Think about Mongolia.
Chances are good the images include majestic mountains, cloistered Buddhists or Genghis Khan.
Not professional boxing supremacy.
But new IBO featherweight champ Tugstsogt Nyambayar is eager to change that.
The native of Ulan-Bator, Mongolia’s capital and largest city, began his trek to the sport’s summit as a precocious
teen – capturing a bronze medal at the 2009 Asian Championships in China and following it up with silver
three months later at the World Amateur Championships in Milan, Italy.
Another silver, this time at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, prompted a relocation to California and
a jump to the professional ranks, where the 5-foot-8 right-hander’s target became clear:
Become his country’s second world champion.
“I want to make history,” he said. “I am grateful to have my entire country behind me. That’s why we started
this journey in the pros.” Consider it a mission accomplished.
Nyambayar scored his first world title opportunity in just his 11th professional fight and made the most of
it, beating former IBO champ Claudio Marrero by a close but unanimous decision at Barclays Center in
Brooklyn. The fight was broadcast live by Fox Sports on Jan. 26, alongside a welterweight main event between
Keith Thurman and Josesito Lopez.
The judges gave it to Nyambayar by scores of 114-113, 115-112 and 116-111, and put him on level ground
with countryman Lakva Sim, who held belts at 130 and 135 pounds between 1999 and 2004.
In fact, in Nyambayar’s mind, downing his first southpaw and snatching the belt edged his resume ahead of
the fellow Ulan-Bator native’s.
“I won a world amateur silver medal at the age of 17,” he said, “and then, I won an Olympic silver medal when
I was 20. No one else (from Mongolia) has done that.”
Marrero’s manager, Luis DeCubas Jr., was duly impressed, too.
“Tugstsogt is an animal,” he told Boxing Scene, labelling the winner as “the boogeyman at 126.”
Armed with that endorsement, the title-toting Mongolian is after total featherweight domination.
“I want to fight (Leo Santa Cruz) specifically,” he said. “But if it’s the IBF’s champion, Gary Russell, Oscar
Valdez or Carl Frampton who wants to fight me, it doesn’t matter. I think I’m ready for anybody.”
The would-be targets combine for a 142-4-1 record with 76 KOs, and, conveniently, fellow world title holders
Santa Cruz, Russell and Frampton are also affiliated with adviser Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions
Nyambayar signed with Haymon in 2015 and is based in Carson, Calif., where he works with respected
veteran trainer Joe Goossen. Now 65, Goossen has also worked with champions or former champions like
Michael Nunn, brothers Rafael and Gabriel Ruelas, Joel Casamayor, Diego Corrales and Amir Khan.
The 26-year-old Nyambayar began his career with eight straight stoppages – spanning 27 total rounds – before
rising from the canvas to out-point previously unbeaten Harmonito DeLa Torre. A third-round KO of former
title challenger Oscar Escandon followed, setting up the title win against Marrero.
And presumably, the bigger things ahead.
“That’s why we started this journey in the pros … no one will be able to deny me that opportunity,” he said.
“I believe I can do everything in the ring. I’ve seen everything throughout the world. Now it’s just a matter of
cultivating my skills and experience.”
