N.Tugstsogt represents Mongolia’s best hope for a world champion since Lakva Sim’s fifth-round TKO earned the WBA’s vacant 135-pound title over Miguel Calist in April 2004 before losing it via unanimous decision to then-unbeaten Juan Diaz that July.
“Personally, I’ve never met him, but I’ve watched Lakva Sim’s fights several times, and a lot of people want to be like him,” said Nayambayar, 26. “I think he’s a hero, and not just famous as a professional boxer. I’m a big hope for a title fight for Mongolia, so I would like to become world champion and bring the title back to Mongolia.”
But N.Tugstsogt (10-0, 9 KOs) must first get beyond 29-year-old left-handed former champion Claudio “The Matrix” Marrero (23-2, 17 KOs) in a 126-pound eliminator for the right to face southpaw WBC champion Gary Russell (29-1, 17 KOs), doing so on January 26 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, as Premiere Boxing Champions returns to FOX (8 p.m. ET/ 5 p.m. PT.).
The main event features WBA “super” welterweight champion Keith Thurman (28-0, 22 KOs) ending a 22-month, injury-caused ring absence in pursuit of his eighth defense against third-time title challenger Josesito Lopez (36-7, 19 KOs).
N.Tugstsogt’s amateur career blossomed in 2009, when he earned a silver medal in the world amateur championships as well as a bronze in the Asian championships. “King Tug” also earned a gold medal in the 2010 World University Games, and another silver in 2012 London Olympics.
But if Nyambayar can become a professional world champion, that, in his mind, would surpass even his countryman and predecessor.
“I won a world amateur silver medal at the age of 17, and then, I won an Olympic silver medal when I was 20. No one else [from Mongolia] has done that,” said N.Tugstsogt.