Gangster-Sponsored Athletes

The previous post of mine primarily dealt with a shady past of Gennady Golovkin — a prominent professional boxer from Kazakhstan. But, his present sponsors are also quite suspicious characters. In the last few years, GGG’s fights have been invariably accompanied by advertisements of Tsesnabank . The Chairman of its Board of Directors is Dauren Zhaksybek — the only son of Adilbek Dzhaksybekov, the Head  of the  Executive Office of the Kazakhstan’s President. No wonder that Mr. Dzhaksybekov is the main shareholder of Tsesnabank. Well, according to the former chief of the Kazakh KGB, Major General Alnur Mussayev, Mr. Dzhaksybekov was an extortioner. I don’t think that the former extortioner has completely quit his criminal habits. You see, times change, but Mr. Golovkin always rubs shoulders with dubious characters.

Some of the GGG’s teammates are also noteworthy. For example, a cruiserweight Issa (Stepan) Akberbayev of the Kazakh-Ukrainian ethnic origin has had a peculiar career indeed. He was a promising youth pugilist, but at the beginning of his senior amateur fights Mr. Akberbayev was brutally KO-ed  by a formidable puncher Pavel Storozhuk — a giant boxer from Karaganda. This devastating defeat, along with other losses, discouraged him. So, he quit as an amateur boxer. Eventually, he became a bodyguard of a billionaire Timur Kulibayev — a son of another Kazakh tycoon, Askar Kulibayev. Having got such a cushy job, he created a solid basis for success as a prizefighter. For instance, he was brutally KO-ed by Anthony Ferrante on January 19, 2013 at Madison Square Garden Theater, New York, New York, USA. But, his wealthy sponsors pulled the strings in order to keep a clean sheet. Thus, the KO was changed into “No Contest“. Another example of apparent match-fixing occurred on September 24, 2016, when “Bumblebee” (that is a pretentious alias of his) met Maik Kurzweil at Baluan Sholak Sports Palace, Almaty, Kazakhstan. The German boxer diligently imitated a knockout in the first round, although the Kazakhstan’s boxer hadn’t even managed to land a punch. That was a travesty of boxing!

 From left to right: Yuri Tskhai, Musslimbai Dairbekov and Timur Kulibayev, 2013.

This photo was taken in 2013. From right to left: Mr. Kulibayev, a Kazakh boxing executive Musslimbai Dairbekov, and a Kazakh senator Yuri Tskhai. This is a notorious bunch of profiteers! Mr. Kulibayev has been involved in a corruption scandal. They say that he took a bribe from the China National Petroleum Company in 2003. Mr. Dairbekov was a dentist, who served a 6-year prison term in the eighties for an embezzlement of gold fillings.  Mr. Tskhai is a financial muscle behind a Russian restaurateur Zhanna Kim, whose conflict with a designer Fatima Misikova led to a deadly shootout in Moscow on December 14, 2015. Can you see a smiling old man in the background? It is Amalbek Tshanov — the President of the Amateur Boxing Federation of Almaty City.  According to a book The Mafia of Shymkent, 2000, by Temirtas Tileulesov, Mr. Tshanov served a prison term for the rape of a young woman. Then, he forged fake documents in order to rise through the ranks of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. You can download the Russian text of the book here.  Finally, a young man, standing behind Mr. Dairbekov, is no other than Mr. Akberbayev himself — the billionaire’s bodyguard, who pretends to be a prizefighter in his spare time.

I know, I know. You are rather tired of the Golovkin’s topic. Let me introduce to you yet another “engaging” person. A multimillionaire Baurzhan Osspanov is the President of the Amateur Boxing Federation of Almaty Region. By the way, Mr. Osspanov and Sauat Mynbayev, the Chief Executive Officer of JSC “National Company KazMunayGas” — an energy giant, are close friends. They both hail from the same rural district, located in the south-east region of Kazakhstan. Mr. Osspanov is a tough guy with a shady past. In 2003, together with his bodyguards he reportedly beat and tortured a businessman Yerlan Aidarov. The wretched entrepreneur was forced to give a written acknowledgement that he embezzled $84,600 and, therefore, he commits himself to hand over his property to Mr. Osspanov. You know, Mr. Aidarov was a subordinate of Mr. Osspanov. The former was a director of “EnergoStroyIndustriya” LLP, while the latter was the Chairman of the Supervisory Board of “TSC Group Corporation” LLP. I think that now you have some idea, who is Mr. Osspanov. As for professional boxing, he lavishly sponsors a super welterweight fighter Kanat Islam.

Boxers from Ghana having fun at a snowy Kazakh hillside, 2016.

The vestiges of tribalism make themselves felt in Kazakhstan. Both Mr. Osspanov and Mr. Islam belong to the same Kazakh tribe — Karakerey. Well, it is a strong incentive for these old-fashioned men to help each other. Of course, match-fixing is not a crime in this respect. A massive PR campaign had preceded a fight between Mr. Islam and Patrick Allotey of Ghana, which took place on October 29, 2016 at Almaty Arena, Almaty, Kazakhstan. I knew beforehand that the Kazakh would definitely win. The Devil is in the details. At a pre-match press conference, the energetic Mr. Osspanov was obliging towards the African guests: “Is everything all right? Do you need additional money for a hotel, restaurant?” I was an eyewitness to all this fuss. So, I firmly decided not to attend this rigged event. The above picture is worth a thousand words: an aide to Mr. Osspanov had a great time with the Ghana’s boxers a few days before the fight.

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One thought on “Gangster-Sponsored Athletes”

  1. I like your blog a lot, especially the boxing stories. Are you going to write any more stuff related to boxing like this? Especially with the possibility of GGG fighting in Kazakhstan in June. Thanks


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