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The Duisenkul Shopokov Memorial Tournament takes place in the Kyrgyzstan capital of Bishkek from 3-7 February, the first main Asian boxing event of 2016. Named in honour of Duisenkul Shopokov, a Kyrgyz hero of the Great Patriotic War in the 1940s, the competition was first held in the city in 1976, and became truly international following Kyrgyzstan’s independence from the former Soviet Union.

Some of Kyrgyzstan’s greatest boxing icons, including Current Vice-President of the Asian Boxing Confederation Orzubek Nazarov, AIBA Junior World Champion Aibek Abdimomunov, two-time Olympian Nurbek Kassenov and 1989 AIBA World Champion Andrei Kurnyavka, have all been Shopokov Memorial champions, and last year the host nation won five golds.

Twelve nations from three different confederations, including Asian Boxing Confederation, European Boxing Confederation and African Boxing Confederation, will take part this year, with six of the ten titleholders ready to defend their crowns. Among the home-grown talent on show will be ASBC Asian Champion and WSB boxer Azat Usenaliev, who has an excellent chance of flyweight gold.

“I won the gold medal at the ASBC Asian Confederation Boxing Championships in Amman in 2013 and I had good results in 2014. To be honest, I was not in my best shape last year when I won bronze at the Asian Championships in Bangkok. Now I feel that I am more focused than ever after the long and successful preparations for the Shopokov Tournament and the Olympic Qualification tournament scheduled in China in March,” said Usenaliev before the start of the competition.

Russia and Azerbaijan will be sending strong teams to Bishkek, while Uzbekistan’s APB star Jasurbek Latipov is set to be Usenaliev’s main rival for the flyweight gold. The talented AIBA Youth World Championship bronze medallist Ikboljon Kholdarov makes his debut at the international elite level, and the UAE, Algeria and Iraq will send athletes to the tournament for the first time in its history.

Defending champions in the Duisenkul Shopokov Memorial Tournament

 49 kg: Rakhmankul Avatov, Kyrgyzstan

 52 kg: Zhanybek Musayev, Kyrgyzstan

 56 kg: Tanes Ongjunta, Thailand

 60 kg: Meder Mamakeyev, Kyrgyzstan

 64 kg: Ermek Sakenov, Kyrgyzstan

 69 kg: Makhmud Gaipov, Uzbekistan

 75 kg: Nursultan Zhanabayev, Kazakhstan

 81 kg: Georgiy Kusitashvili, Russia

 91 kg: Chyngyz Borbashev, Kyrgyzstan

 +91 kg: Bakhodir Jalolov, Uzbekistan