Shohjahon Ergashev: ‘I love the training here. Everything in America is great’
In this day and age, right or wrong – and maybe it’s wrong; maybe it’s presupposing. Maybe it’s profiling but I will give a harder, longer look at a prospect coming from Kazakhstan, Russia or Uzbekistan over one coming from the United States.
Sorry, sue me…
When I saw that Shohjahon Ergashev (9-0, 9 knockouts) had been added to the November 11 undercard of a Long Island show topped by Danny Jacobs versus Luis Arias, I delved more into his background because, you know, profiling.
A better class of fighters, sometimes in skill, and even more often in temperament and ambition, are coming from over there, as opposed to over here.
The 25-year-old will be fighting for the first time in the U.S. on November 11. He is promoted by Dmitriy Salita, who is co-promoting the card at the Nassau Coliseum, with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing. (By the way, Salita making the ascent to this level after only three years on the promotional side is a story unto itself.)
“I started boxing when I was 10 years old and had 250 fights, most wins by knockouts,” Ergashev told me, through an interpreter. “I was on the Uzbek national team for six years.”
And how and why did he pick up the gloves? “My father loves the sport and took me to the boxing gym.” Common story, right?
His parents and three sisters still live in Uzbekistan and are no doubt missing their boy like heck. Why did he come here anyway?
“I am the best fighter in my weight class (junior welterweight). I came to the U.S., the center of the boxing world, to show and prove that I am the best in the world,” he told me. “November 11th is the beginning of a new age in the junior welterweight division!”
Well, well, well. Pretty sharp talk for a 9-0 guy! But, he does have nine KOs, so maybe his bite will match the bark.
I asked what the biggest cultural differences are between Uzbekistan and the U.S. and what he likes most and least about America.
“I love the training here; it’s great,” said the hitter, who lives in Michigan. “The trainers are amazing. I get great sparring and atmosphere where I am training now, which is at the Kronk Gym in Detroit. So far, everything in America is great. I love it!”
See that, how upbeat he is? He comes here and it is an improvement in many ways, from where he came. Many Americans are here and feeling, too often, mired in a malaise. Wages don’t grow; there are no retirement savings. Home ownership is harder to get than 30 years ago…so their demeanor suffer. This kid, and others coming here, are proud and happy for having done so.
“My trainer in Uzbekistan is Rustam Majidov; here, it’s Javan “ Sugar” Hill and Rick Phillips. They are teaching me lots of great new things. My promoter is Salita Promotions; Dmitriy is doing a great job with me. He delivered everything he promised, invited me to train in the U.S., gave me great training atmosphere and opportunity to fight and progress my career. I want to fight the number one contender and world champions, only the best. I only want to fight the best! As for my style, I learned boxing in Uzbekistan, so it’s Russian school of boxing but I am a big puncher and I am learning new things from training in America to add to and improve my overall ability.”
Your strengths and weaknesses?
“My strength is I am a big puncher. I train hard and will do whatever is necessary to win. I don’t have any weaknesses!”
See that, see why you may want to adjust your thinking, widen it out and see why so much talent is popping up here from over there? I need to see this kid live before I make up my mind but, at the very least, I’ve added Shohjahon Ergashev to my watch list.
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