Ali Izmailov looks to become the next light heavyweight champion

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Light heavyweight prospect Ali Izmailov looks to become the next light heavyweight champion.

The boxing business is starting to pick up as we head into the spring months, which means more club shows will take place in cities all over the U.S. On Saturday, Granite Chin Promotions will host a card at the Mass Mutual Center in Springfield, Massachusetts, featuring a solid group of prospects and potential contenders. One of those prospects/contenders is 29-year-old light heavyweight Ali Izmailov (9-0).

Izmailov is from the Republic of Ingushetia, located in the Northern Caucasus of Eastern Europe. He is signed to Salita Promotions, the home of the undisputed middleweight champion Claressa Shields and Jermaine Franklin, who has an upcoming fight with former unified champion Anthony Joshua. Izmailov had an interesting support system growing up and he was destined to be some sort of athlete. His father was a wrestling trainer, and his uncle was a boxing trainer. It’s safe to say that Izmailov grew up around sports his entire life. As Izmailov told me early in our conversation, “Destiny chose me to follow this path (boxing).”

At the age of six, his father and uncle would take him to a local gym that was a sports complex. There, he started to box but did not take it seriously. When he reached the age of sixteen/seventeen, that’s when he realized that the sweet science was his calling. Once he graduated High School, he went all in on boxing and immediately set the goal of becoming a world champion one day.

Is Ali Izmailov going to be the next great light heavyweight champion?

While making his way up the amateur system and turning pro in Eastern Europe, there was a promoter who had his eye on him, and that was Dmitriy Salita. How did the two exactly cross paths? Salita told FanSided, “I follow fighters from around the world, and I saw around his fifth or sixth fight that he was beating some significant guys that were very good contenders & gatekeepers. He’s the best light-heavyweight prospect/contender in the world. John David Jackson told me that by the end of this year, he would be ready to beat Dmitry Bivol & Artur Beterbiev.”

Those are some big goals but not impossible, as anything can happen in the squared circle on any given night, which is why we all love this sport. Speaking of trainer John David Jackson (Trainer of Claressa Shields), he was immediately paired with the light heavyweight prospect when he arrived to the U.S. in 2019. Salita said, “I recommended John David Jackson because I felt he had the right style for Ali (Izmailov).”

You never know how things will go regarding the relationship between a fighter and his trainer. We have seen successful pairings and ones that lasted only one fight. So how does Izmailov feel about Jackson? “I love John David Jackson, and I’ve been working with him since I’ve been here. I didn’t speak his language, and he didn’t speak mine, but the boxing pads and training have been our communicator. I have grown as a fighter and love the different training methods he provides to me.”

Outside of the immediate pairing with Jackson, Izmailov has enjoyed living in the U.S. and made the city of Detroit his home. “I came here to the U.S. in 2019, and I love America. I love the lifestyle here, the people, and living in Detroit. Although I live in Detroit, my training camp is in Miami. I have my green card and currently working on obtaining my citizenship.”

Salita Promotions feels that Izmailov should be on a fast track to a title shot, so they booked him as the main event on a ShoBox back in October, but things didn’t work out as planned. “I was originally supposed to fight on October 21, which would have been a ShoBox main event. I got COVID about two weeks before the fight, so it was canceled. So my first fight on TV in the U.S. was canceled. This upcoming fight is to stay busy, then after Ramadan, we want to take a significant step up.”

His opponent on Saturday is Ariel Armando Basconcel (13-4-1) from Buenos Aires, Argentina. In his last fight, he suffered a second-round TKO loss to Richard “Popeye The Sailor Man” Rivera, who most notably went ten rounds with Badou Jack last year. While this fight looks to keep Izmailov busy, what should fans attending or watching on expect from the light heavyweight prospect? Izmailov told FanSided, “My goal is to fight the best and be the best. I love the sport of boxing and want to become a world champion. The U.S. is the land of opportunity, and this year, I look forward to showing the boxing public what I got.”

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