K-men shine in Kazakhstan

It was the night of the K-men in Almaty, Kazahkstan, on Sunday evening as some of the fighting nation’s finest talents showcased their skills on an MTK Fight Night in their homeland.

At the event at the slickly-named Tynyshpayev Academy of Transport and Communications, decorated amateur Kamshybek Kunkabayev (1-0, 1 KO) seemed to have a testing debut in prospect yet scored a second round, body shot KO of the experienced Issa Akberbayev (20-2, 15 KOs).

Cruiserweight Kunkabayev, who won silver at the World Amateur Championships in 2017 and 2019, plans to compete in the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics next year. 

World-rated lightweight Viktor Kotochigov (12-0, 5 KOs) also won via a body shot, halting the seasoned Andrei Isayeu (30-18, 9 KOs) in the third. 

Touted 154-pounder Tursynbay Kulakhmet, the last man to beat Israil Madrimov in the amateurs, sparkled on his debut, earning a fourth-round retirement win over Sagadat Rahmankul (6-2, 2 KOs).

The skilful Kulakhmet (1-0, 1 KO) dominated proceedings before Rahmankul’s corner pulled out their man before the fifth.

“Keep an eye on him, he looks special,” tweeted an impressed Michael Conlan after the Kazakh’s debut.

Another super-welterweight worth watching is Talgat Shaiken. The 19-year-old Kazakh, who won silver at the Youth Olympics, pounded out a clear win over the previously undefeated Berikbay Nurymbetov (5-1, 1 KO). Shaiken (1-0, 0 KOs) prevailed by scores of 60-53 (twice) and 59-54.