Boxing: Kanat Islam (24-0) vs. Brandon Cook (18-0) this weekend is Khazakstan

It’s a safe assumption to say the biggest fight this month featuring a fighter from Kazakhstan will take place on September 16th in Las Vegas when Gennady Golovkin takes on Saul Alvarez in a middleweight title fight.

But there is another intriguing match up featuring a popular Kazak titlist set this weekend at the Saryarka Velodrome in Astana, Kazakhstan on Saturday, September 9th. Undefeated NABO junior middleweight champion Islam “Qazaq” Kanat (24-0, 19 KOs), the #7 ranked fighter in the WBO, will take on the undefeated Canadian prospect Brandon “Bad Boy” Cook (18-0, 11 KOs), who is currently ranked #13 by the WBO at 154-pounds.

The popular Islam has already earned a solid fan base back in Khazakstan, with the 12,000 seat Saryarka Velodrome in Astana reportedly already sold out for this weekend’s event.

The 32-year old Islam, who fought for China under the name Hanati Silamu at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics (but is of Kazak descent) is hoping to land a world title fight before the end of the year, but needs a solid win over the undefeated Canadian to position himself for a fight with Miguel Cotto. But his opponent is seen as the most dangerous foe he has faced to date and could derail the Kazak’s plans of a title fight before the end of the year. Cook is coming into the fight off the heels of an impressive knockout over fellow Canadian Steven Butler back in June in a fight for the NABA title.

The fight card is highlighted by a stacked undercard featuring eight undefeated Kazak prospects including Ali Akhmedov (8-0, 6 KOs) as he takes on American Justin Thomas (18-2, 7 KOs). Also on the card is welterweight prospect Zhankosh Turarov (21-0, 15 KOs) as he faces Bruno Romay (21-4, 18 KOs) of Argentina.

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