Kanat Islam on Roy Jones Jr.-Bobby Gunn undercard tonight
IBF/WBA/WBC middleweight titleholder Gennady Golovkin is the current face of boxing from Kazakhstan. While he is not as popular as the fighter known as “Triple G,” unbeaten junior middleweight contender Kanat Islam is attempting to make a name for himself in the sport.
Islam will fight Robson Assis in a 10-round bout tonight at the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware. The bout will precede the main event clash between cruiserweights Roy Jones Jr. and Bobby Gunn.
Both fights will air on a pay-per-view telecast.
Like Golovkin, Islam (22-0, 18 knockouts) migrated to the United States, where he believes the exposure and sparring with contenders and prospects would benefit him in the long run.
The 32-year-old Islam currently lives and trains in Pahokee, Florida.
Islam was considered as a possible opponent for WBO world junior middleweight titleholder Canelo Alvarez before the popular Mexican fighter settled on challenging Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. Alvarez and Chavez will fight at a catchweight bout of 164.5 pounds on May 6.
Islam is ranked No. 4 by the WBA and No. 6 by the WBO.
“My people in Kazakhstan would love to see this fight,” said Islam. “My team wants to see it and I want to be in that fight. If that opportunity comes, I will focus and be ready for that opportunity.”
Islam may have to wait a while and move up to 160 pounds to one day face Alvarez, who is penciled to tentatively face Gennady Golovkin in September.
Tonight he faces Assis (16-3, 9 KOs), who won his first 14 bouts as a pro but has lost three of his last five bouts.
Islam is on the cusp of possibly becoming a well-known commodity in boxing like Golovkin. In his most recent bout on Oct. 29, Islam won a 12-round unanimous decision over Patrick Allotey before a crowd of over 18,000 in Kazakhstan.
“Fighting in front of my home people means more to me than anything. It was a dream come true to fight in front of so many of my people. We will return there to Kazakhstan and fight again (but) I don’t want them to miss the fight, on Feb. 17, that I have with Assis.”
Unbeaten Dagoberto Aguero (10-0, 8 KOs) squares off against Olimjon Nazarev (14-4, 8 KOs) in a six-round junior featherweight bout.
In a six-round bout, junior lightweight Frank De Alba (20-2-2, 9 KOs) faces German Marez (55-41-1, 32 KOs).
Francisco A. Salazar has written for RingTV since October of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper, BoxingScene.com and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing.
Struggling to locate a copy of THE RING magazine? Try here or…
You can subscribe to the print and digital editions of THE RING magazine by clicking the banner or here. You can also order the current issue, which is on newsstands, or back issues from our subscribe page. On the cover this month: THE RING 2016 Fighter of the Year, Carl Frampton.