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Training Camp Check-In: Bektemir Melikuziev

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The sport of boxing brings to light many different fighters from all over the world who have dreams of becoming a world champion someday.

The Republic of Uzbekistan has recently seen a group of fighters turning professional who have made a ton of noise in their respective divisions while not having that many pro fights under their belt.

Some of these fighters include Shohjahon Ergashev (18-0), WBA and IBF Super Bantamweight Champion Murodjon Akhmadaliev (8-0), Israil Madrimov (5-0), Shakhram Giyasov (9-0) and last but certainly not least Bektemir Melikuziev (5-0).

Bektemir “Bek-The Bully” Melikuziev is a super middleweight fighter signed to World of Boxing and Golden Boy Promotions.

With just five professional fights, he has already made a name for himself here in the Southern California region. He has big punching power and in my mind is ready for the world to know who he is right now.

On August 28th, live on DAZN, Bektemir will be fighting on the undercard of the event topped by a Jorge Linares vs Javier Fortuna battle. There will be quite a few people interested in the main event but also plenty eager to see if Bektemir can stop the veteran Alan Campa (17-5).

“Bek-The Bully” took time from his traning camp to speak to me about everything he has going on and what desires he has for the immediate future.

AG: Bek, thank you for taking the time to do this interview as you are currently in training camp preparing for a fight at the end of August. For the readers who do not know you, can you give them a little insight on who you are, where you are from and how it was growing up in Uzbekistan?
BM: My name is Bektemir and I am from Uzbekistan. I have a family that is made up of my father, mother and two older brothers. My parents are both teachers and I started sports when I was nine years old. I was always getting into fights and getting into trouble as a kid.

AG: How did you become interested in the sport of boxing?
BM: I am the youngest out of the three of us, and as a kid, I would always beat up my older brothers. We would get into fights all the time like brothers do when they are young and I would always get the best of them. My whole family was made up of athletes and my father always wanted one of his sons to be an athlete as well. When he saw how strong I was from fighting in the streets all of the time, he sent me to his friend who was actually a karate coach to learn to box. I started to do a version of boxing with the karate coach but even then, I wasn’t really interested in boxing. I really started boxing at the age of ten. The “Bully” nickname came from fighting and getting into trouble all of the time.

AG: You were part of the Rio Olympics in 2016. How was that whole experience from a personal and professional experience?
BM: Nothing but a great learning experience. Prior to competing in the Olympics, I was already a seasoned fighter and Olympic Champion with 150-200 amateur fights while also being twice named Asian Fighter of the year as a youth boxer. While competing in Rio, I gained a lot of experience and learned from it.

AG: With such a decorated amateur career, some say that you should be fast-tracked to bigger fights sooner than what most would with such little pro experience. How do you feel about where you are in regards to skills and experience?
BM: During my amateur career, many things went wrong, especially when it came to injuries. Thank God, in the last two years I have been feeling great with no injuries. I don’t want to sound cocky when I say this but I want a title fight as soon as possible against literally any of the champions at 168 pounds and then soon after 175! I want a title fight as soon as possible. I feel ready and my power, ring IQ and ring generalship is on the level of the current champions. As soon as the opportunity presents itself, I will jump on it as I am ready to fight any of the champions right now!

AG: Last year you signed a co-promotion deal with Golden Boy Promotions. What made you sign a deal with them and were their other promoters interested in signing you as well?
BM: It all started with my management contract. We then started to field offers from pretty much all of the promoters. The best fit for me was World of Boxing as I have friends who are signed to them and they always take care of their fighters. Then signing the deal with Golden Boy came from watching Oscar fight as a kid and seeing what they did with Canelo Alvarez along with them providing us the best offer in regard to money and terms of the deal. One of the terms in the deal was to get a title fight as soon as possible.

AG: Can you let the readers know how you came up with the decision to hire Joel Diaz as your trainer?
BM: The answer is pretty clear, they are some of the best coaches in the world. A lot of people don’t know that I am being trained by both Joel and his brother Antonio.

Antonio (47-6-1 record as a pro from 1995-2011) on the left, and big bro Joel (18-3 fighting 1991 to 1997), with backwards cap on, right.

They are great coaches as Joel has the world-wide name and Antonio was a great fighter himself. Personally, I fit well with them and feel very comfortable with their Mexican-style training. They like aggressive, come forward fighters who go to the body and that’s something I enjoy doing. I love to destroy the body. I’ve trained with other guys but no one compares to them. I also like the city of Indio as it is a calm, quiet place with no distractions.

AG: You are fighting on August 28th under the Linares vs Fortuna clash, against Alan Campa. What do you think about Campa, how is it training under COVID protocols and how do you feel about fighting with no crowd in attendance?

BM: The biggest difference in training during the COVID situation is that we can’t bring sparring partners from outside of the U.S. We would normally bring in Mexican sparring partners because they would be the only ones to gives us the good work. The other guys just wouldn’t give us the rounds. We now have to use local guys and switch them out every round in order for them to give me the necessary rounds. The fitness gyms are closed so we are training at a small facility. As far as the opponent, we got the best opponent we could. Campa is a guy who goes the distance and never quits. He recently fought two Golden Boy guys that were undefeated and went the distance with them so obviously they want someone that can give me the rounds. It’s great when the fans are there in attendance as it is exciting but as soon as I put the gloves on and get inside the ring, it doesn’t matter to me. I am going to hurt this guy the right way for the fans watching.

AG: Anything you want to say to the fans that will be tuning in on the 28th to your fight live on DAZN? Also, where can fans follow you on social media?
BM: Thank you so much for watching me. Gracias! All I want to do is make the fans happy that will be tuning in around the world and get them excited. You can follow me on twitter @BMelikuziev or on Instagram @bektemirmelikuziev.

My Three Cents: Bektemir Melikuziev is one of those fighters who has the amateur pedigree that could see him getting a shot at the title a lot sooner than those that are still requiring fifteen or so fights before determining where they are with their progression. The man best known as “Bek-The Bully” is not shy about expressing his intentions and wanting the big opportunity sooner than later. Is he biting off more than he can chew?

His opponent is durable and has taken the last two undefeated fighters that he has faced to the distance. Will Bektemir and his heavy hands put an end to Campa before the final bell or will Campa take Bektemir into deep waters in an effort to tire him out and win by decision?

Only one way to find and that’s to tune into DAZN on August 28th.

You can follow me on Twitter and Instagram @abeg718 and also follow @nyfights on both platforms.

About Abraham Gonzalez

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Born and raised in the Bronx (NYC), Abe grew up in a family who were and still are die-hard boxing fans. He started contributing articles to NYF in 2017, and his prospect watches and training camp check-ins allow fans to see who's next on the horizon and learn more about future stars. Abe, a supporter of all styles of fighting, as well as female pugilists, can be found on Twitter @abeg718.

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