With a shot at the IBF junior middleweight title on the line, Bakhram Murtazaliev widely outpointed Jorge Fortea in an eliminator on the Canelo-Kovalev undercard.
Murtazaliev (17-0, 13 KO) won on scores of 118-110, 119-109, and 120-108. Bad Left Hook had it slightly closer at 117-111 for Murtazaliev, but it was a clear win for the Russian prospect.
Murtazaliev simply was busier and landed the harder punches, being the harder puncher, and Fortea (20-2-1, 6 KO) was repeatedly asked by his corner to throw more, as he was having some success when he did let his hands go. If nothing else, he pretty effectively played spoiler at various points against the 26-year-old Murtazaliev, and probably gave future opponents plenty of stuff to crib notes from.
The win puts Murtazaliev in line for a shot at Julian “J Rock” Williams, who is tentatively set to return on Jan. 18 in Philadelphia. In theory, Murtazaliev could be ready for that date if he got an offer, but he might want to hold off a bit and not do a two-and-a-half month turnaround, which would be smart.
Evan Holyfield TKO-1 Nick Winstead
The 154-pound son of Evander Holyfield made his pro debut here, winning in 16 seconds by unleashing both hands on Winstead (0-2) and knocking him over. Referee Robert Hoyle called it there. It was a premature stoppage, but who really cares? Winstead wasn’t signed up to be a threat, he was signed up to get bowled over. He got dropped, that was that.
Tristan Kalkreuth UD-4 Twon Smith
We learned a couple things about Kalkreuth, who turns 18 on Nov. 8: he is very raw and he can do a backflip. Kalkreuth is 6’4”, it remains to be seen if he’ll settle in at 175 or cruiserweight. He’s fighting between 178 and 188 so far, and he’s not going to get smaller, so there’s a good chance he’s going to have to put on MAN BULK and get up to 200, or he could get MAN LEAN and go to 175. We’ll see.
Kalkreuth (3-0, 2 KO) has some talent, but there’s not a ton to see here just yet. He’s not some prodigy or anything. Smith (3-4, 2 KO) checked his chin a couple times, as Kalkreuth still has some bad habits. But again, he’s very young. He’s just starting out. We won’t really know a lot about him, probably, for another 2-3 years.
Meiirim Nursultanov UD-10 Cristian Olivas
With the Manchester card going late, I only saw the last few rounds of this fight, but DAZN commentators Todd Grisham and Sergio Mora were not exactly thrilled with this fight as entertainment. Nursultanov won on scores of 100-90 across the board to improve to 13-0 (8 KO), while Olivas drops to 16-6 (13 KO).