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Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Sagiv Ismailov to Face Kristi Doni in February

Super middleweight Sagiv Ismailov is scheduled to face Kristi Doni on February 9 in Ashdod, Israel. This fight will be the main event of a card slated to feature five pro Jewish boxers.

Ismailov (3-0, 2 KOs) is a 20 year old Israeli. After scoring two quick knockouts in 2020, he last fought in September. Sagiv was very impressive in the first round of that fight against a tough veteran, Nikita Basin. He knocked down Basin with a picturesque right at the end of the round. But Ismailov became overeager to end the fight early. Loading up with overhand rights sapped his energy and, by the end of the third round, he was gassed. Sagiv showed the requisite guile and heart to earn a wide unanimous decision despite tiring late in the fight.

Doni (2-2, 2 KOs) is a tall southpaw from Tirana, Albania. As with tall southpaws like Paul Williams and Sebastian Fundora, Doni refuses to use his height advantage and box from the outside. Instead, he presses forward and lets his go. The counter-intuitive strategy worked for Williams and Fundora, but the jury is still out on the 19-year-old Doni.

Back in 2021, Doni won his first fight in a cavernous ring in Istanbul. He felt so comfortable against Sabri Altok that he kept his hands by his knees and poked out his chin daring Altok to hit it. Doni landed enough to convince Altok not to come out for the second round. A year ago, he faced Sayed Khalid Sadat in a ring the size of an Istanbul Starbucks. Sadat's arms and legs were all over the place, but found Doni's face far too often. Doni's head was exposed and his hands were low, but he stood up to a lot of hard punches. Sneaky body shots and swirling right hooks scored knockdowns and ultimately the KO for Kristi.

The class of Doni's opponents rose over his next two fights. His bad habit of keep his hands low and eating- rather than avoiding or blocking- punches caught up with him against Santeri Laine in Finland last September and in his November bout against Momo Elmaghraby in Italy. Doni retired on the stool against Laine and was stopped in the fourth against Momo.

The key to this fight will be Ismailov's conditioning. If he tires, Doni will take advantage by whipping punches to the body and searching for an opportunity to unleash his concussive right hook. Sagiv will likely find the target early and often, because he's as skilled as the Albanian is hittable. But the Israeli can't rush the knockout or it might turn out to be a very competitive fight.

This contest is scheduled for four rounds.

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