Boxing legend Bob Arum has vowed that Kazakhstan boxing will go global following this weekend’s huge #MTKFightNight event at the Barys Arena in Nur-Sultan – live on ESPN+ in association with Top Rank and on iFL TV.
A who’s who of boxing royalty was in attendance at today’s press conference, including Arum, with the Top Rank founder and CEO making his first trip to Kazakhstan to witness the unbelievable night of action.
The main event of Saturday’s card sees Kazakh hero Zhankosh Turarov (23-0, 16 KOs) take on Mauro Godoy (31-4-1, 16 KOs) for the WBO Inter-Continental super-lightweight title, while WBC bantamweight king Nordine Oubaali (15-0, 11 KOs) defends his world title for the first time against Arthur Villanueva (32-3-1, 18 KOs).
Also on Saturday’s spectacular event is unbeaten Viktor Kotochigov (9-0, 4 KOs), who faces Jairo Lopez (24-10, 16 KOs) for the WBC International lightweight title, plus David Oliver Joyce (10-0, 8 KOs) goes up against Breilor Teran (27-17-1, 20 KOs).
Some of Kazakhstan’s brightest stars make up the undercard, including Ali Baloyev (8-0, 7 KOs), Sultan Zaurbek (7-0, 5 KOs), Nurtas Azhbenov (5-0, 1 KOs), Abay Tolesh (2-0, 2 KOs) and Hasibullah Ahmadi (5-0, 1 KO).
MTK Global President and Hall of Famer Bob Yalen was also part of the press conference, along with many more massive names, including Head of MTK Global MENA Region Ahmed A. Seddiqi, Head of MTK Kazakhstan Askar Salikbayev, MTK Global Professional Development Coordinator Jamie Conlan.
Here’s what was said during today’s press conference…
Top Rank CEO and Founder Bob Arum:
“We’re here because we recognize that boxing is a global sport. Many other sports, particularly in the United States, are sports enjoyed just by people in the States, such as American football and baseball.
“There are boxers all over the world that are competing at a top level, and in Kazakhstan there has been a great tradition of boxing. That’s why we’ve joined with MTK Global, to spread the word and give a platform in the USA with ESPN+ to this event that is taking place on July 6.
“We want people in the United States to be able to see what’s going on in this part of the world, and how many terrific fighters there are coming out of Kazakhstan.
“It’s not only the main event, but there are plenty of fights that will be streamed on ESPN+, so it’s a great opportunity for boxing. Together with MTK Global, Top Rank will be back here on a regular basis. I know from what I’ve been informed, the goal is to make Kazakhstan a really important destination for the sport of boxing.”
WBC bantamweight champion Nordine Oubaali:
“I’m very happy to be here for my first defence. I want to thank MTK Global and MTK Kazakhstan because this is a big fight for me and I’m excited to fight on ESPN+. I am ready for this fight on Saturday and I am really looking forward to it.”
“Thank you to MTK Global and Top Rank for this opportunity. I’ve prepared really hard for this fight. I know it will be tough but I am going to give it my best and I am ready to become world champion on Saturday.”
David Oliver Joyce:
“I want to thank the people of Kazakhstan for having me here, along with MTK Global and Top Rank. It’s an amazing fight card and it’s an honor to be a part of it.
“On Saturday I’m ready to show the world what David Oliver Joyce brings to the ring. I’ve been here before as an amateur and it’s a beautiful city.”
MTK Global President Bob Yalen:
“We’d like to thank everybody for this first fight night for MTK Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan has a great fight history and we’re here because of promoters like Top Rank who are recognizing the talent that exists here.
“Now with MTK Kazakhstan, we will look to further develop the talent here, by giving them opportunities and by helping the fighters use this platform given to them.
“Nur-Sultan will be on the world stage because of this card, and it’s great for it to be on The Day of the Capital City of Kazakhstan. It’s a brilliant opportunity for the world of boxing, and we’d especially like to thank the Minister of Sport and Culture and the Mayor of Nur-Sultan for allowing us to be here.
“We have a great fight card, featuring Nordine Oubaali defending his WBC world title against Arthur Villanueva, plus a fantastic card full of Kazakhstan stars.”
Head of MTK Global MENA Region Ahmed A. Seddiqi:
“This is a country with great potential for professional boxing. The amateur pedigree is there, now we’re hoping to continue the tradition with professional boxing.
“I’ve been coming here for many years and have seen all of the great boxers in this country, but they haven’t been given the opportunity to showcase their talent on a platform like ESPN+ and iFL TV.
“We are looking forward to a great future, and are looking forward to a great night on Saturday. We’ve had great support from people to help make this event happen. This is just the beginning.”
MTK Global Professional Development Coordinator Jamie Conlan:
“It’s great to be here in Nur-Sultan for MTK Global, and we believe Kazakhstan is one of the hotbeds of world boxing.
“That is now going to be unearthed by everyone at MTK Kazakhstan, and we will help turn the best amateurs into the best professional alongside Bob Arum, Top Rank and ESPN+.”