Boxer Metin Turunç won the Universal Boxing Organization (UBO) International Cruiser Weight title against Elnur Mammadov from Azerbaijan in a fight staged in Istanbul on 13 May.
This was Turunç’s second major belt and a significant feat for the boxer, nicknamed “Ironfist”, from the embargoed Turkish Republic of North Cyprus.
Turunç was initially expected to face Tanzanian champion Pascal Ndomba in the ring. However, Ndomba pulled out of the bout “due to visa problems”, according to Spor Yeni.
Mammadov, 34, stepped in as a last minute substitute to contest the vacant UBO title. The Azerbaijani fighter had come into the match on winning streak, but was unable to stop the blows from Ironfist and the fight essentially came to a stop at the end of the second round. Turunç was awarded a knockout when Mammadov was unable to start round 3.
For many, the rapid rise of Antakya-born Turunç to international boxing champion is incredible on two fronts. He is 40 years old and only turned professional last year, recording 7 knockout wins and 0 losses in his career so far.
Turunç is the first TRNC boxer to have won a championship belt, where he also holds the domestic title for Heavyweight Boxing Champion. It is hoped his success will pave the way for more success for Turkish Cypriot boxers and others in the TRNC sports community.
Top image, UBO Cruiser Weight boxing Metin Turunç (right) shows off his new belt, and his trainer Dindar Gölçek at Ercan Airport, 15 May 2022.