In the mid-nineties, two brothers from the former Soviet Union sought and received political asylum in the United States. After solid amateur careers in their home country, Emil and Rufat Israfilbekov landed in Baltimore and began lives as pro boxers, taking the name of their hometown (Baku) in what is now Azerbaijan as their surname.
Rufat, a junior middleweight, had just a three-year career (13-2-1, seven KO's). Emil, however, fought from 1995-2003 (22-2, 17 KO's) as a middleweight and, at one time, was one of the top middleweights in the United States, ranked number 12 by the USBA.
Now, however, Emil Baku faces a different and more potent foe. He will need help to defeat this one. In 2012, Emil was diagnosed with stage four Glioblastoma Astrocytoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer. The now-42-year-old continued to train at the Laurel Boys and Girls Club. Last month, his condition worsened and doctors told him that he has just two months to live.
Emil, his family and his trainer, Robert Crawford, are looking for donations to help pay for Emil to travel to Brazil for a special medical treatment. They are hoping to raise $2,500 to cover the costs of the treatment and transportation.
If you would like to help, call Robert Crawford at 410-419-4348 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks.