The Issatai Taimanov & Makhambet Utemisov Memorial Tournament is a prestigious international boxing event organized by the regional Atyrau Boxing Federation of Kazakhstan. Altogether 123 boxers took part in this year’s competition on the road to the upcoming 2014 Asian Games.
Athlete of the tournament
Kazakhstan’s Tursynbay Kulakhmet was gold medallist at the 2013 ASBC Asian Youth Continental Championships in Subic Bay, Philippines and he is looking forward to emulating his excellent youth and junior career at the elite level. The 20-year-old Light Heavyweight (81kg) boxer is known for his tough body punches and this was the key weapon he used to defeat his opponents in Atyrau, namely Kyrgyzstan’s national team member Erkin Adylbek Uulu and Kazakhstan’s Nurbol Altayev, to earn a deserved gold medal.
Team of the tournament
Kazakhstan claimed six gold medals on home soil and amongst the winning athletes, some were born not far away from the venue where the event was held, thus certainly increasing their appetite for great results on their doorstep. University World Championships silver medallist 24-year-old Mardan Berikbayev started the winning series by beating Iraq’s Hassan Ali Naser in the final of the Light Flyweight class (49 kg). Youth National Championships bronze medallist 20-year-old Aydar Imangeldiyev continued the gold medal streak by defeating Kyrgyzstan’s WSB boxer Mirbek Sherov in the Bantamweight class (56 kg).
Ruslan Madiyev won the shortest final in Atyrau by quickly knocking down Russia’s Farid Aleshkin, whereas the National Championships bronze medallist Azamat Dosmagambetov also claimed a gold medal for the host nation. Finally, Rakhman Alzhanov won the gold medal in the Heavyweight class (91 kg), by triumphing against his teammate ASBC Asian Youth Continental Champion 18-year-old Adilet Orynbasarov in a hectic and passionate bout which finished by split decision in the favour of Alzhanov.
Surprise of the tournament
Mongolia’s Nurlan Askhar is a relatively unknown boxer on the international scene but proved all his worth at the tournament. Askhar had claimed a silver medal in Mongolia’s National Championships in February and had only competed once outside of Mongolia last year. The young Mongolian Flyweight (52 kg) boxer eliminated Iraq’s ASBC Asian Continental Championships bronze medallist Murtadha Raad Al-Sudani in the quarter-finals, and went on to also overcome Kazakhstan’s Nurgazy Zhusupov.
Ones to watch in the future
Jordan’s Amman-based talent Obada Al-Kasbeh is only 20 but made a real breakthrough in 2013, when he obtained an excellent silver medal at the ASBC Asian Continental Championships on home soil and then moved up to the Lightweight class (60 kg). Jordan’s new sensation used his strength and braveness to beat Kazakhstan’s Nikolay Shvab in the final of this tournament.
Facts of the tournament
It was the sixth time that the Atyrau Regional Boxing Association was organising the Issatai Taimanov & Makhambet Utemisov Memorial Tournament and the event is growing in stature at every edition. This is no doubt one of the reasons why the Iraqi and the Jordanian national boxing team used the tournament as their first preparation event for the Asian Games to be hosted in Incheon, South Korea in September 2014.
Quote of the tournament
“The feeling to win a big international tournament, to win my first gold medal outside of Jordan, is simply great. This brings me a huge motivation ahead of the Asian Games where I will try to do my best to win another gold,” said Jordan’s Obada Al-Kasbeh after his triumph.