Ali Akhmedov headlines ‘Hollywood Fight Nights’
The third edition of 360 Promotions’ “Hollywood Fight Nights,” from the Avalon, in Hollywood, will feature light heavyweight hopeful Ali Akhmedov, 11-0 (8). The 23-year-old native of Kazakhstan has had a few fights in the States but he’s an unknown figure to most boxing fans.
A couple of weeks ago, while at the Summit, in Big Bear, he was asked to describe himself as a fighter. Akhmedov stated through a translator, “I would say I’m a boxer. In my first fight in California, people will see me, and they will understand what kind of boxer and kind of fighter I am.”
Training at the Summit under the direction of Abel Sanchez makes him a stablemate of unified middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin, who Akhmedov lauded, “I always looked up to him early, and even today,” adding, “I’m fortunate to have the opportunity to train with Gennady, and I get some advice from him and, looking at his training, it’s very influential.”
On this day, Akhmedov also worked alongside undefeated lightweight Ryan “Blue Chip” Martin, super middleweight Alfredo Angulo and heavyweight Joe Joyce, who just joined the camp recently. It’s clear by his demeanor and work ethic that Akhmedov is a serious sort, one who is here with a clear focus in mind.
There’s a lot going on in the light heavyweight division. Recently Eleider Alvarez stopped Sergey Kovalev in seven rounds for the WBO title, while WBA beltholder Dmitry Bivol retained his title by defeating Isaac Chilemba over 12 rounds. Akhmedov happened to make the trek down the mountain to Legendz Boxing to get in a few rounds with Bivol last month.
“Dmitry is a very strong boxer; he’s a champion in one of the sanctioning bodies. I had a very good time sparring with him. I like to spar with good boxers,” said Akhmedov, who is paired with Jorge Escalante, 9-1-1 (6), tonight.
Akhmedov was signed to a promotional contract with Tom Loeffler’s company, and, while Loeffler hadn’t see much of Akhmedov previously, he explained, ”All I had to do was listen to ‘Triple G’ and Abel Sanchez, and if they give their stamp of approval, then then Ali’s OK by me. He’s a very hard worker; he’s training with Triple G. With this type of rigorous training regimen, then the sky’s the limit.
“He’s got a great amateur pedigree. Now we’re just working with Abel to perfect his professional style to make it more effective.”
This scribe asked Rian “King Hipster” Scalia (who literally knows more about foreign boxers – amateur and pro – than anyone on the planet) his thoughts on Akhmedov, and he said (via email):
“I have been high on him for a long time. I knew he was good by the end of 2015, when he fought Kazakhstan’s two-time Olympic silver medalist Adilbek Niyazymbetov, and got robbed in a big domestic tournament. He was 20 then. He went pro after that, first four fights were blowouts, then he started to fight some durable guys and got rounds, handled them easy. He beat Patrick Mendy in his sixth pro fight, Mendy is one of the best journeymen in Europe, and has been robbed against pretty solid opposition. Ali handled him no problem, went the distance.
“He’s trained on and off in the U.S. for a while at Mayweather Gym – remember, I showed you that video of him sparring (Caleb) Plant awhile ago. After that Mendy, fight he started fighting in the U.S., and handily beat some game, undefeated fighters. His opposition has been good for a guy that young, and with as many fights as he has. He hasn’t really been tested yet, and this was training with his coach in Kazakhstan the whole time.”
“He’s solid all-around, can punch and counter well,” Scalia continued. “Just needs to really professionalize his style more and I’m really looking forward to see how much he’s improved because he’s been at Big Bear since March. Sometimes he can try to be too cute on defense, doing shoulder roll and hands-down stuff and he’s gotta learn how to vary the attack and systematically break guys down. I think with Abel and being up at Big Bear, he’ll tighten up his game. Also he could probably make super middle without much trouble.”
So Akhmedov gets the Scalia Seal of Approval.
“It’s wide open for Ali,” said Loeffler. ”There’s a lot of opportunities for him. He’s in a great division, whether it’s 168, 175, and I think there’s some great match-ups and opportunities for him in the future.”
Sanchez has always made it clear that he wants offensive-minded fighters in his stable, and he said of Akhmedov, “When he came to me, he had spent some time in other gyms, and he was very selective with his punches, wouldn’t throw a lot of punches, and I wouldn’t want that in my gym. I wanted to make sure he understood that this is an offensive game first before it’s a defensive game, for me anyways. So we were just working on making sure of the volume of punches per round.”
Currently Ahkmedov is not rated by any of the four major sanctioning organizations but, for the time being, that isn’t really his focus.”I’m just working every day. I don’t want to rank myself or say what kind of position I’m at. I’m just working hard, and, in the future, it will show. My goal is to become a champion, and to be a unified champion. That’s why I’m working hard.”
So when does he feel he will get that opportunity?
“When my coach thinks I’m ready, I’ll be ready.”
On this week’s episode of “The 3 Knockdown Rule,” Teofimo Lopez and his father Teofimo Sr. join Mario Lopez and me in-studio – and they don’t hold back. Also Mario and I discuss everything else in the world of boxing:
This card (which begins around 6:15 p.m. PT) can be streamed at www.360promotions.us, with Doug Fischer and me on the call, alongside hostess Cynthia Conte…Also on this card are welterweights Brian Ceballo and Abraham Lopez in separate bouts…Caleb Plant has an injured hand so it looks like IBF 168-pound titlist Jose Uzcategui will be facing someone else in his first title defense…There are actually two cards at the Avalon this week, as Golden Boy Promotions has a show there, on Saturday night, featuring Joseph Diaz-Jesus Rojas on the launch of its Facebook Watch series…Golden Boy announced that junior lightweight prospect Ryan Garcia will face Carlos Morales on September 1, from the Fantasy Springs Casino, in Indio, California, on Facebook…Did you see the season finale of “Succession” on HBO? Had its own version of Chappaquiddick…”Who Is America?” on Showtime is cringe-worthy and hilarious at the same time…I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and I tweet (a lot) at twitter.com/steveucnlive. I also share photos of stuff at instagram.com/steveucnlive and can also be found at tsu.co/steveucnlive.