Light Heavyweight Ali Izmailov Shines in US Debut

IBF #11, WBC #14 and WBO #15 light heavyweight Ali Izmailov stayed busy Saturday night with an eye-opening two-round demolition of Detroit-based slugger James Ballard.

Making his US ring debut at the Performance Arts Center in Dearborn, Michigan, Izmailov (now 6-0, 4 KOs), from Malgobek, Russia, turned the heat up early in round two with a left that sent Ballard’s mouthpiece flying several rows into the ringside seats.

Shortly thereafter, with the normally durable Ballard (10-4, 3 KOs) along the ropes taking a two-fisted pounding, referee Pat Schmidt had seen enough. The official end came at 1:21.

“Ali ranks up near the top in punching power, he truly packs a tremendous punch with either hand,” said new trainer John David Jackson. “It was our first boxing match together and even with the language barrier we communicated very well. He used his jab really well and his body shots were really nice.”

Jackson says one more fight working together at his Action Jackson Boxing Academy in Fort Lauderdale and Izmailov will be ready for anyone in the division.

“He’s definitely a boxer to watch out for,” continued Jackson. “He has fast reflexes, but I feel as if we need one more camp together before he is truly tested in a very big bout. We need to work on throwing more body punches and moving his head more when he stands in front of his opponent.”

Promoter Dmitriy Salita says using Ballard as a measuring stick and looking at the relative ease with which his fighter dispatched him, the 28-year-old former amateur standout Izmailov has a bright future.

“Ali Izmailov is the hardest hitter in a division ruled by some very heavy-handed guys,” said Salita. “The loud thudding of his punches had the crowd gasping whenever he landed. Ballard is a test for anyone and Ali just walked through him. Fighters can’t take the kind of power he brings into the ring.”

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