Three-time World Champion Bagdat Zhubanysh has officially called time on his amateur career and is making the jump to pro. He has signed an agreement with the Naiza Fighting Championships for his debut, a prominent promotion in Kazakhstan that has been active since 2015.
Zhubanysh will continue to compete at strawweight (115lbs), the weight class he thrived in as an amateur. By debuting with Naiza FC, he joins national team and Erkin Kush teammate Dastan Amangeldy in the promotion.
During his amateur career, Zhubanysh burst onto the scene in 2018 at the World Championships. He made an instant impression, finishing both Isa Aldoy and Khaled Afara in the opening round to secure a spot in the finals against a much more experienced Roman Syrkin.
By beating Sirkin over three rounds, he earned his first World Championship and kick-started what would go on to be an unforgettable run.
Six months went past before we saw Zhubanysh return, and this time it was at the 2019 Asian Open Championships. Two submission wins against solid opposition made him 5-0 as an amateur heading into the World Championships.
Entering the World Championships, he was the one to watch following a stellar year of competition behind him. He opened up his second World Championships campaign with two dominant wins before meeting his toughest test to date. In the final, he faced fellow countryman Sagyn Kazbek, a bout that forced him to adapt, especially in the middle and final round. Despite coming up against a game opponent, Zhubanysh likely secured the final round and decision in the closing minute of the third round.
Due to the pandemic, it was unknown if Kazakhstan’s star would return to the amateur ranks when competition resumed. However, he returned in January for his final set of World Championships and created history.
Three consecutive victories in Abu Dhabi secured his third World Championship. On paper, it looked to be the toughest year for him. However, the 25-year-old dominated each of his opponents to round off his amateur career in style.
An opponent and date for the strawweight star’s pro debut have yet to be announced. However, fans can expect to see a well-rounded athlete that can win using his explosive striking and tricky footwork or dominate using his high-level wrestling and grappling ability. Time will tell how Zhubanysh will fare as a pro, but there is no ceiling in sight given his potential.