Astana, Beijing, Seoul (20/2 – 60)
Kazakhstan has been a dominant force in boxing at the Asian Games, winning eight gold medals and 20 total medals since 1994. It’s almost a tradition that Kazakhstan wins gold medals at boxing at the Asian Games. Kazakhstan first competed at the Asian Games in 1994. Since then, boxing has won gold medals for the Central Asian country.
In 1994, Hiroshima, Japan, Nurzhan Smanov (welterweight) and Kanatbek Shagatayev (light-middleweight) were the Kazakhstani gold medalists. Four years later in Bangkok, Thailand, three Kazakhstani boxers won gold medals. They were Yermakhan Ibraimov (light-middleweight), Vyacheslav Burba (middleweight), and Mukhtarkhan Dildabekov (super heavyweight).
At the 2002 Asian Games that were held in Busan, South Korea, two more Kazakhstani boxers claimed gold medals. They were Nurzhan Karimzhanov (light welterweight) and Gennady Golovkin (light middleweight). Golovkin turns out to be the most decorated boxer in the history of Kazakhstan. He turned pro in 2006, became a two-time unified champion, and held multiple middleweight world championships.
Kazakhstan’s tradition of winning gold medals in boxing at the Asian Games continues in the 2006 edition at Doha, Qatar. But they only won one gold medal via Bakhyt Sarsekbayev (welterweight).
At the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, China, Kazakhstan won another two gold medals in boxing. The gold medalists were Daniyar Yeleussinov (light welterweight) and Serik Sapiyev (welterweight).
The pinnacle happened at the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea. Kazakhstan was the best nation in boxing at that event. They won 6 gold medals from Ilyas Suleimenov (flyweight), Daniyar Yeleussinov (welterweight), Zhanibek Alimkhanuly (middleweight), Adibek Niyazymbetov (light heavyweight), Anton Pinchuk (heavyweight), and Ivan Dychko (super heavyweight). Another golden generation of Kazakhstani boxers appeared as Zhanibek Alimkhanuly followed Gennady Golovkin’s footsteps.
Turned pro in 2016, Alimkhanuly still holds an undefeated record of 13 fights. The 29-years old had held the WBO middleweight title since 2022. The gold medal tradition from boxing at the Asian Games for Kazakhstan stopped in Jakarta-Palembang, Indonesia. At the 2018 Asian Games, a total of 10 boxers represented Kazakhstan.
Not one was able to win the competition and the country only managed to get two silver medals. Kazakhstan would like to rise from its slump.
The President of Kazakhstan Boxing Federation, Kenes Rakishev, has pledged to raise the self-confidence of the nation’s boxing squad as they headed for the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, next September. Rakishev takes heart from the performance of their athletes at the 2022 Asian Boxing Championships in Amman, Jordan, last November.
With 6 gold, 7 silver, and 8 bronze medals, Kazakhstan was the overall winner. “Our work with the athletes will continue as we look ahead to the Asian Games in China and the World Cup (Men’s World Boxing Championships) in Uzbekistan,” said Rakishev. “I was at the tournament in Amman, and I noted that in the battle for gold medals, when it remains to take only half a step to the highest level, for some reason our boxers stop.”
“I invited a famous coach from Moscow, Radislav Gandapas, to work on their psychology and raise their self-esteem even higher and believe in themselves. We will continue working on this aspect,” he stated.
Following the successful performance in Jordan last November, Kazakhstan rose to first place in the ranking of the International Boxing Association (IBA). “This is a well-deserved result of our entire team,” said Rakishev, commenting on the increase in the ranking. “We have managed to assemble a professional coaching and managerial staffs, raise the prestige of sports, and motivate athletes to achieve high results. I am sure that Kazakhstani boxing has taken a leading position in earnest and for a long time.”
Kazakhstan has many potential boxers that could be gold medalists at the 2022 Asian Games. Sanzhar Tashkenbay (minimumweight), who won the gold medal at the 2022 Asian Boxing Championships, also won the gold medal at the 2021 Youth World Championship. Another one is Aslanbek Shymbergenov (light-middleweight), who won the silver medal at the 2018 Asian Games and was a gold medalist at the 2022 Asian Boxing Championships.
Not only in the men’s division, but Kazakhstan also has several talented athletes in the women’s division. Alua Balkibekova (minimumweight), Zhaina Shekerbekova (bantamweight), and Karina Ibragimova (featherweight) all won gold medals at the 2022 Asian Boxing Championships.