By Ryan Burton
Last May, former WBA cruiserweight champion Denis Lebedev suffered a severe beating when he faced the "other" WBA cruiserweight champion, Guillermo Jones in Russia. Lebedev's right eye was swollen shut in the first round and he later suffered a cut over his right eye as well. In the eleventh round a crushing shot sent Lebedev face first into the canvas, knocking him out in the process.
Jones would later test positive for a banned substance. While the win would still stand, Jones was stripped of his title and the WBA ordered an immediate rematch. The rematch takes place on April 25th and will also take place in Lebedev's home country.
BoxingScene.com recently spoke to Lebedev's co-manager Vadim Kornilov who said that he made major changes to Lebedev's training camp for the rematch. One of those changes was bringing the 34-year-old to the United States to train.
"We brought Denis in to California for this camp. I am co-managing him with another partner of mine. This was the first time he ever came to America to train. It was a three month training camp. He trained with Freddie Roach. Marvin (Somodio) was assisting. Gavin McMillan was the strength and conditioning coach," stated Kornilov who said that he followed the same blueprint that has worked brilliantly for another one of his fighters, Ruslan Provodnikov.
"I followed the same regimen that we did with Ruslan. We did everything the same way. He looked great. He sparred with a lot of the same guys from the beginning till the end. Some of the guys were looking better with him in the beginning but by the end of the training camp he was knocking guys down. I think there is a great improvement and I think that none of the dirty tricks that Guillermo Jones did in the first fight will work this time because Lebedev now has the American professional look to him after this camp and it will show in this fight."
Kornilov said that Lebedev had good sparring in Russia when he trained there but said that the intensity that comes with training in Southern California is at a much higher level.
"He had a lot of good sparring in Russia when he trained there. He would bring good guys in but here the atmosphere is different and I think Denis realizes that and appreciates that. Here he is secluded and he doesn't have his family and the people who are close to him here and that makes a big difference," Kornilov revealed.
Kornilov, who's stable of fighters includes Egor Mekhontsev, Fedor Papazov, Vitaliy Kopylenko, and several others in addition to Provodnikov and Lebedev, said that besides moving his camp to America, just a few other adjustments were needed and that he expects Lebedev to shine in the rematch.
"Denis is a very hard worker and I really saw that in this training camp. I don't think he overlooked Jones in the first fight. I just think there were some mistakes made by his team and certain things weren't done right. He was close to beating him the first time and I think he will be another level above Jones in this fight," said Kornilov.
All of Team Lebedev's focus is on Jones but Kornilov did reveal that if things go as planned on April 25th, that the Russian wants nothing more than to avenge his narrow split decision loss to Marco Huck that took place in February, 2012.
"Lebedev has talked a lot [about] Marco Huck himself. If he beats Jones I think that is the fight that we will be talking about," Kornilov told BoxingScene.com.
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