The best boxing prospects from the 2016 Rio Olympics: Hasanboy Dusmatov

Before Rio, Uzbekistan hadn’t won a gold medal since Sydney 2000. But the central Asian nation is an emerging powerhouse in the sport. At the 2016 Games, Uzbekistan topped the medal table for boxing, with three golds, two silvers and two bronzes. Hasanboy Dusmatov was the man who broke  their gold medal medal duck.

Dusmatov was seven-years-old when Mahammatkodir Abdullayev won his country’s last gold in Sydney. “When I was a kid, I saw Abdullayev getting the gold medal,” he told Reuters. “At the time, I had a dream to repeat the story and get another gold for my country.”

Dusmatov strolled to gold in Rio without dropping a round. Not only did he achieve his dream, he also took home the Val Barker trophy for best boxer at the Games. Previous winners of the award include Vasyl Lomachenko, Roy Jones Jr and Teofilo Stevenson.

“You watch this kid and can’t believe how good he is.

While Uzbekistan was the most successful boxing nation in Rio, the country failed to put together a team for AIBA’s semi-professional World Series of Boxing (WSB) tournament until Season VI of the competition. Dusmatov was drafted in to fight for the Ukraine Otamans, until the Uzbek Tigers finally entered the championship in 2016.

He left the tournament with an undefeated record of 10-0 in the WSB, beating Cuban World Champion  Joahnys Argilagos on the way the WSB. and established a reputation as one of the hottest talents in the sport

The light-flyweight (49 kg / 108 lb) outboxed the talented Nico Hernandez of the United States in his semi-final, and Colombia’s Yurberjen Martinez in the final.

Dusmatov is an unpredictable combination puncher with great movement and an statue sense of angles. Fleet of hand and foot, he fights like he enjoys it and seamlessly mixes his punches from the body to the head. Dusmatov stands at just 5’1″, and what he lacks in power he makes up for in tenacity.

Shortly after the Games, South African promoter Rodney Berman announced that he had signed Dusmatov to a professional contract with his company Golden Gloves. Berman must have made an attractive offer. Uzbekhistan pays  $150,000 to every gold medalist, according to Voice of America.

The 23-year-old will make his professional debut in South Africa, most likely in December, said Berman, who plans to showcase Dusmatov at the Emperors Palace in South Africa in December, followed by three outings in 2017. Golden Gloves plans to move the the 23-year-old to flyweight fairly quickly. Waiting for him will be Román González, widely considered the best pound-for-pound fighter in the sport.

“You watch this kid and can’t believe how good he is,” Berman said. “Gennady Golovkin charted the course for Eastern Europeans becoming superstars in the west. We intend to do the same with Hasanboy, who is also charismatic and just a tremendous boxer. He isn’t amateur in the traditional sense, but a completely rounded boxer.”

The United States is a declining force in amateur boxing, but it remains the centre of the professional ranks, and the home of the sport’s biggest promoters. But none of them expressed an interest in Dusmatov. An Uzbekhistani flyweight will always be a hard sell, even if he was the best boxer at Rio 2016. Dusmatov will hope he can find a more appreciative audience in South Africa.

UPDATE: DUSMATOV DENIES REPORT OF PRO CONTRACT

Hasanboy Dusmatov has denied reports of that he has signed with Golden Gloves promoter Rodney Berman, according to Yuri Tarantin of Allboxing.ru.

Berman announced the signing of the Olympic gold medallist on the Golden Gloves website on 19 August

“I’m not familiar with this man and I don’t have any agreement with him,” Dusmatov said ten days later.

Dusmatov added that he intends to continue fighting in the World Series of Boxing and then defend his Olympic title at Tokyo 2020 before even considering a professional career.

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