Undefeated Turkish Öner brothers make shocking US debuts

Phil Jay 16/08/2015

Making their first appearance in the United States on Saturday night, hopes were high that the Öner brothers of Turkey could impress sufficiently enough to begin to make a name for themselves on the opposite side of the Atlantic.

Middleweights Bugra, 24, and his elder sibling, 25 year-old Alptug had won all eight of their previous bouts in Europe and recently picked up fringe WBC titles prompting promoter Ahmet Öner to showcase them on the Avni Yildrim v Glen Johnson undercard.

Bugra was pitched in against experienced journeyman Marcus Upshaw, whilst Alptug faced late replacement Zachariah Kelly in what were expected to be routine victories and a first step on the ladder to realising their American dream.

Known campaigner Upshaw had lost 14 bouts previously, even though he boasted a slight winning record, but Kelly had only won four of 15 contests and would surely be a walkover for Alptug to begin his career and build on his recent successes.

Not so, as Bugra was duly knocked out in five rounds against Upshaw and Alptug was also taken down by the unheralded Kelly in the third. Similar stoppages made it a complete nightmare start for the Öner family and will surely mean a return ticket straight back to their homeland.

One shining light for Turkish fans on the night was headliner Yildrim moving his record to 6-0 with a 99-91, 96-94 twice triumph over veteran Johnson, who was once a feared world champion and fought the likes of Roy Jones Jr and Antonio Tarver.