World Title-Fight Calendar
February 23 – Vacant IBO super middleweight world title – London, England
Chris Eubank Jr. (No. 2 IBO contender) vs. James DeGale (No. 6 IBO contender)
March 16 – IBO cruiserweight world title – Kempton Park, South Africa
Kevin Lerena (champion) vs. Artur Mann (No. 26 IBO contender)
I.B.O. WORLD TITLE UPCOMING FIGHTS
Super Middleweight Chris Eubank, Jr. (UK) vs. James DeGale (UK) February 23rd, 2019
Cruiserweight Kevin Lerena (S. Africa) vs. Artur Mann (Germany) March 16th, 2019
I.B.O. WORLD CHAMPIONS
Heavyweight – Anthony Joshua (UK) Cruiserweight – Kevin Lerena (S. Africa)
Light Heavyweight – Sven Fornling (Sweden) Super Welterweight – Jarrett Hurd (US)
Welterweight – Thulani Mbenge (S. Africa) Super Lightweight – Mohamed Mimoune (France)
Super Featherweight – Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov (Russia) Featherweight – Tugstsogt Nyambayar (Mongolia)
Super Bantamweight – Paulus Ambunda (Namibia) Super Flyweight – Gideon Buthelezi (South Africa)
Minimumweight – Simphiwe Khonco (S. Africa)
I.B.O. WOMEN’S WORLD CHAMPIONS
Middleweight – Ivana Habazin (Croatia) Welterweight – Cecilia Braekhus (Norway)
Lightweight – Chantelle Cameron (UK) Flyweight – Nina Radovanovic (Serbia)
Minimumweight – Zongju Cai (China)
I.B.O. WORLD TITLE FIGHT RESULTS
January 26th, 2019 Featherweight Tugstsogt Nyambayar defeats Claudio Marrero UD
December 15th, 2018 Light Heavyweight Sven Fornling defeats Karo Murat UD
December 8th, 2018 Welterweight Thulani Mbenge defeats Miguel Vazquez RTD
December 2nd, 2018 Minimumweight Simphiwe Khonco vs. Joey Canoy ND
December 1st, 2018 Super Welterweight Jarrett Hurd defeats Jason Welborn KO (4th)
October 20th, 2018 Super Lightweight Mohamed Mimoune defeats Franck Petitjean UD
September 29th, 2018 Super Bantamweight Paulus Ambunda defeats Muhamad Ridhwan KO (7th)
September 22nd, 2018 Heavyweight Anthony Joshua defeats Alexander Povetkin TKO
September 15th, 2018 Middleweight Saul Alvarez defeats Gennady Golovkin MD
August 19th, 2018 Super Featherweight Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov defeats Robinson Castellanos TKO (2nd)
July 27th, 2018 Super Flyweight Gideon Buthelezi defeats Lucas Emanuel Fernandez Leone UD
July 22nd, 2018 Minimumweight Simphiwe Khonco defeats Toto Landero UD
June 23rd, 2018 Welterweight Thulani Mbenge defeats Diego Chaves KO (7th)
June 2nd, 2018 Cruiserweight Kevin Lerena defeats Roman Golovashchenko UD
May 5th, 2018 Middleweight Gennady Golovkin defeats Vanes Martirosyan KO (2nd)
April 20th, 2018 Bantamweight Michael Dasmarinas defeats Karim Guerfi KO (4th)
April 7th, 2018 Super Welterweight Jarrett Hurd defeats Erislandy Lara SD
March 31st, 2018 Heavyweight Anthony Joshua defeats Joseph Parker UD
March 24th, 2018 Light Heavyweight Karo Murat defeats Travis Reeves TKO (12th)
March 3rd, 2018 Cruiserweight Kevin Lerena defeats Dmitry Kucher UD
February 17th, 2018 Super Middleweight George Groves defeats Chris Eubank Jr. UD
February 10th, 2018 Super Featherweight Shavkat Rakhimov defeats Malcom Klassen KO (8th)
January 27th, 2018 Lightweight Emmanuel Tagoe defeats Fernando Saucedo TKO (10th)
January 20th, 2018 Super Lightweight Mohamed Mimoune defeats Emiliano Rodriguez UD
I.B.O. WOMEN’S WORLD TITLE FIGHT RESULTS
December 8th, 2018 Women’s Welterweight Cecilia Braekhus defeats Aleksandra Lopes UD
December 8th, 2018 Women’s Flyweight Nina Radovanovic defeats Sanae Jah MD
October 13th, 2018 Women’s Lightweight Chantelle Cameron defeats Jessica Gonzalez UD
September 8th, 2018 Women’s Middleweight Ivana Habazin defeats Gifty Amanua Ankrah UD
July 21st, 2018 Women’s Welterweight Cecilia Braekhus defeats Inna Sagaydakovskaya UD
May 5th, 2018 Women’s Welterweight Cecilia Braekhus defeats Kali Reis UD
April 21st, 2018 Women’s Super Welterweight Mikaela Lauren defeats Verena Kaiser MD