Hard-hitting Kazakh super featherweight Sultan Zaurbek (12-0, 8 KOs) retained his WBO European 130lb belt for the first time by stopping badly overmatched British opponent Ryan Wheeler in six rounds. The fight was a co-main event of the show, promoted by the MTK Global in Almaty, Kazakhstan's former capital.
Zaurbek, 25, pressured Wheeler, 28, from the opening bell. The British fighter, who has never fought out of the United Kingdom, and who has never beaten a live opponent, was in deep. He missed much, couldn't keep Zaurbek honest and was hit at will. The Kazakh fighter was measured but his angst upped when he suffered a cut over his forehead after an accidental headbut in round three.
Wheeler (16-2-1) paid a steep price during the next round. A huge left from Zaurbek wobbled him to the ropes, where he was soon down after a long combination. Up heavily the Brit was down again quite soon - this time after a big left uppercut. He was very lucky to survive through the fourth. Zaurbek took the fifth off, although Wheeler didn't get back into the fight. The end came at 1:36 of the sixth, when yet another Zaurbek's assault resulted in a smashing right hand, which pinned Wheeler helplessly at the ropes, where he was going down when the referee intervened. Zaurbek hadn't seen the very moment of stoppage - he had already been going to the ropes to start the well-earned celebration.
In a tactical affair, which resembled more a chess match than a boxing fight, welterweight Talgat Shaiken (7-0, 4 KOs) acquired a vacant WBC Youth 147lb title with a shutout over Volodymir Hordienko of Ukraine in a scheduled ten-rounder.
Hordienko, 21, was mobile and active, while Shaiken, also 21, boxed at a more measured pace. Shaiken's advantage was well punctuated but the Ukrainian fighter had his chances. Neither boxer was hurt in a bout, which was contested at a quite fast pace. At the end, all three judges saw it for the local fighter with identical scorecards: 100-90. BoxingScene had it closer: 98-93. Hordienko is now 9-4, 4 KOs.
Former two-time Uzbek Olympian (2008 and 2016) Khurshid Tojibaev (6-0, 4 KOs) coupled his own pretty boy look with somewhat fancy boxing to showcase his talent but was still tested solidly by the Russian veteran Pavel Malikov, until a left jab by the Uzbek resulted in the right eye injury for Malikov.
Despite being forced by a legit punch, the injury was - for some unidentified reason - treated as an accidental case. Thus the fight went to the scorecards after four incomplete rounds. Scores were 40-36, 39-37, and 39-37 - all three for the 32-years old Uzbek amateur standout in what seemed to be a technical (unanimous) decision. Malikov, 35, drops down to 16-5-1, 6 KOs, losing his fourth straight fight inside the distance. He was up for a good showing and a stern test for Tojibaev but it hasn't come into fruition.
In the ESPN+ TV-opener, light welterweight Ray Seitzhanov (9-0, 6 KOs) had been showing poise and skills for the third three rounds of his fight versus Uzbek Mansur Abdumamatov (now 6-5, 1 KO), easily outboxing his opponent. Then the lightning struck at 1:51 of the fourth, when an overhand right to the whiskers dropped Amdumamtov down - in delayed fashion - and then out of the fight, as the Uzbek was laying in pain. The Uzbek suffered his fifth consecutive stoppage loss after a promising start of his career.
Young featherweight slickster Aidos Medet moved to 9-0 (6KOs) with a convincing unanimous decision over tough Uzbek import Bakhyt Abdurakhimov (10-17, 4 KOs) in an eight-rounder.
Abdurakhimov, 33, is best known for three spirited losses to ex-WBA/IBO bantamweight champion Zhanat Zhakiyanov, all - on points. For Medet, 20, Abdurakhimov was his biggest challenge to date. Medet easily picked up punches, controlling the Uzbek from outside. His southpaw stance was kryptonite for the Uzbek fighter.
Medet dropped Abdurakhimov with three consecutive straight lefts in the third and dominated the rest of the fight, yet showing more skills than aggression or power. Final scores were: 80-71, 80-71 and 80-70 - all for the young Kazakh gun.
Lightweight Nurtas Azhbenov (12-1, 4 KOs) was forced to work hard for a spirited decision win over 2008 Tajik Olympian Sherali Dostiev over ten hard-fought rounds.
Dostiev, 36, hadn't boxed for eight years but came to the ring to get a win, not to lose to his Kazakh opponent. Azhbenov, 27, was there to erase his kayo loss to Isa Cheniev in his most recent fight. In a tactical collision between two southpaw fighters, Azhbenov tried to showcase his boxing skills and also to apply his height and reach advantage. Dostiev took some time to cut off the certain piece of his deep layer of rustiness and then started to give fits to his opponent. As rounds went by, Azhbenov's dominance got a bit more prominent and he has certainly bested his foe, specifically in the middle rounds.
Still, 100-90, 98-92 and 98-92 scores were a bit too generous for the home fighter, who was a right winner nevertheless. Dostiev gets down to 9-2-1, with 2 KOs, in his first fight since 2013.
Cruiserweight power puncher Yedil Kozhamberdiev (11-2, 11 KOs) made short work of hugely overmatched Turkish import Hamza Gunes (6-1, 4 KOs), who was stopped at 2:38 of the first. The 45-years old Turk couldn't sustain his opponent's bodypunching. Gunes was dropped thirty seconds into the fight by the left to the liver section, then was forced to turn his back on Kozhamberdiev after yet another power punch. The finishing touch was, however, a smashing left hook to the beard, which put Gunes flat on his back and out of the fight. The Kazakg fighter acquired a vacant UBO I/C 200lb belt.
Welterweight Nurbol Sultanbay (7-1, 4 KOs) engaged in a two-way boxing contest with determined countryman Adilet Dameshov (4-2, 3 KOs) and boxed his way to a majority decision over eight even rounds. Scores were: 78-74, 77-75 and 76-76 - for the more experienced fighter of the two.
In a battle of styles, smaller but faster and more technically sound super featherweight Bektas Kassenay (8-1, 2 KOs) outboxed and outsmarted lanky countryman Aldiyar Amanzholov (2-2, 1 KO) to grab a vacant Kazakhstani 130lb belt. The decision was unanimous for a smaller fighter, who danced around the bigger fighter with his hands down with a mean grin on his face. Amanzholov tried to impose his strength but missed a lot, had his nose bleeding by the mid-point and was relegated into the defensive shell for a majority of the rounds. Final scores were: 100-90, 100-90 and 98-92 - for Kassenay.
Essex's Jordan Purkiss moved to 2-0, with 1 KO, by dominating overmatched Kazakh Rakhat Makhambetsailov (1-5) in five incomplete rounds. The local fighter was game but aimed solely on survival. Purkiss dropped him several times during the fight but the end, which came at 2:06 of the fifth, had more to do with Rakhat's overall exhaustion than anything else.
In a close fight, Dilshat Nurym acquired Kazakhstan's light welterweight title by decisioning recent debutant Nauryzgali Nurmukhmetov (1-1, 1 KO) over ten. Scores were: 98-92, 97-93 and 96-94. Aneurysm is now 3-0 (1 KO).
19-year old Kazakh Alisher Nurtazin (4-3, 1 KOs) gravitated to the positive record for the first time in his career by outpointing debuting Tajik bantamweight Buzurgmekhr Iksanov unanimously over four. Scores were: 39-37 - across the boards.