The Runner Sports

Brooklyn’s Own Jafar Toshev Makes Pro Debut At Lion Fight 35

Fight Factory Gym is a hidden gem nestled in the eastern bloc part of Brooklyn, New York. Although it doesn’t look like much on the outside, once you step inside the sheer size of the place becomes apparent. Two full sized rings and an army of heavy bags stand at attention waiting to build a champion.

Born in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, on August 30, 1995, Jafar Toshev moved to America in 2001. Simply known around the gym as Johny, a proud product of Muay Thai coach Miguel Rivera of Brooklyn’s Fight Factory. A wiry Muay Thai fighter, Toshev is dangerous kicking from angles and possesses a variety of knees and elbows in his striking arsenal. A 14-year-old kid when he walked into Fight Factory, Jafar walks out a hardened Muay Thai professional making his debut at Lion Fight 35 in Foxwoods Resort & Casino on Friday.

Toshev takes on Yeison Berdugo (“Yayyoo”) as the opening fight of the main card. Berdugo is a tough opponent with stand up and MMA experience. Johny isn’t nervous, though, his opponent is just a blank face, a puzzle he has to solve in order to enter the next stage of his version of the American dream.

“I work in the day as a driver and train in the evening. My strong point is my die-hard attitude in the ring. I go in with everything I’ve got and my attitude is I’m going to knock him out or he is going to knock me out. I don’t go into the ring with the win or lose mentality. I go in to hurt him before he tries to hurt me” said Toshev.

He may not know it, but Toshev mirrors the mentality of a Badr Hari type fighter. The very mentality and skill set that can make him a fan favorite and feared opponent.

Toshev is no amateur when it comes to ring experience, Jafar has won the WKA North American tournament title back-to-back in 2014 and 2015 – lightweight division, Glory Rules; the Friday Night Fights full rules lightweight title, the ISKA United States Muay Thai title at 132 lbs., and the IKF National Tournament lightweight title.

“The Cookie Monster” whose nickname comes from a propensity to devour his mother’s cookies maybe a little too close to fight night, sees this as the next step in his combat sports career. This fight with Berdugo is a unique opportunity to throw hands with a fighter that has an MMA background. Johny sees MMA in his five-year plan and as we have witnessed in the past, accomplished strikers can transition well from the ring to the cage.

The future looks bright for Brooklyn-raised fighters, there will be a trail of cookie crumbs leading up to the Lion Fight ring on March 3. Fans in attendance will remember the night they saw “The Cookie Monster” fight.

Chris Grabowski

Chris Grabowski

Content Contributor at The Runner Sports
Former Division 1 athlete turned combat sports enthusiast. Combat sports can be described as human problem solving with dire physical consequences.
Chris Grabowski

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