Bektemir Melikuziev , one of boxings best prospects

Bektemir otherwise known as the “bully” is a 23 year old prospect from Uzbekistan who has made an exciting start to his professional career. Having been a top amateur who won a silver medal at the 2016 Olympics he’s now progressing quickly in the pro ranks. he’s currently 3-0 with 3 stoppages, all from body shots which is unique by itself as most prospects and even most fighters head hunt and forget about targeting the body which can lead to easier knockouts. Bektemir doesn’t have this problem as body shots are the punches he focuses on the most and it shows in his fights where his opponents are left on the floor faces screwed up in pain as their insides are rearranged after receiving brutal body shot after brutal body shot.

Bektemir MeliKuziev

For me Bektemir has to be one of the best prospects in boxing, he’s young, was a top amateur and has a style suited to the pros. Not only that but a lot of the mistakes that fighters make hes already corrected long ago. Unlike many fighters that have turned over from the amateurs he isn’t to light on his feet trying to win rounds and not the fight but at the same time he doesn’t stand in front of his opponent and take turns throwing punches. He punches while they punch and doesn’t headhunt, he works the body which most prospects and fighters in general don’t do which is a real shame because the body is almost always weaker than the head. As shown when GGG was hurt by Derevyanchenko to the body. GGG has one of the best chins in boxing but even he can be weak to the body, this is why I like when prospects and fighters use consistent body shots to break down their opponents. It works so well but it seems like its almost a forgotten art form in boxing today.

Bektemir’s style is very unique in that its so focused around stopping his opponents with body shots while most other styles use attacks to the body to open up opportunities to punch to the head. I’m not sure I’ve seen a fighter so dedicated to body shots other than Bektemir and this makes his style exciting because he saps their energy and then breaks their will to continue as he rearranges their internal organs with well placed shots. His style of fighting also means hes unlikely to be schooled by a bigger fighter trying to jab their way to a victory because with his consistent punches to the body he takes away his opponents ability to move around the ring which will enable him to get in range and really let his hands go vs some of the massive super middleweights we have at the moment. Overall he fights in a fan friendly style which is also very effective in the ring against almost all other styles whether they be boxers or pure punchers.

In Bektemirs first professional fight vs Martin Fidel Rios he still had some amateur habits and jumped around a lot without throwing many punches, he was jumping to the sides of his opponent looking for angles but not throwing punches until he landed a superb body shot that crumpled Martin face first to the canvas where the ref wisely waved it off. This was a good performance for his debut as it showed his power and how much he likes punching to the body, Martin had only been stopped 4 times in 47 fights before Bektemir destroyed him in a round.

Martin crumples to the canvas after a vicious body shot

In his second fight Bektemir faced Ricardo Adrian Luna Flores. Flores had previously gone the distance with names such as Ryota Murata and D’Mitrius Ballard but to be fair these had been at a lower weight and 2 fights before this fight he had been stopped in 5 rounds by Erik Bazinyan who is a top super middleweight prospect. This makes Bektemir’s destruction of Flores in the first round even more impressive. He used the angles he made much more effectively in this fight and again it was well placed power shots to the body which put Flores down twice.

Flores collapses to the floor for the second time.

In his third fight vs Clay Collard a guy who had never been stopped and had been on a run of upsetting prospects he dominated yet again. He constantly pressured Collard and whenever Collard went to throw a shot he’d be countered to the body and head. Bektemir cut off the ring well and didn’t follow Collard which lots of prospects do when they are trying to chase their opponents down. By the end of the third round you could tell that Collard was exhausted and hurt by the constant attacks to the body and that was confirmed in the 4th when he was dropped twice by bodyshots before the fight was waved off. I thought this was Bektemir’s best performance so far due to how he didn’t rush his work and stayed dedicated to damaging Collards body even though Collard put up much more resistance than most of his opponents have.

Collard takes a knee for the second time.

He’s currently fighting at Light Heavyweight though it seems that they eventually want him to be at super middleweight. I think he can win titles at both weights if he gets the opportunities but unfortunately I think he’ll be avoided by fighters as he’s a high risk low reward type of fighter at the moment. His team are ambitious as shown by the caliber of opposition he’s faced in his 3 fights and who he’s fighting next. Vaughn Alexander (his next opponent) is a veteran having competed since 2004. He hadn’t been active at all until relatively recently due to serving a long prison sentence. He’s fought some other very good prospects such as Anthony Sims Jr and Janibek Alimkhanuly and most recently Money Powel IV. He gave all 3 problems and actually beat Powel in quite a big upset. He’s a good fighter and a very good step up for Bektemir who is fighting him in only his fourth fight. If he is able to stop or completely dominate Vaughn it will be a big statement to the rest of the boxing world that the Bek Bully has arrived and he’s on the hunt for world titles.

Vaughn is a tough rugged fighter whos not scared to use rough house tactics to win fights as shown in the Anthony Sims Jr fight where he repeatedly punched Sims Jr behind the head and below the belt. Vaughn normally throws single shots and will only really throw combinations when his opponent stands in front of him which Bek likely won’t do because of his amateur pedigree. Because Vaughn doesn’t throw combinations and he’s not all that active he can be outworked by anybody willing to let their hands go. This sometimes works in Vaughn’s favour because as his opponents are letting their hands go he throws massive single shot counters which if they land cleanly will do damage and likely put the prospect on the floor. Unfortunately for him these shots are easy to see coming and the top prospects should be able to get out of the way and then counter themselves because of how open Vaughn is when he throws these big shots.

Bektemir can win this fight by using his superior footwork to dart in and out of range while letting his hands go against the more flat footed Vaughn Alexander. Bektemir should also use his footwork to set up different angles for his punches and continue with his focus on body shots as I think this is the key to him securing a late stoppage against Vaughn. If he doesn’t attack the body likes hes done in his previous fights then this will likely go 10 rounds and Vaughn will push Bektemir a lot more than if Bektemir sticks to his current body focused boxing style.

Bektemir can lose this fight if he lets Vaughn push him back to much and he doesn’t use his footwork to get off the ropes and out of the corners which is where Vaughn will have the best chance of catching him with a good shot. If he switches off or gets too confident then Vaughn could catch him with a big counter and it could be all over. The most important thing for him to do in this fight is to not stand in front of Vaughn and let him throw his combinations because thats when Vaughn is at his most dangerous.

If he uses his superior footwork to create angles and continues his reign of terror on his opponents body then he can get a stoppage late. If he doesn’t then I expect him to win a hard fought decision over 10 rounds. Either way I’m extremely excited for this fight and the rest of his career where I can see him winning multiple titles and being a real menace to the Super Middleweight division.

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