Hometown: Gazalkent, Uzbekistan
Weight class: junior lightweight
Height/reach: 5-foot-7 (170 cm)/66 inches (168 cm)
Amateur record: 268-23
Turned pro: 2018
Pro record: 10-0 (9 knockouts)
Trainer: Antonio and Joel Diaz
Manager: Vadim Kornilov and Alik Frolov
Promoter: World of Boxing
Best night of pro career and why: Abduraimov is most happy to have appeared on the undercard of a celebrated stablemate last year.
“May 7th, [Dmitry] Bivol vs. Canelo [Alvarez],” he told The Ring through Alik Frolov. “It was the biggest night in boxing in 2022 and I was lucky to be part of it in a good fight.”
Abduraimov faced Manuel Correa and stopped the previously unbeaten Cuban in the second round.
Worst night of pro career and why: The 28-year-old is an attack-minded southpaw and is largely content with how his professional career has mapped out at this juncture. However, he points to his fight against journeyman Sherzodjon Abdurazzokov, his only pro opponent to have seen the final bell, as a night that could have gone better under different conditions.
“I haven’t had bad experience in pros so far,” he said. “Beside maybe the fight that went the distance in Russia [in February 2021]. It was little harder to make the weight, as we landed in Russia 26 hours before the fight, and the time change from Los Angeles was 12 hours. I didn’t perform well in those circumstances.”
What’s Next: Abduraimov will face Daniel Garcia at the Auditorio Municipal Fausto Gutiérrez Moreno in Tijuana, Mexico, on Sunday.
It looks like the most difficult fight of both men’s professional careers, and the result will tell us about the Uzbekistani’s character. He’s accustomed to fighting overseas because of his vast amateur career, but fighting in Tijuana he’ll potentially meet a more hostile crowd cheering for their countryman.
“[Abduraimov] masters the ring with confidence. He’s always in full control.”
– Joel Diaz
Garcia (14-0, 11 KOs) turned professional in May 2019. All of the 20-year-old’s fights have been in Mexico, but this is a significant step up for “El Aleman.”
Why he’s a prospect: Abduraimov was a standout amateur. He won bronze at the 2015 and 2021 Asian Games and gold in the 2017 edition. He also claimed bronze at the 2017 World Championships and appeared at the 2020 Olympics, losing to Hovhannes Bachkov at the quarterfinal stage.
“All the Worlds, Asian championships, Olympic games, it all was great moments in my career,” said the seven-time national champion.
Abduraimov’s pro debut in September 2018:
Since Abduraimov began training in Indio, California, with Joel Diaz, he has been able to spar a plethora of outstanding fighters, including IBF/WBA 122-pound titlist Murodjon Akhmadaliev, Shakhram Giyasov, Radzhab Butaev, Batyr Akhmedov, Brandun Lee and Joseph Diaz.
Abduraimov feels a few things will help separate him from the competition.
“I know that I am physically strong. I believe that I am stronger than anyone in my weight class,” he said. “I have a good boxing school and amateur background. I believe that all this together will help me to become world champion very soon.”
Diaz, who has worked with Tim Bradley, Lucas Matthysse and Abner Mares, among others, feels Abduraimov has several key skills.
“He masters the ring with confidence. He’s always in full control,” said the former fighter-turned-trainer. “He’s disciplined and is mentally and physically strong.”
Former WBC junior middleweight titlist Sergio Mora, who now works for DAZN as a commentator, is familiar with Abduraimov and sees a considerable upside.
“He’s a highly skilled Uzbek boxer, just like Ahkmadaliev, [Israil] Madrimov and [Bektemir] Melekuziev — decorated amateurs that have transitioned into big punchers with excellent footwork, [using] intelligent pressure that breaks down opponents,” said Mora. “I can see him getting to world title quickly with his pedigree — he’s the goods.”
Why he’s a suspect: The amateur boxing scene in Uzbekistan is very strong and you don’t reach the top unless you are a well-rounded boxer.
However, Abduraimov concedes the professional side of the sport is very different from the amateur code in which he was previously very successful and he needs to continue to adapt.
“I just need more experience — professional ring experience,” he said. “With my coaches we are working on a more professional style, more tricks to be prepared to face the best.”
Mora feels there are a few small refinements that the rising fighter could make in his game.
“Work on more jabs to set up power and control the rhythm of the fight instead of always stalking, looking to load up,” said the former fighter. “And use head movement after exchanges.”
Storylines: Abduraimov grew up in the small city of Gazalkent, an hour northeast of the Uzbekistani capital, Tashkent.
“My upbringing was good; I’m from a regular family,” he said. “As a kid, I loved to spend a lot of time outside with my friends, running, playing soccer, watching TV, listening to music just like everyone else.”
Boxing was always a part of his life.
“My father was a highly ranked amateur boxer,” he said. “Since I was a little kid, boxing was part of my everyday life. I never really chose boxing; it chose me before I was born.”
His father is clearly and unsurprisingly a heavy influence on him.
“My boxing hero is my father,” he said. “He’s the one who taught me everything, from the beginning. He was the one who I would look up to growing up. He always was next to me when I needed him.”
He’s in a rush to reach the top and believes it’s not far away.
“Right now, my priority is first a world title at 130 pounds,” he said. “I’m not looking beyond this goal for now.”
Away from boxing, Abduraimov is a quiet, low-key guy who likes to spend time with his wife and daughter.
“I spend a lot of time reading the Quran; religion is very important for me,” he explained before showing his more playful side. “I like to sing karaoke.”
July 28 – Leonel Moreno – KO 1
May 7 – Manuel Correa – TKO 2
Dec. 17 – Jhon Gemino – KO 6
Feb. 26 – Sherzodjon Abdurazzokov – UD 6
Dec. 12 – Abraham Oliva – TKO 1
May 18 – Issa Nampepeche – TKO 4
March 23 – Dmitrii Khasiev – TKO 2
Nov. 10 – Aelio Mesquita – KO 1
Oct. 18 – Giovannie Gonzalez – KO 2
Sept. 29 – Aaron Jamel Hollis – KO 1
Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected].