Wednesday, June 07, 2023  |



Shakhram Giyasov: ‘My goal is to conquer the junior welterweight division’

Photo by David Spagnolo/ World of Boxing/ Main Events
Fighters Network

When Uzbekistan’s Shakhram Giyasov touched down in the United States to formally begin his professional boxing career, he arrived with a message, an unambiguous warning to his fellow fighters in the junior welterweight division.

“I have arrived in the United States of America and plan to establish myself as the next great champion from Uzbekistan,” he stated. “My goal is to conquer the junior welterweight division and become a pound-for-pound champion. I set my goals high because I believe in myself and the team I’ve put around me. Together, we will go to the top.”

The statement sounded reminiscent of Ivan Drago’s introduction in “Rocky IV.” However, unlike the film, this is no Hollywood-produced joyride. The kid is here to inflict serious damage.

Giyasov, who turned 27 on July 7, made his announcement just months after capturing the 152-pound gold medal at the 2017 World Amateur Championships in Hamburg, Germany, where he was also voted the best boxer of the tournament. He also won a silver medal at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

Not only is Giyasov undefeated (9-0, 7 knockouts), he hardly loses rounds. The fighter that had the most success against him was former junior welterweight contender Emanuel Taylor, whom Giyasov outpointed over 10 rounds.

Judges Rudy Barragan and Pat Russell gave Giyasov nine rounds, while Chris Migliore was generous enough to give Taylor two frames. But that wasn’t even Giyasov’s finest performance.

Last August, Giyasov took on his toughest task to date in former lightweight contender Darleys Perez, who has fought former junior welterweight titlist Maurice Hooker and Olympic gold medalist-turned contender Luke Campbell.

It took Giyasov just 41 seconds to knock Perez out with a sensational lead left hook.

A sign of things to come?

“Without question,” Giyasov said through an interpreter.

All-time great and former Ring Magazine two-division world champion Bernard Hopkins once said: “The hardest type of opponent to fight in the ring is someone who has something to fight for.”

For Giyasov, it was the fight to escape poverty and the pursuit of glory that propelled him and a slew of other Uzbeks to choose boxing.

“There is no quit in us,” he said of the Uzbek people. “We are all poor kids from poor villages and families. We had nothing and now we are fighting for something.

“We are fighting for glory,” he added. “And most importantly, we are fighting for our families. It is in our nature.”

You might as well call it “The Uzbek Takeover.”

Among the other Uzbek fighters whom are a part of the movement with Giyasov include undefeated unified junior featherweight titleholder and 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Murodjon “MJ” Akhmadaliev (8-0, 6 KOs), junior welterweight fringe contender Batyr Akhmedov (7-1, 6 KOs), who represented Turkey in the 2016 Olympics, junior middleweight Israil Madrimov (5-0, 5 KOs) and super middleweight Bektemir “The Bully” Melikuziev (5-0, 4 KOs).

“It really tells you something about the level of the guys that come from Uzbekistan,” Giyasov continued. “We’re a very competitive team and trust me; we are going to be a force in boxing for years to come. This is only the beginning.”

On August 15, the next episode of The Uzbek Takeover will feature Giyasov squaring off against Francisco Rojo in a scheduled 10-round contest, in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Rojo (22-3, 15 KOs), 29, of Mexico, has never hit the canvas in his career and that has gained him respect from his future opponent.

“Rojo is a true warrior,” Giyasov stated. “He has never been down in his career and he’s a strong fighter that comes forward. That’s all I need to know. I’m preparing for a very tough fight.”

Giyasov added that he made his determination after watching several of Rojo’s bouts.

“I watched a few of his fights but the one with Ryan Martin impressed me the most (despite Rojo losing a split decision),” he continued. “Rojo is a very strong and durable opponent. He never quits and I respect that.”





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