LAS VEGAS, Nevada – November 2, 2019 – If you weren’t focused on the opening seconds of his professional debut, you might have missed super welterweight Evan Holyfield stepping into the ring and over his father’s footsteps. The 22-year-old training in Houston (1-0, 1 KO) delivered a stoppage win in 16 seconds over Nick Winstead of Louisiana (0-2). Holyfield hit Winstead with a straight right and Winstead hit the canvas. He got to his feet, but referee Robert Hoyle had already seen enough and called it a day.
“It was such a blessing to be able to showcase my talent on the card like this and God bless us all,” said Holyfield. “I was just expecting to box and I just went out there and did my job. I was zoned in and God just had me.”
Father Evander Holyfield made his name with several famous victories at the MGM Grand Garden Arena including wins over Buster Douglas and Mike Tyson. His final piece of advice to his son before entering the ring? “Stay focused.” At least young “Chief Holy” didn’t make his father sweat too long ringside watching his son’s debut.
Julian Williams awaits Bakhram Murtazaliev after win
Super welterweight Bahkram Murtazaliev of Russia (17-0, 13 KOs) becomes the IBF mandatory opponent for Julian “JRock” Wiliiams after going the 12-round distance for a unanimous decision over Jorge Fortea of Spain (20-2, 6 KOs). Scores were 120-108, 119-109, and 118-110. Fortea seemed to be fighting not to lose; Murtazaliev put in a good effort to liven things up and egged Fortea on several times. Fortea made himself a difficult target and did put some damage into Murtazaliev.
“I feel very good,” said Murtazaliev. “I was listening to the coach, I didn’t try to force anything and I was just listening to my coach. To all my fans, continue to watch my fans. I’ll get better and better and better.”
Williams watched the bout and commented in real-time on social media about his future opponent. He isn’t feeling too much pressure with Murtazaliev looming on the horizon.
Kalkrueth goes the four-round distance for the first time
Impressive young cruiserweight Tristran Kalkreuth of Texas (3-0, 2 KOs) went the four-round distance for the first time against Twon Smith of Oklahoma City (3-4, 2 KOs) to win a unanimous decision. Scores were 40-36 X 2 and 39-37. The 32-year-old Smith gave 17-year-old Kalkrueth some resistance and landed a good solid shot near the end of the fight, a moral victory of sorts.
“I knew he was tough, he had twice the pro experience I did,” said Kalkrueth. “For that being my third fight, I think I did good. I wish I put more punches on him, and obviously the one thing that boxers want is to get the KO and that didn’t happen. But I know this fight is going to help me later on down the road.” Kalkrueth thanked his Latino fans for enthusiastically cheering him on at the MGM.
It’s the opportunity to see fighters like Kalkrueth and Evan Holyfield that make it worth getting to the arena early and firing up your screen to see stars in the making in the early hours.
Nursultanov remains undefeated with victory
Middleweight Meeriim Nursultanov of Kazahkstan (13-0, 8 KOs) delivered a solid performance in his unanimous decision over Cristian Olivas of San Ysidro, California (16-5, 14 KOs). Scores were a shutout on all three cards, 100-90.
“I prepared well for this opponent. I know this guy, tough guy,” said Nursultanov. “I was ready and prepared for all 10 rounds.” Nursultanov thanked his supporters with a special hello to his fans at home in Kazakhstan, “I love you.”
Nursultanov has solid fundamental skills and isn’t taking too many chances at this stage of his career. He is now trained by Buddy McGirt who also trains Sergey Kovalev, and McGirt allowed Nursultanov to roll up rounds and get in the work against the sturdy but less skilled Olivas. Olivas engages and doesn’t embarrass himself, but he doesn’t have enough firepower to frighten quality opponents like Nursultanov. The Kazakh needs to deliver flashier performances to attract a larger fanbase among American and Mexican fans.
Heavyweight prospect Betemir Melikuziev of Uzbekistan (3-0, 3 KOs) opened the night’s action with a fourth-round TKO win over Clay Collard of Utah (4-2-3, 1 KO). Melikuziev dropped Collard twice before making it stick at 2:20 of the round. “I was very surprised at how durable he (Collard) was,” said Melikuziev. “But it was a good experience. He was very tough. I needed this to get rounds of experience.”