*New York, NY: *Before fans at the Theater at Madison Square Garden enjoy
two light heavyweight championship bouts *Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev* and *Igor
Mikhalkin, *and *Dmitry Bivol *vs. *Sullivan Barrera”* on Saturday, March 3,
Main Events and Krusher Promotions presents the first title fight on the
night’s undercard in the super welterweight division.
*Bakhram Murtazaliev* (11-0, 9 KOs) of Grozny, Russia will face *Kenneth
McNeil*(11-3, 8 KOs) of Birmingham, Alabama, in the first defense of the
IBA Super Welterweight World Title he won at The Garden in November.
Murtazaliev, 25, has quickly made a name for himself since coming to the
United States in 2016. He hopes to extend his seven-fight knockout streak
and improve his already impressive 82% knockout ratio (9 KOs in 11 wins).
This will be his third fight under both the Krusher Promotions’ and Main
McNeil, 28, is coming off a win in his last bout, and a split decision with
Samuel Clarkson many observers believe he won. McNeil has never been
stopped, so Murtazaliev’s goal of extending his knockout streak will be put
to the test in his toughest fight to date.
After winning the title at Madison Square Garden in November, Murtazaliev
said of the experience, “It looked like what I dreamed all my life.”
Murtazaliev was able to return home to Russia for a holiday visit with
family and friends, but then it was back to sunny Oxnard, California to
train with Abror Tursunpulatov, who also trains two-time Light Heavyweight
World Champion Sergey Kovalev.
“In my preparation, my path is to do. Abror’s is to tell us what to do.
Today, he tells us to throw rocks. Tomorrow, he may tell us to throw
people. He has a plan … we trust him,” said Murtazaliev.
Murtazaliev recently marked his first-anniversary training with
Tursunpulatov. “I started to train with him and I really understood what he
was saying. It made huge sense to me. I enjoy every day with Abror. I love
training with the other boxers, and Kovalev too.”
Murtazaliev says he’s working hard to impress fans and achieve success in
the ring. “I’m putting all my heart into practices and all my heart into my
fight March 3rd. You aren’t going to be disappointed,” promised Murtazaliev.
“I will try to gain more fans, to show nice boxing. I really work hard,
and it’s all due to hard work. If you work hard, you will get everything
you want in your life.”
There are a few big fans who won’t be watching the young super welterweight
on March 3, though. “Nobody from my family has ever seen live video of my
fights,” said Murtazaliev. “They are worried about me and they don’t want
to see me get punched,” he laughed. Murtazaliev says only his father has
ever watched him fight live, in Russia.