One of the biggest pro boxing weekends in recent memory for Kazakhstan started with the incredible return of unbeaten junior middleweight contender Kanat Islam.
It took less than 15 seconds for Islam to get back to form by knocking out Julio De Jesus at the Baluan Sholak Sports Palace in Almaty. The fight started with Islam throwing one overhand right that nearly sent De Jesus through the ropes and outside of the ring. After two more right hands, the referee stopped the fight and awarded the victory, and the WBO Intercontinental junior middleweight title, to Islam.
It was Islam’s first fight since a ninth-round stoppage win over former title challenger Brandon Cook in September 2017. Afterwards, Islam never returned to the ring after a number of injuries prevented his in-ring return and the inactivity caused him to be taken out of the rankings for multiple governing bodies. Islam is now 26-0 as a pro with 21 KO victories.
Also on the card was the return of 45-year-old former world title challenger Danny Williams competing against Ruslan Myrsatayev. Things didn’t go so well for Williams as Myrsatayev landed a big right-left combination in the fourth round that sent Williams to the canvas. Williams was on his knees but didn’t move for several seconds and the referee waived off the count. The loss snapped Williams’ five-fight win streak, the longest in nearly 20 years, while Myrsatayev improved to 6-0 in the pro ranks.
In other undercard news, unbeaten junior middleweight Madiyar Ashkeyev won a technical decision over Igor Faniyan after a clash of heads caused a cut near Ashkeyev’s right eye and the bout was stopped in the sixth round. Ashkeyev, the current NABF Junior titleholder at 154 pounds, is now 13-0 as a pro, picking up his third victory in 2019.
On July 6, Top Rank will have a card in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan that will feature WBC bantamweight champion Nordine Oubaali defend his title against Arthur Villanueva as well Kazakh fighters Ahnkosh Turanov and Viktor Kotochigov competing in separate regional title bouts. Weigh-in results for that card, which will be streamed on ESPN+, can be seen at this link.