Kairat Yeraliyev (KAZ)

It took Kairat Yeraliyev until the fifth season of WSB to make his debut in the competition, and the Bantamweight (56 kg) boxer has excelled with a perfect 3-0 record. Victories over Andranik Grigoryan and Jonathan Sanchez were cultivated with aplomb, while he references Ireland’s Michael Conlan as his most difficult opponent this season. His performances has solidified his reputation as one of the toughest competitors in his weight class, and the 24-year-old entertains whenever he is in the ring.

Prior to his WSB achievements, Yeraliyev achieved success in the 2013 AIBA World Championships where he defeated Cuba’s Robeisy Ramirez en route to a bronze medal. The following year he won another bronze at the Asian Games, and also claimed a trio of gold medals in 2014 after winning the Republic of Kazakhstan President’s Cup, the Military World Championships, and the Gee Bee Tournament.

The Sydney 2000 Olympic Games inspired Yeraliyev to take up boxing after two Kazakh boxers achieved gold medals, while a further two claimed silver. With the support of his family, Yeraliyev credits talent and discipline as the necessary tools to become a successful boxer, which are two traits he utilises regularly. One of his boxing heroes is Roy Jones Jr, and there are definite similarities between the two fighters in terms of reflexes and uniqueness.

Away from the ring, Yeraliyev enjoys drinking tea, and eating plov, a dish in which rice is cooked in a seasoned broth. The 2012 Kazakh National Champion has future aspirations of becoming an Olympic Champion, and views Cuba Domadores as a team full of talented and hardworking boxers.

Astana Arlans are a very close knit group, and Yeraliyev notes this, calling his teammates friends, while describing the upcoming final with Cuba as Kazakhstan’s most important match of Season V.