Both amateur and professional boxers have been considerably involved in unlawful activities. It is true for almost any region of the world. Kazakhstan is no exception. Yeah, tough guys who superbly punch each other in the ring have often illegally employed their deadly skills outside sports venues. Famous prizefighter, a middleweight Gennady Golovkin had a criminal friend, whom he doesn’t mention in his prime-time interviews. Mr. Golovkin would rather forget such a controversial period of his life. But, truth must be told.
Born in 1965, Serik Kaliyev (in Kazakh, Серік Қалиев) was at first a Karaganda’s policeman in 1986-1989. This industrial city in the central Kazakhstan has been known for its coal mines, chemical plants and… Gulag labor camps. No wonder that the city has also been populated by numerous hoodlums, who will stop at nothing in order to gain profit. By the way, Mr. Golovkin himself hails from Karaganda. The gangster and the promising boxer soon started their cooperation. Mr. Kaliyev was technically a Mr. Golovkin’s coach. Well, that was a hell of the coach! Musslimbai Dairbekov, a Kazakh boxing executive, told me that judges at a Kazakhstan’s tournament had been unwilling to grant a victory to the young Mr. Golovkin. Then, Mr. Kaliyev, armed with a pistol, interfered. He literally kicked one of the judges in the ass. So, the decision was changed in the favor of GGG.
The criminal “coach” and his gifted pupil enjoyed a great time together. The boxer won numerous competitions. His gangster sponsor showered him with presents: an automobile, cash, etc. The above photo shows them pictured together after the GGG’s triumph at the AIBA World Boxing Championships in Bangkok, 2003. Mr. Kaliyev also made a successful career: he was elected as the president of the Amateur Boxing Federation of Kazakhstan on December 12, 2003. It is a prestigious post, which has been traditionally held by influential politicians or wealthy businessmen. But, two weeks later he was deposed, because a billionaire Askar Kulibayev, the father of a Kazakh president’s son-in-law, had been elected instead. However, as the Federation’s first vice-president, Mr. Kaliyev remained in charge of its financial activities.
The next year of 2004 began favorably for the criminal “coach” and his pupil. The above photo shows GGG after his victory at the Asian Boxing Championships in Philippines. Wearing a sandy T-shirt, Mr. Kaliyev stands behind Mr. Golovkin. But, inside the boxing federation controversies were growing between its president and the first vice-president. The willful billionaire, Mr. Kulibayev, apparently regarded the federation as one of his numerous hobby horses. Despite his gangster habits, the aspiring millionaire, Mr. Kaliyev, did his best to promote Kazakh boxing still further. So, the two ambitious men were deadlocked in their confrontation. One of them had to go. There was a failed assassination attempt on Mr. Kulibayev, committed on May 12, 2004. Mr. Kaliyev and his chauffeur, Andrei Peskov, were sentenced to a 25-year prison term for this crime. A Russian killer, Mikhail Nartov, died in an explosion, which had taken place just a few seconds before he was about to gun down the billionaire.
But, GGG had no time to grieve for his friend’s unluckiness. The boxer was in preparation for the Summer Olympic Games in Athens, 2004. The Kazakhstan’s puncher was regarded as a strong favorite. However, something went wrong and he unexpectedly lost to a Russian pugilist, Gaydarbek Gaydarbekov, who had not participated in tournaments since 2001. The aforementioned boxing expert, Mr. Dairbekov, thinks that GGG actually sold his gold medal to the Russian athlete. As a matter of fact, GGG is of the Russian-Korean ethnic origin. So, his Russian father, Gennady Golovkin Sr, who was in charge of his son at the Games, brokered a deal with the Russians to sell his son’s gold medal. Thus, the Golovkins paid a respect to Mother Russia. And made handsome profit in doing so. A boxing coach Zhumabek Omirzakov, who was one of the leading heavyweights in Kazakhstan, also makes a suggestion that the Golovkins sold the gold medal to the Russians. Mr. Omirzakov shared his opinion with me recently.