Sherdog’s Weekend Boxing Preview

By James Kinneen Jul 5, 2019
Editor’s note: The views and opinions expressed below are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of, its affiliates and sponsors or its parent company, Evolve Media.

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This is a terrible weekend for boxing, but seeing how much fans love to one-up each other, a 10 a.m. ET card from Kazakhstan provides an excellent opportunity to separate the diehards from the casuals.

What: Zhankosh Turarov vs. Mauro Godoy, Junior Middleweights
When: July 6
How to Watch: ESPN+, 10 a.m. ET
Why You Should Care: To see if Godoy can spoil a Kazakhstani national holiday by beating the country’s hometown hero. Despite what Sascha Baren Cohen would have you believe, the national holidays of Kazakhstan are pretty basic (Independence Day, Labour Day) and in no way anti-Semitic. On Saturday, 10,000 Kazakhstanis are going to show up on Capital City Day to watch Turarov face Argentina’s Godoy. Turarov is 23-0 with 16 knockouts and has fought all over the world, from the Dominican Republic and Columbia to the United States, and competed at every weight class between 129 and 154 pounds. However, 10 years into his professional career, “Da Kazakh Kid” (yes, he uses “Da”) is not exactly a big name, even among the most hardcore boxing fans. Why? Well, part of the problem was that he took a lot of time off a few years ago, when he was shot at after a wild brawl and later charged with “hooliganism” as a result of the fistfight. At only 28, he still has plenty of time to make a name for himself -- fellow Kazakh Gennady Golovkin knocked out Milton Nunez in Panama at age 28 in a fight that was probably unaired in America -- but losing in your home nation on a national holiday would serve as a crippling defeat. Godoy is 31-4 but owns a 2-3-1 across his last six fights, though he has fought solid opposition. He has only been stopped once and is probably best known for his draw against Samuel Vargas in June 2018. Godoy is not supposed to win this fight, and it is difficult to see him winning a decision in Kazakhstan. Still, Godoy is a man with zero pressure on him and facing a guy with 10,000 of his hometown fans cheering him on. Maybe he will spoil the (checks Google) fireworks and brass band concerts of the national holiday with a huge upset of the local hero; or maybe there is a reason he was chosen as the opponent for a Kazakh celebration.

What: Nordine Oubaali vs. Arthur Villanueva, Bantamweights
When: July 6
How to Watch: ESPN+, 10 a.m. ET
Why You Should Care: Because Oubaali has a chance to become an all-time great French boxer, and Villanueva has one last chance to become a world champion. There are not many great boxers from France. A quick internet search for the best boxers that nation has produced yields a bunch of old-timey fighters like Georges Carpentier (last fight 1926) and Marcel Cerdan (last fight 1949), and a couple guys who never proved themselves against the best of their era: Fabrice Tiozzo, who only lost to Virgil Hill but whose best win came against Mike McCallum, and Laurent Boudouani, who held a 154-pound title in 1998 but whose best win resulted in Terry Norris’ third loss in a row in a career-ending fight. The point? France has not had an elite boxer in a long time, and Oubaali is the country’s best chance to change that reality. A two-time Olympian and now 15-0 with 11 knockouts as professional, Oubaali holds the WBC bantamweight title, which is hugely important for Villanueva going into this bout. This is it for him. Villanueva got a shot at the INF super flyweight title against McJoe Arroyo in London. He lost. Then he got a shot at Zolani Tete for the WBO bantamweight belt in America. He lost that one, too. Now, he will face his third opponent in his third different country for his last shot at a world title. Villanueva is a 30-year-old Filipino with one final chance to prove he is good enough to call himself a world champion, while Oubaali has the pedigree to make a run at being the best French boxer of the last 60 years. One of those narratives will soon end.


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