Olympic champ Abdullaev to fight for world title

21.04.05 - 5 years after his sensational gold medal at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia, Mohammad Abdullaev (Muhammadqodir Abdullaev) from Uzbekistan will challenge Miguel Cotto in a highly anticipated world championship fight on June 11 at Madison Square Garden of New York. „This will be a historical fight on an historical location“, promoter Bob Arum said. „Thousands of fans from Puerto Rico will fill the arena to watch Cotto and to watch the parade of the Puero Ricans in New York the next day.“

Abdullaev defeated Cotto en route to his gold medal (17:11), but what is this win worth when they meet again as boxing professionals with their way to the top so different? Abdullaev, the second Usbekistani after Artur Grigorian (WBO lightweight world champion 1996 to 2004) to fight for one of the most prestigious titles in pro boxing, has taken a wondrous journey. Born in Tashkent he chose the United States for his first steps in his professional career after the 2000 Olympics. It didn’t work out the way he expected, although he was victorious for a long time.

After being defeated by Emmanuel Clottey in 2003 he signed with Universum Box-Promotion, had his first fight under new guidance in Bayreuth, Germany. He headlined at a Spotlight Boxing event in Lübeck (live on Eurosport in 54 European countries), went to Las Vegas in April 2004 for another good tune-up fight (TKO win over José Feliciano) and delivered a tremendous performance and a 3rd round KO win over the strong Juan Alberto Godoy in Stuttgart earlier this year.

In Universum’s Hamburg gym Abdullaev is prepared more systematically for his fights than he used to. “His potential is enormous, we now realize that Mohammad has wasted some time in his career”, says legendary trainer Fritz Sdunek, 58, who prepares Abdullaev in coordination with assistant Artur Grigorian. Sdunek has a record of 80 world championship fights with more than 70 wins.

For the Hamburg based 31-year-old Uzbekian Abdullaev, ranked WBO #5, it will be the first professional world title shot.

„New York is the boxing capital of the world“, Abdullaev said. „After defating Cotto I will learn more English. And Uzbekistan will call out a national holiday.“

Abdullaev ran his professional record to 15-1 (12) by knocking out Argentinian Juan Alberto Godoy in round 3 in a defence of his WBO intercontinental title in Stuttgart, Germany, on February 15. He will now continue his preparation in a training camp on the German-Polish island Usedom.

The 24-year-old Cotto is 23-0 (19) as a professional and won the WBO title on September 11, 2004, with a ninth round TKO over Kelson Pinto. Since then he defended his crown twice, by knocking out Randall Bailey in round six on December 11 and by stopping DeMarcus Corley in round five on February 26.

„I closed the chapter of the Olympic Games“, Cotto stated. “Now I’m holding a world title in the professionals and will show Mohamed who is the real champion.”

In case Abduallev beats Cotto he would capture the first world title at 140 lb. for Universum Box-Promotion.

The event will be televised live by HBO in the US.

Next Internet Live Broadcast on

May 10, 2005
18:00 German time
12:00 US ET
09:00 US PT

Article posted on 21.04.2005

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