By Cain Bradley
The standout name in the division is Bakhodir Jalolov (Uzbekistan). He is the reigning world champion, improving on his bronze from 2015. Also the triple reigning Asian Champion, he has gone 6-0 as a professional. He is an awkward opponent, a 6’7 strong southpaw. He has quick hands and good footwork. At the World Championships in 2019, he was the best boxer in the tournament. It went viral when he stopped Richard Torres Jr (United States) viciously as people questioned professionals boxing in amateur tournaments. Torres is 6’2 and has explosive power himself, pressing forward on his opponents. The other boxer who also competed in 2016 is Chouaib Bouloudinat (Algeria), losing to Peralta. He is a short fighter, awkward to compete against as he ducks low to start combinations. At the African Games he went out in the opening round, losing to Yousry Hafez (Egypt). He uses his size and is patient on the outside, but happy to exchange with the opponent. The 6’4 heavyweight was the number one seed at the African qualifiers but disappointed, losing in his opening bout to Maxime Yegnong (Cameroon) who went on to win the tournament. He went on to win the tournament with his non stop aggression and solid jab.
The European tournament also saw the seeds disappoint as the top three all went out in the round of sixteen. The victor was Mourad Aliev (France) adding to his 2019 European silver medal. Born in Moscow, he is mainly a counter puncher relying on his speed and accuracy but at 6’7 is a strong individual. He is not the only boxer from Russia who will compete for other countries. Danis Latypov (Bahrain) has had over 300 fights and already gone 1-0 as a professional. He is an awkward fighter with good head movement. The actual Russian representative who will compete in the tournament is Ivan Veriasov (Russia). He is another southpaw who stands at 6’4 and upset Hovhannisyan in the qualifiers. He is patient on the outside and throws a lovely looping left hand. The man Aliev beat in the final was Fraser Clarke (Great Britain) who also has a European silver medal. He has been on the British teams for years and will be the captain at Tokyo. A smart boxer, he boxes with a pace that belies his sheer size. He is also the Commonwealth Games gold medalist from 2018. The man he defeated to take gold was Satish Kumar (India). He is a southpaw with strong combinations who has also medalled at the Asian Championships. The Asian who would be a serial gold medal winner if not for Jalolov is Kamshybek Kunkabayev (Kazakhstan). He is the double reigning World Championship silver medalist and the same in the Asian Championships. He is a southpaw counter puncher whose best punches are his straight shots.
The other Asian to compete in the tournament will be Siyovush Zukhurov (Tajikstan). Another intriguing contender is Tsotne Rogava(Ukraine). He is a kickboxing and Muay Thai champion who has also gone 1-0 as a professional. A calculated boxer, he picks his punches well and is hard to hit with a tight guard. He has twice lost to Jalolov, in the World Championship and the Strandja Memorial 2021 tournament. He defeated the number one seed in the European qualification tournament before going out to Mahammad Abdullayev(Azerbaijan). A slick mover, he is incredibly relaxed in the ring, dropping his hands and looking to land looping punches. Only 22, he was the European under-22 champion in 2019. Another impressive youth boxer was Danier Pero (Cuba) who was 2016 Youth World Champion. Only 21, he is a southpaw with fast hands and good defensive reflexes. Jamaica will have there first boxing representative since 1996 in the form of Ricardo Brown (Jamaica). He will be hoping to land his big right hand to keep him in bouts. He was the Pan-American Games bronze medal winner after going out to Cristian Salcedo (Colombia) who won silver. He has both fast feet and hands, with his right hand a dangerous weapon. He can be hurt though and was stopped in the 2017 World Championship quarter final.
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