When Mazlum Akdeniz said he wanted to be busier in 2021 than in 2020, even he couldn’t have imagined he’d be this busy.
The 140-pound prospect scored a first round knockout over Jader Esquivia on January 30 in San Antonio de Palmito, Colombia. Akdeniz wasted no time in lining up power shots, hurting Esquivia early, before finishing the job with a straight left hand on the chin that kept his opponent down for the count of ten.
Now, Akdeniz prepares to fight once again this Friday, February 5 against an opponent to be named later in a scheduled eight rounder.
“I told Mazlum that we’d make up for time lost, and we’re keeping that promise to start the year,” said Akdeniz’s promoter Lee Baxter. “Unfortunately, we don’t have the same opportunities in Canada for staging shows because of what’s going on in the world at the moment, so we’ve had to get creative. To his credit, he was ready to fight anywhere, any time, and he’s being rewarded for being prepared despite the circumstances.”
Despite the rigors of the pandemic, Akdeniz remained in shape and took part in a full six-week camp leading up to his most recent bout. Now, he will continue to stay sharp in Colombia as he awaits his second fight in a week.
Akdeniz isn’t too far removed from keeping a torrid schedule such as this one on the elite amateur circuit. As a representative of Canada in the amateurs, Akdeniz captured national gold, and scored a historic upset over a Cuban fighter in international competition, the first Canadian to do so since light heavyweight titleholder Jean Pascal. The 23-year-old is of Kurdish heritage, and was born in Amed, Diyarbakir, Turkey before moving to Canada at the age of 16, where he now resides in Montreal.
Many inside the Canadian boxing community feel that among the prospects in the country, Akdeniz has the best chance to become world champion.
“The goal is to have Mazlum in a position to challenge for a world title in 2022,” said Baxter. “Hopefully by the end of the year he’ll have a regional title around his waist, and come next year, the opportunity comes for him to realize his destiny as world champ.”