By David Finger
It goes without saying that Kazakhstan is becoming more familiar to boxing fans thanks to the emergence of Gennady Golovkin as arguably the best pound-for-pound fighter in the sport. But despite the undeniable success of fighters from Kazakhstan both in the amateurs and as professionals, it seemed oddly difficult to entice those prospects into turning professional. Since 2004 three different Kazak fighters have won Olympic gold in the welterweight division in each of the last four Olympic Games. But none have elected to turn professional.
That is, until now.
Newly formed Australian based MJA Entertainment just jumped out of the gate with a major coup, signing 2016 Gold Medalist Daniyar Yeleussinov of Kazakhstan. Yeleussinov is one of the most accomplished amateur Kazak fighters in recent memory, having fought in the 2012 London Olympics before coming back in 2016 to win gold.
The 25-year old southpaw from Astana amassed a 246-14 amateur record, which also included a 2013 World Amateur Championship. Yeleussinov was one of the most sought after prospects out of Rio last year, but ultimately elected to sign with MJA out of Australia.
“I am very excited because I want to be not only a renowned boxer in China or Asia, but a worldwide sporting star.” Yeleussinov said of the signing. “I am motivated because turning professional is advancing to the next level. I love boxing and I want to become a world champion and be remembered as a legend.”
MJA head Mike Altamura indicated his desire to move Yeleussinov quickly, and to have him turn pro as early as May in China.
“I see him fighting for a regional belt by his second or third fight and contesting for a world title within two years.” Altamura said. “You don’t need to protect or go to soft with guys who have this kind of elite talent. You take gradual steps, which is the sensible thing to do, and give them a little bit of time to make adjustments to the pro level. It’s just a matter of giving him a little bit of time to develop. I have confidence that within 18-month of turning professional he will be ready and certainly within 24 months he will be ready to win a world title.”
The talented Olympian also seems to have a style that is well suited for the professional ranks, something not …read more