By Caoilte de Barra
On Thursday, August 25, Bagdat Zhubanysh will make his first appearance as a pro following a glistening amateur career that saw him go undefeated on the IMMAF stage, picking up three world gold medals and an Asia championships gold medal.
For his pro debut, he signed to compete with Naiza FC, a Kazakhstan-based promotion where several IMMAF alum have kickstarted their pro careers. Across from him for his debut will be Sultanbek Orozmamat Uulu.
Competing in the strawweight division, the 25-year-old was unstoppable as an amateur and believed it was time to test himself as a pro.
“In each sport, [for] each athlete, after an amateur career, comes the moment to move to the professional level. I want to see what I am capable of and what I can achieve with all my experience and efforts.”
Looking back on his time competing as an amateur, Zhubanysh reflected fondly on his time on the IMMAF stage and shared some of his standout moments.
“I have been in amateur MMA sports for four years. I think this is a huge experience that will definitely be useful to me as a professional athlete. Every athlete who goes through the amateur stage strives for a professional look, and here, the experience gained plays only to help.
“The most outstanding moment is, of course, the last World Championship, where I became a champion for the third time.”
Speaking while mid-weight cut, Zhubanysh has food on his mind and looks forward to treating himself soon. “Well, for every athlete, I think it is after the weight loss process to eat delicious food,” he laughed. “When you’ve done a good job, you can also eat delicious food.”
He added: “And of course, the most memorable moment is when, after the victory, you see the joyful faces of the coaches, family and loved ones. Huge thanks to them for everything.”
Looking ahead to his pro debut and the plans for his career, one of Kazakhstan’s most promising athletes knows what path he wants to take.
“The first goal, of course, is to make a successful debut in the Naiza promotion, pave a career to the belt, become a league champion and then compete in ONE Championship and pick up the belt of my weight category.”