Rockville boxer gets a chance at his dream
Amateur fights for his first Golden Gloves regional title this weekend
By Prince J. Grimes Staff Writer
Gennady Golovkin, also known as 'Triple G,' is a middleweight boxer from Kazakhstan.
He's undefeated, a silver medalist at the 2004 Olympics and the reigning World Boxing Association and International Boxing Organization middleweight champion.
Unbeknownst to Golovkin, a young man from the same city of Karaganda, is trying to follow in his footsteps while living in Rockville.
Shynggyskhan Tazhibay is a 23-year-old boxer in the Golden Gloves circuit that moved to the United States to gain more exposure as a boxer.
Attracted by the tradition of a gym that produced boxers such as Lamont and Anthony Peterson, Tazhibay has been training at Headbangers Gym in Washington, D.C. for nearly two years.
When he's not boxing, he attends Tyson's Institute in Vienna, Virginia, but most of the time, Tazhibay is training to become the next great boxer to hail from Kazakhstan.
“I decided to come here because all famous professional boxers [are] here,” Tazhibay said. “I decided that if I want to turn pro, I have to go straight to United States.”
At 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Tazhibay is on the card to box in one of the eight regional Golden Gloves open division title fights at Rosecroft Raceway. The winners of the Washington, D.C. and Maryland Golden Gloves championships will box against the winners from North Carolina and Virginia. Winners advance to the national tournament.
Tazhibay defeated Jonathan Burr II to win the 152-pound Washington, D.C. Golden Gloves title. He said each success of competing in Golden Gloves brings him closer to his ultimate goal of turning professional.
“It's going to be a very big deal for me,” the 23-year-old about potentially winning. “... I came here to turn pro. Nobody can make me professional boxer without success. So this one is like the key to turn pro, so that's why it's very important for me to win all amateur fights before signing the contract and turning professional boxer.”
The national tournament in Las Vegas, Nevada is scheduled for May 10-17.
Also fighting on Saturday is one of Tazhibay's former gymmates at Headbangers, Demetrius Young.
Young recently switched to The Answer Gym in Capitol Heights because of its proximity to his home in Bowie.
Whereas Tazhibay started boxing with the intention to go pro, Young said he started boxing eight years ago to get tougher.
The 18-year-old attends Flowers High School and fights at 108 pounds, the lightest weight class. He said he also has goals of turning professional.
With no other 18-and-up boxers to fight at his weight, Young was unopposed as the Washington Golden Gloves champion. He'll fight on Saturday with a little more time in between his last match than most, but Young said he doesn't think he'll be at a disadvantage on Saturday.
“It might put me at a disadvantage if I didn't have the sparring partners that I have,” Young said. “But we train regularly. We spar regularly. We go fight other people. So, I don't think I'm at a disadvantage.”
In addition, this is Young's second time fighting in regionals, and his opponent is the same person he fought last year, albeit in a loss.
“I could've won,” Young said. “I was winning the first round ... I gassed out. It was my first open [division] fight.”
While Young may know what to expect on Saturday, Tazhibay and a few other Washington Golden Gloves champions will be fighting in regionals for the first time.
Burtonsville resident Tavon Body won his regional fight last year and said the most important thing is to be prepared mentally.
“Boxing is 90 to 100 percent mental,” Body said. “You could be physically strong and you could be in shape, but mentally if you're not ready, you're going to get in there and you're going to fold.”
Body will look to repeat as a regional champion at 165 pounds.
Other area boxers competing on Saturday include Marcus Wright of Temple Hills at 123 pounds, Keeshawn Williams of Capitol Heights at 132, Gary Antuanne Russell of Capitol Heights at 141 and Justin Bell of District Heights at 178.