A Champion’s Fight to Bring Boxing Back into the Limelight

(Image: Zukhriddin Makhkamov)

How Uzbek National Light Heavyweight Champion Zukhriddin Makhkamov inspires boxers to be more competitive at the national and international levels.

Boxing was experiencing some decline in popularity a few years ago. Still, this decline is slowing, thanks to the sport’s inspiring professionals who follow the fame of Ali, Liston, Sugar Ray Robinson, and the greats that inspired hundreds of boxing movies. Rocky, released in 1976, brought boxing to mainstream audiences. Even with recent sequels to the popular film, boxing’s popularity began to decline.

There are many reasons for this: too many sanctioning bodies to follow, the rise of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), and a lack of iconic personalities in the ring. Even laymen are familiar with Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, and George Foreman. We knew these stars, we knew their antics, and we knew their talent in the ring.

One boxer, hailing from Tashkent, Uzbekistan, plans to change all of that. Champion boxer Zukhriddin Makhkamov has dedicated his life to boxing, beginning his career at a young age. He is passionate about the sport, and now he brings that passion to the United States via New York.

Boxing is a huge sport in Uzbekistan. State-sponsored competitions and teams make international headlines with their wins. At the 2016 Rio Olympics, the Uzbekistan National Boxing Team won six medals, making a stunning comeback from their performance at the 2012 London Games (only one boxing medal). Boxing is more than a national sport in Uzbekistan.

Since 2012, Zukhriddin has served as the team lead of the National Boxing Team. In 2008, he joined the AIBA, now known as the IBA – International Boxing Association. As part of the IBA, he twice led his team, the Uzbek Tigers, into the semi-finals in WSB (World Series of Boxing) competitions.

Zukhriddin Makhkamov takes boxing seriously. His skills and high-level performance have been recognized as a Master of Sport of Uzbekistan in Boxing (rank awarded in 2011). He is a four-time champion of the Republic of Uzbekistan. After moving to New York, he continued competing in bouts, taking gold in two competitions in New York: the 2018 International Parade of Champions Tournament Boxing Tournament and the 2018 New York Boxing Tournament. Then, in 2019, he won gold at the Ring Masters Championships Tournament. He continues to distinguish himself in the ring.

With his continuing participation in boxing, Zukhriddin not only emerges as the outright champion, but he also inspires new and upcoming boxers with his drive and dedication.

Bringing excitement back to boxing and focusing on youth engagement is part of Zukhriddin’s plans. As a member of the National Judging Committee of Uzbekistan, he is uniquely qualified to promote boxing as a safe and disciplined sport while maintaining high standards, which is sorely needed due to the media’s focus on the trauma that can result from repeated blows to the head.

“I am confident that my past track record of success and my extraordinary achievements in boxing make me one of those who rose to the very top of this field. I am certain that based on my athletic abilities and achievements, I will greatly assist the United States in enhancing our competitiveness at the national and international levels.”

Zukhriddin Makhkamov is a national and international Champion Light Heavyweight Boxer. He has multiple first-place finishes at the National Uzbekistan Championship (2008, 2001, and 2015) and international wins in Mongolia (2016) and Kazakhstan (2010 and 2011). He has a Master of Sport in Boxing and has been a member of the Uzbekistan National Team in Boxing since 2011 and the National Judging Committee of Uzbekistan.

About the Author

Loren Young is a freelance writer covering national and international sports. She lives in Tuscan with her husband and three boys and is a self-proclaimed “soccer mom.”

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