Bektemir Melikuziev faces Morgan Fitch on Feb.13th on Dazn
By Jeff Aronow: Light heavyweight prospect Bektemir Melikuziev will be facing Morgan ‘Big Chief’ Fitch (19-4-1, 8 KOs) in an eight-round fight on February 13th on the Joseph ‘Jo Jo’ Diaz vs. Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov card at the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California.
Melikuziev vs. Fitch is expected to take place at 168. The 37-year-old Fitch is coming off a 6th round knockout loss to Anthony Sims Jr in October 2019. He also was stepped by Ievgen Khytrov in the third round in 2018. You get the picture.
This is a stay-busy fight for Melikuziev to get him back in the ring during the pandemic, which has made it difficult to get many fights scheduled.
The 24-year-old big-punching Melikuziev (6-0, 5 KOs) had been scheduled to face former IBF/WBA/WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev on January 30th on DAZN, but ‘The Krusher’ Kovalev tested positive for synthetic testosterone, resulting in the fight being canceled.
According to the Ring, Golden Boy Promotions attempted to get one of the top fighters to face the 2016 Russian Olympian Melikuziev, but there were no takers on short notice.
Melikuziev needs to become more visible to the mainstream fans in the boxing world is a fight against a top name. Kovalev would have been the ideal opponent, as he’s not only well known, but it would have given Melikuziev the opportunity for fans to compare his performance to that of Canelo Alvarez.
In November 2019, Canelo stopped Kovalev in the 11th round in briefly capturing his WBO light heavyweight title before giving it up.
Although short for a light heavyweight at 5’9″, Melikuziev has the punching power to compete with the best in the division. Ideally, he would be more at home at 168, which put him in the same weight class as superstar Canelo Alvarez.
At 24, the stockily built Melikuziev is young enough to work his way up the rankings to take on the big guns, be it 175 or 168. Melikuziev is capable of fighting at super middleweight and will open up a lot of opportunities for him to make excellent money.
In Melikuziev’s last three fights, he’s beaten Alan Campa, Oscar Cortes, and Vaughn Alexander in one-sided fights. Melikuziev stopped Campa and Cortes early in blow-out victories. Melikuziev’s most notable win came against slugger Clay Collard in November 2019, with him scoring a fourth-round stoppage.
On the February 13th card is WBO junior middleweight champion Patrick Teixeira (31-1, 22 KOs), defending against #1 ranked Brian Castano (16-0-1, 12 KOs), who is also his mandatory challenger.
Teixeira vs. Castano is a fight that has been cooking for a while, and the boxing public will finally get a chance to see these two talented fighters go at it.
In other action on the card, IBF super featherweight champion Joseph ‘Jo Jo’ Diaz Jr (31-1, 15 KOs) defends against his mandatory Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov (15-0, 12 Ks).
Diaz, 28, has been out of the ring since dethroning Tevin Farmer last year in January 2020. ‘Jo Jo’ outslugged Farmer, beating him by a close but decisive 12 round unanimous decision. The fight was an exciting one that all action from start to finish.
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