By Alexey Sukachev
Russia’s only world champion Dmitry Pirog (18-0, 14 KOs) continues his rest following a tough outing against Argentinean challenger Javier Francisco Maciel (18-2, 12 KOs) in late March. WBO middleweight champion Pirog didn’t look his best against determined and somewhat awkward challenger getting a not-so-convenient unanimous decision over twelve rounds. Konstantin Ustyantsev of Championat.ru contacted the champion and spoke with him regarding his future plans. And future changes in his entourage as well.
- Dmitry, tell us a bit about your recovery following the Maciel fight.
- I’m ok. For the first time in my life I ventured to take a rest abroad without fighting or training or doing business. I spent 11 days with my wife in Dominicana. I have been relaxing the way I wanted. Lots of sunbathing, swimming; I played tennis as well and made lots of sightseeing. What a perfect vacation that was!
- You’ve talked about a pain in your spine, which put your fight with Maciel in danger. How do you feel yourself right now?
- Everything is quite smooth. I feel no discomfort, no pain, and I have no limitations in my training. A good guy, one competent chiropractor, told me to by a nice medication to improve my cartilaginous tissue. I’m applying a course of it right now. I will also work out to strengthen my neck and my cervical vertebrae.
- How many times have you reviewed Maciel fight?
- It’s ten times at the very least. I studied it over and over again.
- Will you make any adjustments to your future training camps based on the fact you victory wasn’t that brilliant?
- Firstly, I realized I need to change much in my approach. I need to re-consider some important details – that’s why this clash was so useful. Secondly, it’s time for me to start training under the guidance of a knowledgeable American coach. Not that my team is bad but some fresh blood will be very useful. I want to underline explicitly that my previous trainer Vyacheslav Nepogodin will continue to work as a vital part of my team and will help to prepare me for upcoming fights.
- Who will be your next opponent? It looks like you Russian co-promoter German Titov plans an obligatory defense against your Russian counterpart Gennady Martirosyan (22-2, 11 KOs) next. He said that this fight would be conducted this summer.
- My team is presently working hard on the next date. There are lots of offers from various fighters but they are mostly unsatisfying. The only fight we are really interested in right now is a mandatory challenger Gennady Martirosyan, who is ranked #1 by the WBO. I want to arrange this contest overseas, in America, and I would be very glad if it gets televised by the ESPN. If successful in negotiations with Martirosyan, the fight can land a date somewhere in June or in July. It’ll surely be headliner of one of those events. We are doing our best to make this fight happen to a mutual satisfaction of me, Gennady, ESPN and our handlers.
Firstly, we offered a fight to both HBO and Showtime but they weren’t interested, so we were forced to look for other opportunities. ESPN looks to be the most possible host right now as they are really interested in such a fight, although nothing is solidified right now. The only problem is that my earnings will be very small. I’ll tell you frankly that this fight is very unprofitable for me. There’s an opportunity to arrange a fight with my countryman in Russia and to get paid in much bigger figures but that is not what I really want. Personally, I want to fight in America as often as I can to get much needed exposure overseas. Oppositely, if I continue fight in Russia, I shan’t be known in America, and I shall be unable to get major dates against the best fighters in business.
- Former IBO titleholder and “Contender” (the first season) finalist Peter Manfredo Jr. was discussed as your possible opponent. Is there a possibility you will end fighting him, not Martirosyan?
- Yeah, that was one of the choices. Unfortunately, the offer was very far from being anything serious.
- It looks like your relationship with television and chances to get possible fight dates haven’t become any less problematic even after you’ve become a world champion.
- There are much more problems when you are a champion and not just a challenger for the title. I thought becoming a champion will erase a majority of problems. But I’ve found out that everything is even more complicated, and there are tons of problems at a higher level of significance. I have to dedicate myself not fully to the training process but to resolve some organizational issues. This is very disgusting for both me and my co-promoter Kirill Pchelnikov. However, I want to thank Kirill for his constant help in making my life as easy as it can be for the champion of the world. Surely, fighting in America is a must – no doubt about that. But, unfortunately, this is much more complicated than that. I try to move in that direction but it costs me some big money.
I’m forced, or it’s better to say I have to, fight for little money. Given that, I pay all my coaches and my sparring partners not only for their work but also for their travel and living expenses, I barely have a zero balance after everything is calculated. But I’m not here to complain. Being a champion is a hard job but I’ve chosen this path myself and I’m not gonna stop in between.