place on July 21st, one of the top Russian promoters continues what can humorously be described as the “Russian Invasion” to the United States during the same month. Or it’s better to be described as the “Russian/Uzbek Invasion”.
The World of Boxing, the promotional outfit led by Andrey Ryabinskiy, announced the last week four upcoming fights for their next generation to take place overseas.
Giyasov and Akhmedaliev
On July 14, former amateur standout Murodjon Akhmedaliev (2-0, 2 KOs) from Uzbekistan, will test his skills against durable Argentinean Luis Fernando Molina (7-4-1, 2 KOs), who went the distance against another highly regarded ex-amateur Michael Conlan in December 2017. The 23-year old super featherweight made his pro debut earlier this March. The bout takes place at the Florentine Gardens in Hollywood, California under Bash Boxing (Steve Bash) and PR Promotions (Peter Rasmussen).
On the same date but at the still TBA venue another Uzbek star is said to fight. Shakhram Giyasov (2-0, 1 KOs), 25, made his pro debut also in March, destroying 10-2 Nicolas Atilio Velazquez in just fifteen seconds. Giyasov’s next opponent hasn’t been yet defined.
Both Giyasov and Akhmedaliev made huge marks in the unpaid ranks. Akhmedaliev is 2017 Asian amateur champion and 2015 Doha World Championship silver medalist. He has also captured the bronze medal at 2016 Rio Olympics, stopping highly touted prospect Alberto Ezequiel Melian and losing only to gold medal winner Robeisy Ramirez.
Giyasov was even more successful, getting a silver medal at the same Olympic Games in the welterweight division (lost 0-3 to Daniyar Yeleussinov in the finals), then took top honors at both 2017 Asian and 2017 World championships.
Two weeks later another Uzbek talent Botirjon “Batyr” Ahmedov (4-0, 3 KOs) will collide with his biggest pro test yet in dangerous ex-WBA interim lightweight titleholder Ismael Barroso (20-2-2, 19 KOs) somewhere in Louisville, Kentucky (the event isn’t listed at BoxRec at the time). Despite being just 4-0 Ahmedov is already ranked #9 by the WBA at the 140 lbs. He dominated 33-10-3 Filipino Ricky Sismundo in March to capture a vacant WBA Intercontinental light welterweight title, then made his American debut the next month, stopping 18-5-1 Oscar Barajas in three.
Unlike both Giyasov and Akhmedaliev, Ahmedov has represented Turkey in Rio despite being an ethnic Uzbekistani. Fighting under the name of Batukhan Gozgec, Ahmedov reached the quarterfinal of the tournament before losing to Artem Harutunyan on points. He made his debut in 2017.
Barroso of Venezuela, fighting out of Miami, Florida, is an experienced hard-hitting veteran. The 35-year old’s biggest win was the fifth-round stoppage of heralded Englishman Kevin Mitchell in December 2015, which brought him the WBA interim 135lb title. He lost it half a year after that on a kayo to Anthony Crolla. In his latest fight, Barroso gave a stern test to Isa Chaniev but lost a relatively close fight on points.
Alexey Egorov (5-0, 4 KOs) is a 27-year old rising cruiserweight prospect, who can be the next in line of 200lb contenders from Russia. He made his debut on the same card, where Murat Gassiev has (partially) dethroned Denis Lebedev in December 2016. After four fight in Russia, Egorov made a prompt debut overseas with the first-round stoppage of 10-3 Luther Smith in March.
The next challenge can pose a much higher threat as Egorov is now slated to take on former two-division world title challenger Lateef Kayode (21-3, 16 KOs). Kayode had been an undefeated prospect for years, despite making a draw with future Hall-of-Famer Antonio Tarver and losing on the first-round TKO to Luis Ortiz, while fighting for the WBA interim heavyweight belt – both results being overturned, when both Tarver and Ortiz were found to have been used illegal substances. Kayode then ran into WBA cruiserweight champion Denis Lebedev and his first official loss (on a TKO) in November 2015. He is 0-2 since then, meaning. He is on downslide, opposite to Egorov who is on the rise.
The bout is reportedly set for July 28 in the States, though the exact card, city and venue were not revealed at the present.