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Duisenkul Shopokov Memorial Tournament

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18 January, 2011

altAs the first major international boxing competition of the new year the 37th Duisenkul Shopokov Memorial Tournament will be held in the capital city of Kyrgyzstan, Bishkek, from January 24.

The tournament is named after Duisenkul Shopokov, who was one of the biggest Kyrgyz heroes of the Soviet Union. Shopokov, a soldier, died on November 16, 1941 defending the city of Moscow during the Great Patriotic War.

At the 2010 edition of the tournament host Kyrgyzstan collected six gold medals, neighbouring Uzbekistan took three final victories and Kazakhstan and the People's Republic of China secured one gold medal each in Bishkek.

The Kyrgyz national team had great expectations before the 16th Asian Games in Guangzhou last year but the squad failed to win a medal at the important tournament, despite five Kyrgyz athletes reaching the semifinals.

After the unsuccessful Asian Games the Kyrgyz squad competed at the Galym Zharylgapov Memorial Tournament in Kazakhstan, where Azat Usenaliyev claimed a valuable silver medal in the flyweight class.

Kyrgyzstan's AIBA Junior World Championships bronze medalist Javlonbek Usmanov will not be competing at the Shopokov Memorial Tournament, since he was contracted to box for the Moscow team in the World Series of Boxing, where he is currently third in the individual rankings at light heavyweight (85kg) with a 3-0 record.

Seven nations will be competing at the 37th Duisenkul Shopokov Memorial Tournament for the medals from January 24 until January 30: Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, China, Iran, Russia and Tajikistan as well as host Kyrgyzstan.

The President of the Kyrgyz Boxing Federation, Abdibakyt Khalmurzayev expects at least four gold medals from the national team at this traditional tournament.

One of the best Kyrgyz boxers, Azat Usenaliyev, moved up a weight class after the 16th Asian Games, as did 21-year-old Meder Mamakeyev, who moved up to bantamweight.

Kyrgyzstan's new young hope, AIBA Youth World Championships bronze medalist 18-year-old Islomzhon Dalibayev, was silver medalist at the last edition and is a contender in the welterweight class. Strong experienced boxers such as two-time Olympian Assylbek Talasbayev, World Combat Games winner Ermek Sakenov and Ruslan Karipov will also be competing at the event with great expectations.