Abdrashid Abdrakhmanov is an outstanding Kazakh boxer of the Uighur ethnic origin. The year of 1969 was crucial to him. On his way to Las Vegas, where he participated in the first U.S.-Soviet boxing match and shook hands with the prizefighting legend Mohammad Ali, he met great Kazakh film director – Shaken Aimanov (1914-1970) – on board of a plane. The artist eventually helped the boxer to start his career as an actor. He is a two-times winner of the USSR Boxing Championships in the welterweight category – up to 67 kilos. He won its gold medals in 1970 and 1971. Mr. Abdrakhmanov could have become a major international athlete. But, during the Soviet era it was very difficult to enter world sports events. First, you had to win regional competition in one of the Soviet republics. Then, you had to excel at the Soviet Championships. Only after these excruciating tests you would enter European Championships or Olympic Games. So, your success depended not only on your athletic skills, but also on sheer luck and political clout of regional leaders as well.
Born on June 20 1946, he has starred in numerous movies too. Outstanding actors, like Robert de Niro and Sylvester Stallone, have also played as boxers. But, the Kazakh celebrity is a professional athlete indeed, while the aforementioned US film actors are just well-trained amateurs. According to a Russian site, he participated in eighteen photoplays. His most notable boxing role was performed in a Kazakh film, The White Square, 1970, where he starred as a student, who turned into a successful pugilist. You can download its Russian version from this link. Even today, the seventy-years old veteran of sports, Mr. Abdrakhmanov, regularly does vigorous exercises.
He was a formidable puncher. According to a book Stars of the Kazakh Ring, 1998, by Nikolai Safyanov and Boris Tskhvirashvili his punch force weighed about 650 kilos! Mr. Abdrakhmanov won great many of his fights by KO. Oddly enough, the formidable fighter also displayed a sentimental streak of his disposition. As a youngster, he adored famous Lithuanian boxer Ričardas Tamulis (1938-2008), silver medalist of the Tokyo Olympics. So, when he grew up and finally fought versus his Lithuanian idol at a big tournament, he didn’t dare to punch the Lithuanian. Thus, he lost to him on purpose. After the fight, being deeply moved, Mr. Tamulis told the Kazakh boxer: “I knew that you could have beaten me easily”. All in all, according to a book The Kazakh Boxers, 1999, Mr. Abdrakhmanov fought 207 bouts. He won 200 bouts. He never lost bouts in Kazakhstan’s tournaments. What was the secret of his impressive boxing skills? First of all, his brave attitude was a pledge of heroic performance. Then, he paid a lot of attention to physical training. He worked hard to strengthen his stamina. He routinely engaged in long-distance running in the mountainous terrain at the outskirts of Almaty. After running some fourteen miles uphill, he threw heavy stones at a mountaintop in order to build his muscle power. By the way, his estate is located at the top of a picturesque hill in Almaty. Well, he is literally King of the Hill! Sometimes, he sparred versus heavyweights, like Viktor Minakov – a bronze medal winner of the Soviet Championships. In the majority of cases, even the heavyweights lost to Mr. Abdrakhmanov.
Mr. Abdrakhmanov is a staunch follower of fitness. He neither smokes nor drinks alcohol. His Russian wife, Lyudmila, is a high-school teacher of the Russian language and literature. She has exerted a positive influence upon him. For example, as a teenager he smoked marijuana. The loving girlfriend made him quit this bad habit. Mrs. Abdrakhamanova is an energetic and creative woman, who has written several books, dealing with her husband’s biography and the history of Kazakh boxing. Among her schoolchildren was an ethnic Ukrainian, Andrei Malyarenko (1961-2002), former vice-president of Kazakhtelecom. Incidentally, Mr. Abdrakhmanov coached the Ukrainian so well that he won the USSR’s Boxing Military Championships at the beginning of the eighties. Amateur world champion, light heavyweight Andrei Kurnyavka of Kyrgyzstan also trained under his supervision.
It is noteworthy that even during the Soviet era, when private entrepreneurship was actually prohibited, Mr. Abdrakhmanov displayed certain business skills. At the end of the fifties – beginning of the sixties he lived in the vicinity of the Central Stadium, Almaty. Football fans, who had avidly drunk beer and lemonade, left behind them thousands of empty glass bottles. He was one of the enterprising boys, who readily collected the bottles. Then, he delivered the bottles to recycling facilities. Thus, the teenager made a considerable sum of money for his age. He literally had had a fistful of dollars! Later on, when he became a successful film actor, Mr. Abdrakhmanov received fat fees by Soviet standards. Being a regional celebrity, he set the fees to his liking.
The Kazakh boxer of the Uighur ethnic origin is a steadfast supporter of the friendship among different races and nations. His first coach, Mingerei Khairutdinov, was an ethnic Tatar. But, first of all, he is a patriot of his homeland – Kazakhstan. As an athlete, he promoted our flag and national anthem abroad. As an actor, he played predominantly Kazakh characters. Oddly enough, all his roles have been good guys. He has always refused to play bad guys, because once upon a time Soviet schoolchildren in his hometown of Almaty ardently asked him to perform only as a hero, not a villain. He has been one of a few actors, who is proud enough to choose roles to his taste.
Mr. Abdrakhmanov also expresses his personal opinions on a wide range of topics. For instance, to his mind, a MMA fight between a boxer and a wrestler doesn’t imply the strong favorite. The winner in this fight would be the athlete, who first makes a successful action – either a punch or a grip. He also thinks that grave problems with scoring system in amateur boxing has had a long history, dating back to the beginning of this sport. Because, boxing itself has been quite unwieldy to make clear-cut decisions, whether one has scored a point or not. For instance, it is relatively easy to ascertain whether a wrestler has made a grip, while often it is rather uncertain whether a boxer has landed a punch. He argues that such complicated rules have inevitably given an opportunity for corruption schemes in amateur boxing.