Given how few pounds separate most of boxing’s seventeen weight divisions before the massive jump from light heavyweight to cruiserweight, it can sometimes feel like little more than a meal stands as an obstacle to combat. Those who understand how hard it is to shave pounds can explain how untrue that might be but perceptually it often doesn’t sound like much. It makes a showdown of contenders in weight classes just four pounds apart almost certain to carry a stamp of quality.
It’s been roughly a year and a half since Tugstsogt Nyambayar came up short in a challenge of WBC featherweight titlist Gary Russell. Like many fighters, Nyambayar’s activity was limited by COVID and he’s made only one start since, narrowly squeezing past Cobia Breedy last September in a fight heavily determined by some early knockdowns of Breedy. As the age of thirty nears, and with only 13 paid outings to his name, Nyambayar making bold strokes when he can is sensible.
A Yuriorkis Gamboa injury opened a slot one weight class north against one of the better Jr. lightweights in the world and Nyambayar agreed to the difficult assignment on short notice. To his credit, Colbert accepted what appears on paper a much tougher assignment on the same short notice.
Viewers tuning in Saturday (Showtime, 9 PM EST) benefit from their willingness as the main event has transformed from a showdown of today and yesterday to a top ten clash.
Sure, those top tens are four pounds apart.
It’s up to Colbert and Nyambayar to show us how much it matters.
Let’s get into it.
Stats and Stakes
Titles/Previous Titles: None*
Weight: 130 lbs.
Hails from: Brooklyn, New York
Record: 15-0, 6 KO
Press Rankings: #9 (Ring, ESPN)
Record in Major Title Fights: 2-0, 1 KO in WBA sub-title fights
Last Five Opponents: 117-21-3 (.840)
Notable Outcomes, Ring/TBRB Rated Foes: None
Additional Current/Former Titlists Faced: Jezreel Corrales UD12
*Holds a WBA sub-title at 130 lbs., 2020-Present, 1 Defense
Titles/Previous Titles: None
Weight: 129 ½ lbs.
Hails from: Ulan-Bator, Mongolia
Record: 12-1, 9 KO (15-3, 9 KO including World Series of Boxing contests)
Press Rankings: At 126 - #5 (TBRB, Boxing News), #8 (Ring, ESPN)
Record in Major Title Fights: 0-1
Last Five Opponents: 112-6 (.949)
Notable Outcomes, Ring/TBRB Rated Foes: Gary Russell Jr. L12
Additional Current/Former Titlists Faced: None
The Pick: Watching recent fights from both men increases the anticipation for this unexpected upgrade in Saturday’s main event. Nyambayar has fewer pro fights than Colbert but there is no real gap in pro experience and Nyambayar has a much deeper amateur background to draw on. If Colbert elects to fight Nyambayar the way he did Jaime Arboleda in his last outing, we could end up with yet another gem for 2021. Nyambayar at mid-to-close range is a schooled combination puncher with real pop. Russell contained Nyambayar with excellent spacing, feet, and well-timed leads that kept Nyambayar from consistently setting his offense up. If Colbert elects to fight long, and he can with some smart clinching along the way, he can do some of the same. It will be up to Nyambayar to make him pay in the clinches with the free hand. The edge in foot speed could be the difference for a Colbert who has more than one way to win this fight. The pick is Colbert by decision in what may ultimately be more of a chess match with intermittent explosions than a sustained war.
Rold Picks 2021: 29-6
Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene, a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, a member of the International Boxing Research Organization, and a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at email@example.com