Uzbek hero Shakhobidin Zoirov is set to end the long wait for his professional debut and delight Dubai on Friday night.
The 2016 Olympic champion kicks off his career in the paid ranks with high expectations as he faces Anthony Holt on the stacked #DXBUncovered show at Emirates Golf Club – live on ESPN+ and iFL TV.
Rather than feel under pressure, Zoirov welcomes the extra scrutiny that comes with being tagged as a blue chip prospect.
‘Shakho’ said: “As Olympic champion, I feel my role in events like this is extra important. Expectations are high but I plan to meet all of them and achieve my own goals too.
“I enjoyed my time as an amateur and will always look back on my achievements with pride but the time as come for me to start making noise in the professional game.
“It really doesn’t matter who is across from me in that ring on Friday or any other time. I have the confidence of being an Olympic champion and a great belief in my ability.
“I saw my great friend Hurshid Tojibaev make a his debut with a stoppage victory the other night and I hope to put on a show like that for the fans in Dubai.”
Zoirov is joined on a stellar bill by several MTK Global team-mates – including Davey Oliver Joyce and Stephen Tiffney, who clash for the WBO European featherweight title, plus fast-rising Kazakh Sultan Zaurbek, hard-hitting Australian Mateo Tapia and more.
Local fans will cheer on several of their heroes with Nigerian-born Aliu Bamidele Lasisi bidding for the WBC International super-flyweight title against Ricardo Blandon and Larry Abarra, Anahit Aroyan, Majid Al-Naqbi and Hasibullah Ahmadi also in action.
Tojibaev turns pro expecting world title glory
Uzbekistan amateur sensation Hurshid Tojibaev is confident transferring his skills to the professional format will come easily.
The 28-year-old enjoyed phenomenal success in the unpaid ranks – competing at two Olympic Games and beating Team GB’s Joe Cordina at Rio 2016.
Having proven himself well capable of excelling over 12 rounds by claiming a World Championship title at the AIBA professional league, Tojibaev is brimming with self-belief as he begins an assault on the big time.
Tojibaev said: “Transferring my remarkable amateur success to professional boxing will not be so difficult. The differences will be interesting but no problem.
“I expect to achieve my dream and win a professional world title. I will make my dreams come true now I have the right management.
“MTK Global’s Mirko Wolf has already done lots to set out my boxing path. That’s why I chose MTK Global – they’re the best in the world and soon everyone will know that.
“As for Joe Cordina, I see he’s climbing the ladder as a professional and I saw him fight recently. Anything can happen and I’d be happy facing him as a professional.”
Tojibaev’s signing was confirmed alongside Olympic champion and compatriot Shakhobidin Zoirov and Kazakh standouts Sultan Zaurbek and Azhbenov Nurtas.
Kazakhstan’s amateur kings raring to go as pros
Elite Kazakh amateurs Sultan Zaurbek and Azhbenov Nurtas are keen to get stuck into action in the professional ranks.
Lightweight star Zaurbek enjoyed huge successes as an amateur; beating Olympic champion Robson Conceicao as well as Team GB’s Peter McGrail on the way to several medals.
Zaurbek said: “British fans should know about me already because I beat Peter McGrail in the World Youth Championships and have picked up medals at youth level.
“I’m a fast, heavy counter-puncher so my style is going to be suited to the professional game. I can’t wait to get started and I’m delighted to be signing with MTK Global.
“I’m keen to gain international experience as a pro as soon as possible. My ultimate goal is to become a world champion and a well-known figure in the boxing world.”
Nurtas – another lightweight – boasts a victory over Olympic champion Fazliddin Gaibnazarov as well as countless medals in one of boxing’s leading amateur national championships.
Nurtas added: “I’m so proud to be signing for MTK Global and I’m looking forward to a productive relationship yielding many titles.
“What I want most is to make Kazakhstan proud. It’s a country with a proud boxing history and I hope to play a significant part in continuing the traditions.
“Ultimately, I want to reach world level and I know with MTK Global guiding my career, we will get there together.”
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