By Caoilte de Barra
This week sees more former IMMAF competitors competing in the professional ranks and looking to take their careers to the next level.
2021 World featherweight gold medalist Bekzat Zhassiya (Kazakhstan) already competed at Alash Pride 83 on March 20, where he made it a third consecutive victory as a pro.
Another stalwart of the Kazakhstan national team, Ayan Tursyn, is the next of the alumni in action this week when she returns at Octagon 43 to face Baktygul Kurmanbekova. The KO artist had plenty of highlights in IMMAF tournaments and has carried that form into the pro ranks, finishing both of her pro bouts to date.
On Saturday, March 25, Cornelia Holm (Sweden) and Louis Lee Scott (England) will make their PFL debuts in Newcastle, England. Holm had an incredible career in the amateur ranks, picking up two consecutive European gold medals along with a World gold medal in 2016.
Since going pro, she has had mixed results and currently has a split record of five wins and five losses heading into this bout.
2019 European bronze medalist Louis Lee Scott has been slowly building up his pro record and is set to meet his toughest test to date in Sam Robinson.
Elsewhere, Eduard Kexel (Germany) will make his first appearance of the year in a high-level clash with Abubakar Sabirov at NFC 13 in Germany. The 2018 European gold medalist has been exceptional since joining the pro ranks, amassing a record of 7-1, and another win could set him up for bigger things.
Recent IMMAF standouts Arlind Berisha (Kosovo) and Yevgeni Shinkarevsky (Israel) are both scheduled to make their professional bow at the weekend.
Berisha burst onto the IMMAF scene after winning gold at the 2021 World Cup and has enjoyed plenty of success on the regional scene to line up a move to pro. Competing at WFP 6 in Sweden, the 22-year-old will take on Mehdi Abaadli in the Main Event of the evening.
Yevgeni Shinkarevsky made history at the 2021 World Championships, becoming Israel’s first-ever IMMAF medalist by winning bronze. The bantamweight standout added to his success at the 2022 European Championships and quickly became an athlete to watch. His debut will take place in Cyprus on CGC 3, where he will face experienced opposition in Hansraj Samota.