The International Boxing Association (IBA), despite being derecognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), remains an active player in the sports market. In December, she will hold a major tournament in Dubai, during which she will compete for two professional titles in fights involving Russian boxers with Olympic gold medals on their record. Evgeniy Tishchenko will fight with German Leon Hart for the World Boxing Association (WBA) title in the newly created bridgeweight category (up to 102 kg), and lightweight (up to 61.2 kg) Albert Batyrgaziev, one of the brightest rising domestic stars, for a new belt , founded by the IBA itself, with another amateur boxing celebrity - Cuban Lazaro Alvarez.
The International Boxing Association has announced the list of participants for the Champions' Night tournament, which it will hold in Dubai from December 9 to 12. And he makes the news about the show extremely interesting - especially given the complex context. In the summer, the International Olympic Committee, which had long been in conflict with the IBA, headed by Russian functionary Umar Kremlev, deprived the structure of its recognition. In fact, she was thrown out of the Olympic movement. The IBA is challenging the IOC decision in the Court of Arbitration for Sport, and Mr. Kremlev has already warned that if the appeal is not satisfied, the organization will appeal to other authorities. At the same time, over the past six months she still tried to remain an active player in the sports market. And the Dubai tournament even looks like a serious attempt to expand into professional boxing.
IBA regularly holds fight evenings called Champions' Night. But the December program is too noticeable not to pay attention to it. There are several fights in it, and all involve athletes who have serious achievements in what is called Olympic or amateur boxing, as well as fairly well-known professionals. In particular, Russian heavyweight Marko Petrovsky, who won the amateur world championship in 2021, will meet with the famous Australian Lucas Browne, and Petrovsky’s compatriot, two-time world champion Muslim Gadzhimagomedov, who competes in the first heavyweight (up to 90.7 kg), will meet with German Arthur Mann, who at one time claimed the championship belt.
But two fights stand out for technical reasons. Professional titles are played out in them. True, we are talking about titles that still require, let’s say, promotion. And the only boxers who will fight for them are those who brought gold medals to Russia at the last two Olympics: Evgeniy Tishchenko won it in the up to 91 kg category in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, and Albert Batyrgaziev won it in the up to 57 kg category in 2022 in Tokyo. .
In Tishchenko’s fight, the title of the World Boxing Association in the so-called bridgerweight will be at stake. This category, intermediate between heavyweight and super heavyweight, was created in 2020 by the World Boxing Council (WBC). The WBA also recently recognized her.
Tishchenko had 13 fights in his professional career. In them, he suffered one defeat - from a South African boxer with an excellent background, Thabiso Mchunu, in 2021. The background of his December opponent, the German Leon Hart, is much more modest than that of Mchunu. So Tishchenko is doomed to have the status of an undisputed favorite.
The second central battle of the tournament is even more interesting. The fact is that it is also a presentation of the IBA’s own professional belt, which transparently hints at the scale of its ambitions. And two superstars of amateur boxing will fight for him.
Russian Albert Batyrgaziev began his professional career even before the Tokyo Olympics, and after winning gold, he continued it quite brightly. She currently has nine fights and nine wins, some over very high-level opponents. Let’s say, in February of this year, Batyrgaziev knocked out Panamanian Hesreel Corrales in the ninth round, who at the end of the previous decade held the championship title and was considered a top fighter.
His opponent in Dubai was Cuban Lazaro Alvarez. He had a great amateur career with three world titles in 2011, 2013 and 2015. There are the same number of Olympic medals in it. True, all of them - 2012, 2016 and 2021 - are bronze. And the technical left-hander suffered, apparently, the most painful defeat from Batyrgaziev. It was Alvarez who was the favorite at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, but lost to the Russian in a dramatic semi-final.
In Dubai, Albert Batyrgaziev will have an undoubted trump card on his side in the form of more solid professional experience - both, let’s say, quantitatively and qualitatively. After leaving amateur boxing after the Tokyo Olympics, Lazaro Alvarez only managed to fight five fights. He won everything, but against very mediocre boxers.