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‘When I was 11 I started training twice a day, every day.’ Fearsome Uzbek prospect Israil Madrimov

Israil Madrimov
Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports
Paul Wheeler talks to Israil Madrimov, a man who likes to eat and dance

When and why you started boxing:
I started boxing once or twice a week when I was 7 years old. When I was 11, I began to train twice a day, every day.

Favourite all-time fighter:
My favourite all-time fighter is Muhammad Ali, both in and out of the ring, because of his history, religion and position in the world.

Best fight you’ve seen:
The best fight I’ve seen live is Gennady Golovkin against Sergiy Derevyanchenko.

Personal career highlight:
Winning gold at the Asian Games in 2018.

Toughest opponent:
All world-class opponents are tough, but Eumir Marcial was probably the toughest. [Madrimov outpointed Marcial in the semi-final of the 2018 Asian Games.]

Best and worst attributes as a boxer:
My physique and explosiveness are my strongest weapons. I’ve only had four professional fights, so I need to gain more experience.

Training tip:
Stay patient.

Favourite meal/restaurant:
I am an Uzbek – we like to eat! Uzbek restaurants are my favourite, and my favourite meal is plov – the signature dish of Uzbekistan.

Best friends in boxing:
My best friends in boxing are also my best friends in life – [fellow unbeaten Uzbek pros] Murodjon Akhmadaliev, Bakhodir Jalolov and Bektemir Melikuziev.

Other sportsman you would like to be:
I’ve always loved to play soccer, so I’d be a soccer player.

Last film/TV show you saw:
I’m not a big movie guy. The last thing I watched was a Turkish TV show.

Who would play you in a film of your life:
That’s an interesting question! Hmm, maybe Jackie Chan.

Have you ever been starstruck:
I’m a big fan of Gennady Golovkin. It was amazing to meet him and fight on his show as the chief support. [When Golovkin fought Steve Rolls, Madrimov was the main undercard attraction.]  

Last time you cried:
I cried after my last amateur bout at the 2019 Asian Championships [versus Tursynbay Kulakhmet in the quarter-final]. I thought I won the fight, but I didn’t get the decision.

Best advice received:
My father always told me to tell the truth, no matter how hard it is.

Worst rumour about yourself:
That I’m selfish and unreachable even for my friends and family.

Something not many people know about you:
I like to dance.

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