The believing Muslim Abdullayev took as lightweight 1996 at the Olympic Games in Atlanta, but had already lost the first battle against the Americans Terrence Cauthen. In 1997 he won at the Asian Championships in Kuala Lumpur and at the 1998 Asian Games in Bangkok. For his participation in the 1997 World Championships in Budapest, he failed early in Poland Maciej Zegan, he was then in Houston with wins over Ricardo Williams, Lukáš Konečný and Willy Blain amateur world champion in 1999.
In 2000, he won the gold medal in the light welterweight at the Olympic Games in Sydney, but he defeated, among others, Miguel Cotto and Ricardo Williams in the finals again. His record: 288-12.
In 2001, Abdullayev in the professional camp. Although he actually punched a typical style of attack, he remained largely unsuccessful as a professional. He lost his twelfth fight against Emanuel Clottey ( 19 wins, five defeats) by knockout in the tenth round. He was then taken by Universum Box-Promotion under contract and Fritz Sdunek was his coach. After four more victories, he punched on 6 June 2005 against his amateur opponent Miguel Cotto for the WBO title and lost after an eye injury. After another defeat against Ukrainian Andreas Kotelnik he ended his career.
After three and a half year break in 2009 Abdullayev returned back into the ring, but fought only in Uzbekistan. After five victories over fellow countrymen he lost in 2010 against the Ghanaian Joshua Okine. After another victory in 2011 Abdullayev ended his career.