By Alexey Sukachev
Former WBA light welterweight champion Andriy Kotelnik (31-4-1, 13 KOs), one of the finest boxers in his weight class, pulled no punches during his recent interview with national media agency "Young Ukraine" ("Ukraina Molodaya"). Kotelnik, who is coming off two back-to-back losses to world-class operators Amir Khan and Devon Alexander, threw a couple of bombs in the direction of the Klitschko brothers, Wladimir and Vitali, and their promotional company K2.
"I'm not arguing the fact that Klitschko is a top Ukrainian brand. But they are strong and powerful just because there's no competition in the modern heavyweight era. When the brothers created their promotional stable, they announced they would be the first Ukrainians to stage a championship fight in our homeland. But it was me who has actually got this job done. I accomplished this goal in 2008 when I outpointed Japanese Norio Kimura in my native Lviv for the WBA belt.
I became Ukraine's fifth champion of the world following Klitschko brothers, Wladimir Sidorenko and Sergey Dzinziruk. But Klitschkos, who dominate the Ukrainian sportive media space, do everything to convince people that they are the only men to carry on local boxing.
My fight with Devon Alexander was broadcast in 85 countries in the world - except for Ukraine. On the other hand, generally available local networks showcased fights of somebody named (Avtandil) Khurtsidze. When I fought Gavin Rees in Wales (for the WBA 140lb title), one of my Russian friends said to me: 'Hey, don't you know Ukrainian networks don't televise your fights. Our NTV+ does.' Don't you think it's not just an accident?
Vitali once said that he felt bad for me. And I feel bad for those boxers, who have agreements with his company. Klitschko asked me to compete for K2 but his offer wasn't even remotely close to the one which could satisfy me."
Author's note: Ukrainian Yuri Nuzhnenko, who was promoted by K2 East Promotions, fought Puerto Rican Irving Garica to a technical draw to retain his WBA interim title on April 19, 2008, in Kiev - several months before Kotelnik's defense against Norio Kimura.