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Fighters Create a Family Far from Home in Oxnard, California

*(Oxnard, California) -* Elite athletes make many sacrifices on their
journey to the top of their sport. Boxers are no exception. Super
welterweights *Madiyar Ashkeyev *(8-0, 4 KOs) of Kazakhstan, 29, and *Bakhram
Murtazaliev*, 25, (11-0, 9 KOs) of Russia, and middleweight *Meiirim
Nursultanov* (5-0, 4 KOs), 24, of Kazaskhstan have spent most of the last
year away from family and friends while training at the Boxing Laboratory
in Oxnard, California.

The trio admits they are sometimes homesick. So, they have created their
own boxing family in California, and rely on each other. “We all know each
other five, six years. We’ve been to tournaments (together), and on the
national team. We do as much as we can for each other to make life in
America easier,” said Ashkeyev.

All three fighters are in the last days of their preparation for their
appearances on the non-televised undercard of the upcoming showdown between
two-time Light Heavyweight World Champion *Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev* (31-2-1,
27 KOs) versus *Igor Mikhalkin* (21-1, 9 KOs) and WBA Light Heavyweight
World Champion*Dmitry Bivol* (12-0, 10 KOs) versus *Sullivan Barrera* (21-1,
14 KOs).

“We talk with each other about things, and it really helps to have the same
team. We understand each other,” says Murtazaliev.

“We are the type of people who like to push each other: run faster, lift
more weights. We speak the same language. We motivate each other, we help
each other to get better,” added Murtazaliev. “We’re not jealous of each
other. Everyone can reach their goals.”

*Nursultanov, Kovalev and Ashkeyev*

*Photo Courtesy of: Madiyar Ashkeyev*
The rising stars say they also look to Kovalev, who trains alongside them
at the Boxing Laboratory, as a role model, mentor and a “big brother”
figure. “Kovalev is a huge motivation for us,” said Ashkeyev. “He tells us
what’s coming our way – what’s hard, what’s easy, what to do. We are always
learning as much as we can. It’s nice of him and it’s good for us.”

During their rare days off, Ashkeyev, Murtazaliev, and Nursultanov say they
take advantage of all that Southern California has to offer. “We go out to
explore the beautiful cities – Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Santa Barbara,”
said Murtazaliev. “We try not to be at home and try to spend our time in a
better way than sitting at home, at our computers.”

Despite being thousands of miles from home, working hard and doing their
best to navigate life in a strange language, they wouldn’t want to be
anywhere else. “We’re showing our team (at the Boxing Laboratory) is the
best in the world,” said Nursultanov. “There is no gym in the world with so
many world champions.”

Nursultanov said all three fighters love to interact with fans back home
and their new fans in the United States on social media. “You can always
follow us on social media, we like to show how we train, what we do when
training. We hope it’s helpful for future boxers and future champions all
over the world.”

Fans can follow the trio on Instagram at @madiyarashkeyev, @bahkram95 and

*About March 3: *The Saturday, March 3 main event between Sergey “Krusher”
Kovalev and Igor Mikhalkin is a 12-round match-up for the WBO Light
Heavyweight World Title at the Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York
City. The co-main event features WBA Light Heavyweight World Champion
Dmitry Bivol versus Sullivan Barrera in a 12-round title fight. Tickets
range from $50 to $300 and are available online at TicketMaster.com and at
the Madison Square Garden box office. The event is promoted by Main Events,
Krusher Promotions and World of Boxing in association with EC Box
Promotions, is sponsored by Medoff Vodka and Leon.ru and will be televised
live on HBO World Championship Boxing® beginning at 10:05 p.m. ET/PT.