The Boxer – Magomed “Maga” Abdusalamov
This article was originally published at Eto Kavkaz in September 2017.
Eta Kavkaz aims are similar to those of East of Elbrus: telling the stories of the people, culture and history of the Caucasus. They just do it all in Russian. Our partnership with them will allow more access to the richness of the North Caucasus to our Western, English-speaking audience.
The state of New York will pay $22 million to Russian boxer Magomed “Maga” Abdusalamov, who was confined to a wheelchair after a title fight in the fall of 2013. Abdusalamov’s family accused the state of negligence and unprofessionalism, arguing that the boxer’s health could have been preserved if the fight had been stopped and medical assistance had been provided on time.
What follows is the story of Magomed’s wife, Bakanay Abducalamova, who has cared for her husband from the moment of his tragic accident.
I fell in love with him right away’
Maga and I had a typical Dagestani version of dating, which was through our parents. We lived on neighboring streets, but I didn’t know him. At some point Maga saw me and was interested. Per our customs, our fathers talked. Both were inclined to agree that we marry. My father pointed Maga out to me at one point, and I thought, “He’s a looker.” Then Maga’s parents came to us with the ring. A wedding day was immediately decided upon – September 18, 2004. I was studying to be an economist, but after the wedding I switched to correspondence courses. Maga said, “Don’t even bring your diploma home — you won’t work. Only I can be your boss.” That was fine with me. I wanted to be near my husband all the time. What fun Maga and I had at home! We played tag and hide-and-seek. We would shoot each other with water from squirt bottles. We danced. Once we had children, we would sometimes leave the house at nine in the evening and just walk through shopping centers or drive around town. Of course we argued at times, but we were happy. I fell in love with him right away, and he with me. For three years after the wedding, I never left the house alone – not even for bread. Maga was very protective. If we were walking down the street together and someone looked at me, he might shout out, “What are you looking at my wife for?” Sometimes I think I loved him too much. You can’t love too much. But I had such a wild love and also a rabid jealousy. If I had ever seen him with another woman, I would have been ready to eat her. We just found each other; we had the perfect match. I believe in fate. Maga was my destiny. We lived happily for nine years.
No one expected this to happen to Maga
On November 2, 2013, in New York, Magomed Abdusalamov met with Cuban Mike Perez — both undefeated. In the first round, Maga suffered a broken left cheekbone but boxed all 10 rounds before losing by unanimous decision. A few hours later, he was admitted to the hospital with a brain hemorrhage. Doctors had to put the boxer in an artificial coma to avoid brain damage; but a few days later, Abdusalamov suffered a stroke. Eventually doctors removed a blood clot from the brain as well as part of the skull in order to reduce the swelling. Maga spent 10 months in an American clinic, where his wife Bakanay took care of him every day. The boxer was left confined to a wheelchair, the right side of his body paralyzed.
I drowned like a bull
The husband should look like a statesman
This is a different person
I keep hoping
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