Monday, May 20, 2024  |


Bakhodir Jalolov stops Curtis Harper in four rounds on Zepeda-Prograis undercard

Bakhodir Jalolov. Photo by Tom Hogan
Fighters Network

CARSON, California – Anyone who knows about Bakhodir Jalolov expected the undefeated heavyweight prospect from Uzbekistan to extend his record to 12-0 with 12 KOs against American journeyman Curtis Harper on the Jose Zepeda-Regis Prograis undercard on Saturday.

The only question was if Harper make could make it out of the opening round. The 34-year-old native of Jacksonville, Florida suffered a first-round knockout the last time he shared the ring with an Olympian, China’s Zhilei Zhang, in 2017. In 2018, his decision to walk out of the ring right before his scheduled bout against Efe Ajagba was about to begin went viral on Boxing Twitter.

However, Harper (14-9, 9 KOs) can be a tough cookie when motivated. He got off the canvas and gave Chris Arreola hell in an eight-round slugfest in 2015. That’s the version that showed up to face the “Big Uzbek.”

Ultimately, Harper was more pesky than gutsy against the 6-foot-7 southpaw, but he came to fight and lasted until the fourth round. Jalolov (12-0, 12 KOs), a 2020 Olympic gold medalist, dropped Harper hard with a massive straight left at the close of Round 3 and then ended matters midway through the following round.

“He was tougher than we expected,” Jalolov’s trainer Joel Diaz admitted after the fight. “Harper was swinging haymakers, so we told Bakhodir to take his time.”

Jalolov did that in Rounds 1 and 2, keeping Harper at the end of his long right jab and in line for his hammer of a left hand. Harper wisely moved to his left to avoid Jalolov’s power punch but was unable to land any of the overhand rights he lobbed at his towering opponent. Jalolov is surprisingly nimble and put his 81-inch wingspan to good use while playing matador.

The left hand that brutally deposited Harper in the red corner at the end of Round 3 was perfectly timed. Harper, who had been penalized one point for a intentional headbutt in Round 2, bravely got to his feet and remained on his feet during the rest period between rounds, but he never really recovered his legs. Referee Thomas Taylor did the right thing by waving it off after the second knockdown.

So, Jalolov went a few rounds. He’s yet to fight past eight rounds, but he believes he’s ready to face contenders.

“Everybody has his own timeline (to a world title),” he said with translation help from teammate Alik Frolov. “I think in maybe three to four fights, I will get there. I feel ready to box top-10 guys now. Hopefully, one of them can take me 12 rounds before I fight for the title.”

Good luck with that.