Bektemir Melikuziev poses at a recent weigh-in with co-trainer Antonio Diaz looking on. Photo by Cris Esqueda/Golden Boy
INGLEWOOD – The body shots are a lethal as ever, but in having moments of frustration while dispatching Ulises Sierra in three rounds on the Alexis Rocha-Geoge Ashie undercard on Saturday it was clear that super middleweight up-and-comer Bektemir Melikuziev is still rebuilding from his own shocking third-round KO loss to Gabriel Rosado in 2021.
Melikuziev (11-1, 9 KOs), a 27-year-old southpaw puncher from Uzbekistan (now living and training in Indio, California), dropped Sierra (17-3-2, 10 KOs) twice in Round 3 with vicious left hands to the mid-section. Sierra, a tough 34-year-old gatekeeper from San Diego, was able to get up and shake off the effects from the first knockdown but the second shot in the same spot took the winds from his sails and referee Thomas Taylor waved it off at 2:59 of the round.
The scheduled 10-round bout was streamed live on DAZN as part of a Golden Boy Promotions event.
Prior to the stoppage, Sierra, who was two wins removed from a first-round stoppage to ballyhooed puncher Edgar Berlanga, staved off the stalking Melikuziev with a stiff jab and an occasional straight right. Although Melikuziev dominated much of the opening two rounds, often forcing Sierra into defensive shell, each jab or right hand landed snapped the Uzbekistan native’s head back, sometimes giving him pause. One of Sierra’s jabs opened a small cut at the outside corner of Melikuziev’s right eye.
However, while Melikuziev could have been more settled in his offense and more fundamental with his technique and punch selection, he still believes in his power and when he landed, Sierra was moved. The body attack was Melikuziev’s ticket. He is now four bouts removed from the Rosado fight but there’s still a lot of work to be done before the prospect can be considered a contender.