A year ago, Shohjahon “Shoh” Ergashev was a little-known super lightweight prospect from Central Asia.
However, being able to punch holes in brick walls has a way of helping people remember your name and the Uzbekistani power puncher has taken the boxing world by storm this year.
With over 300,000 followers on Instagram and his brutal knockout videos on YouTube regularly getting over 500,000 views, 2018 is Shoh time.
Promoted by Salita Promotions, boxing’s Russian diamond mine, Ergashev (14-0, 13 KOs) has recently signed a co-managerial deal with TV executive turned super manager Mark Taffet.
He will be looking to further his growing reputation on December 14 in a 10-round showdown against Uganda’s Badru Lusambya (26-4-2, 24 KOs) in Krasnodar, Russia.
“I am very happy to be able to show my skills to my fans in Russia on December 14 and I am training hard for a great victory,” said Ergashev. “Nothing will stop me from realizing my dreams!”
The showdown against Lusambya will be Ergashev’s fifth ring appearance this year (4-0, 3 KOs). He started the year with an impressive nationally televised TKO 3 over then 18-0 Sonny Fredrickson.
“Shohjahon has had a tremendous year fighting both in the US and Russia on a consistent basis,” said Dmitriy Salita of Salita Promotions. “His skills, power and charisma are making him a star on both continents. I look forward to a spectacular performance against Lusambya to end the year.”
26-year-old Ergashev Ergashev is the current WBA International Super Lightweight Champion. His brand-new co-manager Mark Taffet says he appreciates the Uzbek’s willingness to take on dangerous opponents anywhere and any time.
“We are very excited that Shohjahon will be returning to the ring in Russia in what should be a tremendous fight between two knockout artists. The fans are in for a real treat December 14 as Shoh continues his march toward a world title.”
Oliver Flodin (4-0) and Abdul Khattab (15-2-1, 4 KOs) are set for a Scandinavian showdown on the undercard of Dina Thorslund's WBO Female World Super Bantamweight title defence against Alesia Graf on January 19 at the Struer Energi Park in Denmark.
Khattab, from Copenhagen, returns to the ring for the first time following his draw with Ronny Mittag on October 27, 2017 at the Sport and Congress Centre in Schwerin, and the 25 year-old is eager to prove he still has more to give in the professional ranks, starting with a victory over his Swedish rival Flodin.
"I've been keeping myself in top shape and waiting for the right opportunity," says Khattab, who is trained by Danish boxing legend Mikkel Kessler. "That opportunity is here now, and I'm looking forward to a great fight on January 19.
"Of course, there is always something extra when a Danish fighter meets a Swede. It gives me even more motivation, and I'm sure it will make for a great atmosphere. I have no doubt that my hand will be raised after the final bell.
"I've seen some of Flodin’s fights. He is a good young boxer, who is just starting to make his way as a professional. He was good amateur, but professional boxing is something completely different, and I am going to show him that.
"Fans can expect a good performance from me. I’m hungry, and I feel stronger than ever. I believe one hundred percent that I will beat Flodin, and then I'll be ready for a title fight in 2019. The time for fun is over, I’m serious now!"
Flodin, the 22 year-old from Jonkoping, has impressed since joining the professional ranks, recording four unanimous points wins, his latest against Nikoloz Gvajava on June 2 at the Swiss Life Hall in Hannover.
The Swede can expect a significant step up at the Struer Energi Park, but says he believes this is Khattab's 'last chance', and that his superior ring smarts will prove the difference in their eight-round middleweight clash.
“It's going to be a war,” says Flodin. “This is Khattab's last chance as a professional, but for me it's just a great opportunity to climb the ladder.
“I have met and beat many Danes as an amateur, and it will be no different on January 19. I expect to be smarter than Khattab in the ring. I've watched him fight, I know he comes forward a lot, and that will suit my style perfectly.
“I have great ambitions for my boxing career, and once I'm finished with Khattab, my plan is to target a European title fight in the next two years."
Promoter Nisse Sauerland says he is looking forward to this fascinating showdown between these two promising Scandinavian fighters.
"We are pleased to present this spectacular Scandinavian showdown on January 19 in Struer, with much at stake for both boxers," he says.
"For Oliver it's a big step up, and for Abdul it's a must win. It's a dangerous fight for both, and fans can expect a great battle between Sweden and Denmark."
Flodin versus Khattab is the latest addition to a stacked card in Struer. Local hero Dina Thorslund defends her WBO Female World Super Bantamweight title against Germany's Alesia Graf, while former European Champion Dennis Ceylan rematches Jesus Sanchez for the EU Featherweight crown.
Promoter Dennis Hobson has revealed that he is resurrecting his former promotional outfit - ‘Fight Academy’.
Some of British boxing’s biggest names have previously fought under the ‘Fight Academy’ banner – including former world champions David Haye, Ricky Hatton, Clinton Woods, Carl Thompson and Jamie McDonnell – and Hobson, alongside business partner Steve Crump, has ambitious plans to build a high-profile stable of fighters, while staging shows in the UK and abroad.
“When I was doing the bigger shows on the BBC, Sky and Sentanta, it was in the promotional name of Fight Academy,” explained Hobson. “So, it’s a brand that’s already been very successful. Some of the biggest fights I’ve ever promoted have been under that banner, and we wanted to relaunch it.
“Steve Crump is on board, who’s a real asset, and we’re starting to put a few projects together. We’ve got some good people behind us. Richard Towers is going to be involved, John Fewkes – who is training Kell Brook at the moment - is involved; we’ve got people like Adam Booth and Kerry Kayes in the background. And we’ve got ideas flowing about building up the stable of fighters. So, it’s really exciting, the team is coming together nicely, we’ve got the platform of Freesports, and it all bodes well for the future.”
“I’m very excited to be teaming up with Dennis to relaunch Fight Academy,” said Sheffield-based businessman, Steve Crump. “The future looks really bright, and we’re looking forward to putting on some exciting shows and making some of our fighters a household name. We want boxers to come and fight under the Fight Academy banner. We have no limitations about how far we want to go, and are looking at bringing world champions to the table, and developing our own world champions.”
“The first show under the new Fight Academy banner will be on February 22 in Sheffield,” continued Hobson. “We’ll have Tommy Frank on, potentially a Commonwealth Title fight that I’m working on, and also maybe a British Title. Ultimately, we’ll hopefully be doing ten shows a year, across the UK and also hopefully in Europe and in America.”