Following an unexpected loss to Japan's Ryota Murata at the 16th edition of the AIBA World Boxing Championships in Baku, two-time AIBA World Champion and Asian Champion Abbos Atoev makes his long-awaited return to the international boxing arena in Islamabad.
Uzbekistan's 25-year-old middleweight sensation decided not to give up on his dreams of Olympic glory in London and after putting himself through a rigorous two-week boot camp, he will fight for honours at the 2nd Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Memorial Tournament along with 134 other boxers from 18 different nations.
Uzbek Head Coach Sharaf Hudayberdiyev approved a full-strength squad to compete in Islamabad, declaring they would use this tournament as active preparation for the Asian Olympic Qualification Tournament to be held in Astana, Kazakhstan in April. Four other coaches, former national boxer, Uygun Siddikov, experienced Olim Mukhamedov, Shuhrat Isroilov and Nabijon Boymatov will also travelling with the team to the tournament in Pakistan.
Two-time Asian Games champion Elshod Rasulov who secured a silver medal at the 2009 AIBA World Championships Milan and a bronze two years later in Baku is the nation's big Light Heavyweight hope. Rasulov will be targeting the gold medal in Islamabad; however he will have to deal with strong Iranian, Syrian and Indian boxers in his division.
Uzbek Flyweight No.1 Jasurbek Latipov, who also collected a bronze medal in Baku and thus qualified for the London Olympics, will have to handle the pressure of favourite in the flyweight category where Pakistan's Muhammad Waseem will look to upset him.
With four Olympic qualification places achieved at the 16th AIBA World Boxing Championships, AIBA President's Cup gold medallist Orzubek Shayimov and 20-year-old two-time National Champion Fazliddin Gaibnazarov can also focus on next summer's Olympiad.
Rising Uzbek star and current National Champion, Shuhrat Abdullayev won the gold medal at the Asian Championships in Incheon, where in the quarter-final he avenged Abbos Atoev's defeat in Baku by eliminating Ryota Murata. Abdullayev has only lost one fight this year and he will look to continue his winning streak in Islamabad.
Former Asian Champion and Asian Games bronze medallist Sanjarbek Rahmonov had not the best year in 2011 but has got the technique and experience to secure a good result at the Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Memorial Tournament. Sydney Jackson Memorial Tournament winner and rising Heavyweight superpower Rustam Tulaganov will be fighting for the right to be involved in the national first team.
Strong 19-year-old Kobiljon Bobodjonov had several good results at junior and youth level and went he made the step up in his first senior competition at the 2011 Asian Men's Elite Championships in Incheon, he defeated China's Asian Games winner Hu Qing in the quarter-final stages to secure a bronze medal for himself.
There are also newcomers to the Uzbek team, such as Super Heavyweight Izzatulla Ergashev who claimed a silver medal at the Sydney Jackson Memorial Tournament this year. Young Light Flyweight boxer Duisenkul Shopokov Memorial Tournament silver medallist Mansurjon Ismatullayev is also making his debut for the national team in Islamabad.
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