Bektemir Melikuziev looking past Alan Campa, eager to face the best at 168
The unbeaten Bektemir Melikuziev insists that he is ready to face the best fighters at 168 pounds, despite having had only a handful of fights.
But, in the meantime, the hard-hitting Melikuziev will stay busy against gatekeeper Alan Campa on Friday at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California. The 10-round bout, along with the main event between middleweight contender Jaime Munguia and Tureano Johnson, will stream live on DAZN (8 p.m. ET/ 5 p.m. PT).
Melikuziev (5-0, 4 knockouts), who is originally from Uzbekistan and now lives and trains in Indio, California, last fought on February 14, knocking out Mexico’s Oscar Cortes in the opening round. Two months before that win, Melikuziev defeated Vaughn Alexander, a fight which also took place in Indio, by unanimous decision.
Campa (17-5, 11 KOs), who hails from Guaymas, Mexico, has been inactive since May 2 of last year, when he lost by unanimous decision to the unbeaten Erik Bazinyan. The hope is that Melikuziev can get some rounds in.
“We feel like this fight [against Campa] is a perfect way to come back from a break,” Aliko Frolov, who co-manages Melikuziev, told The Ring Tuesday night. “We have a good, world-class opponent who had four months to prepare and we hope to learn from each fight.”
Melikuziev has been learning on the job thus far.
“The [Cortes] fight ended quickly, but against Alexander I was cut because he kept leading with his head,” he told The Ring in a recent interview. “I decided to box the rest of the fight as we did not want to suffer any more cuts.”
Melikuziev has obliterated all of his opposition thus far, and has a knockout victory over former MMA fighter Clay Collard.
While he is not ranked by Ring Magazine, there are high expectations for him to be ranked amongst the top-10 next year. Frolov, along with co-manager Vadim Kornolov, are convinced of the powerful lefty’s quality.
“We are not being cocky, but we see him as a top prospect,” said Frolov. “We honestly feel like he is a strong, top-5 young guy in the world right now. Bektemir is the whole package, there is nothing he can’t do. He is not a contender yet, but we are moving in that direction.”
Melikuziev trains alongside an elite group of unbeaten fighters, including unified IBF/ WBA junior featherweight titleholder Murodjon Akhmadaliev, unbeaten welterweight Israel Madrimov, and junior welterweight prospect Shakhram Giyasov. All four fighters are trained by Joel Diaz.
Melikuziev was ringside in Miami, Florida when Akhmadaliev defeated Danny Roman by split decision on January 30 to win the world title belts. While he was not in the ring that night, Melikuziev also felt like a winner.
“Just seeing Murodjon win the belts, it meant a lot to me,” said the former amateur standout. “We all work and train together, and we cheer for one another. When one of us wins, we support each other. Watching Murodjon win was like we also won the world title belts. It also gave me the [belief] that I will win a world title one day, as long as I keep working hard in the gym.
“I’m grateful to have someone like coach Joel Diaz train me. I’ve learned a lot from him. He is a very important figure to me. I listen to what he has to say because I know he will take me to the next level, just like he did with Murodjon.”
Should he score an impressive victory over Campa, Melikuziev anticipates a breakthrough 2021.
“If everything goes as planned, we would like to come back in a big challenge next against [David] Lemieux, [Daniel] Jacobs or anyone who has a big name for a fight,” said Frolov. “We were offered to fight [Sergey] Kovalev or [Sullivan] Barrera and there was no question asked from us. We were ready to go to 175 [pounds], just to get the name and for Bektemir to showcase himself.
“Talking with Roberto Diaz and Golden Boy, the plans are to challenge for the WBA or WBO world title in late 2021. Obviously, we had some setbacks this year, as everyone else, but Bektemir was training and learning, so we are looking for a good performance from him.”
Francisco A. Salazar can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing
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