By Alexey Sukachev
On June 21, Rakhim Chakhkiev (16-0, 12 KOs), a highly regarded cruiserweight contender and 2008 Beijing Olympics gold medalist, will get his first shot at a world title. Chakhkiev, 30, who is ranked #2 by the WBC (as well as #5 by the IBF, #10 by the WBA and #11 by the WBO), faces WBC champion Krzysztof “El Diablo” Wlodarczyk (47-2-1, 33 KOs) at the Dynamo Arena in Krylatskoye, Moscow, Russia. Chakhkiev commented on the upcoming fight in a series of interviews for various Russian media outlets.
On significance of the upcoming fight, “It’ll be a crucial step in my career. I have expected it before, and I’m very glad my promoters were able to get me this unique opportunity. I’ll fight for the first time in my Homeland – that’s why I’m positively thrilled and excited with this combat. This is the first time [I’m fighting as a pro] in Russia, and it’s already a title contest. Fighting in front of my fans, battling at the heart of my state, I want to deliver my best ever performance”.
On Wlodarczyk, “Krzysztof Wlodarczyk is a very strong and hard opponent. I saw his tapes, I know he has defended the green belt five times, which tells me he is a good champion. I don’t want to proclaim myself a future KO winner or to say something disrespectful about the champion. I think it won’t be a walk in the park, and it’ll be a very hard battle for me. However, I’m ready to give what it takes to bring the belt back to Russia”.
On his tactics, “The Pole will try to win the end of the fight, to show who is a real champion. He has tons of experience in lengthy, championship competitions. So I plan to be especially careful in the closing stanzas. But, surely, I’ll try to win all of the rounds that I can – in every part of the fight. Physically, I’m in equally good shape. Maybe I’m even in a better shape than the champion. But Wlodarczyk is significantly more experienced. I’ll try to not let his experience speak on June 21”.
On a kayo, “As any pugilist, I’ll try to finish him inside the distance. But I won't lose the fight, trying to knock Wlodarczyk out. If it comes, so be it. If not – I’ll be OK with a decision”.
On the present state of Russian boxing, “I feel it’s going up, it’s getting better. New names came in, new funds have been invested. I see people who are trying to rebuild Russian prizefighting, to make our Homeland a hotbed of professional boxing. That’s a part of my own excitement, and I want to be a part of this renaissance”.