By Alexey Sukachev
Three weeks ago, Russian light welterweight Denis “Ghengis Khan” Shafikov, a sound technician and a sharpshooter, defended his European title for the second time. He did this in a convincing manner by erasing the sole blemish of his almost perfect professional record (now 29-0-1, 17 KOs).
A year and a half before that he had been held to a much disputed draw by the Italy-based Cuban veteran Brunet Zamora (22-0-2, 10 KOs – beforehand). The Cuban master went on to yet another draw – this time against Panamanian prospect Alberto Mosquera for the vacant WBA interim title. Shafikov chose the continental road and hardly complained about that ever since. On May 31, Denis used all his mastery and offensive arsenal to dominate Zamora over twelve in their rematch.
What is next for the “Khan”? To know more about Team Shafikov future plans BoxingScene.com contacted the boxer’s manager Oleg Bogdanov.
- Oleg, tell us, please, about the fight?
- It was a difficult test but Denis passed it brilliantly. It was even more convincing than the first victory over Zamora, which had been taken from Shafikov in a very rude manner. This time Denis started to overcome the Cuban’s resistance from the very beginning. Zamora was in worse shape than in the first fight and struggled a lot to sustain this pressure. He tried to sneak in with a single huge punch, which could have changed everything, but that hadn’t been the case in Ufa. As the fight progressed, Denis was continuously showing more poise and the actual result (117-111, 117-112 and 117-113) tells us all what we have to know.
- Yet, the fight ended with a decision, not a kayo. What went wrong?
- First of all, I have only warm words for Zamora. His reflexes are still great, his chin is great, and his balance is great. Simply put, the guy is a wonderful boxer, a classy one. Yet, Denis would have knocked him out but there was nobody in his corner to give him a correct advice.
- I noticed Shafikov was assisted by you and his Finnish manager and co-promoter Pekka Maki…
- Indeed he was, and both I and Pekka aren’t professional coaches. The reason is simple: Alexander Zimin was undergoing some therapy and was unable to attend the corner. Alexander is an old man, he has his issues with the health and it showed. The same problem led to a change in Alexander Povetkin’s team, where Zimin was replaced by Kostya Tszyu. Had he been in the corner, and the result could have been different.
- Does this mean, you are looking for a new trainer for Shafikov now?
- Not an issue. Actually, we aren’t looking for anybody to replace Alexander Zimin. He has already confirmed he would continue to work with Denis, and that suites us completely.
- What is next for the “Khan”?
- We have some plans to realize, and they are numerous and they offer us some lucrative opportunities to shine in the near future. The most profitable opportunity is offered to us by the Belgians. There’s an undefeated kid (Jean-Pierre Bauwens, 24-0-1, 14 KOs). He wants a voluntary crack at our title, we want to earn some money, and our wishes are coming along just well at the end of August. But we shall see. We have another offer to take part in a major WBC-organized tourney at 140 lbs. That’s a very interesting opportunity too.
However, we do have some slight misunderstanding with the WBC. At least, I cannot fully understand them. Denis’ rank has been lowered after his recent fight even despite a win. He was rated #8 and now he is at the #10 position. And Erik Morales, in spite of his recent loss, was reinstalled immediately at #5. I know Morales is a legend, and WBC is a Mexico-based organization but c’mon…
- Who will promote Shafikov’s next fights?
- Presently, we are working with P3 Boxing (Pekka Maki and Pettri Ramiander). But we are working with them on a fight by fight basis. They are doing what they can but Denis’ potential is much bigger. Presently we have at least three offers at hand: one from Mexico, one from a very big player in present boxing, and one from Japan. We haven’t decided yet.
- Can you tell me the names?
- No, I cannot. I’ll tell them you as soon as I can but for now I should remain speechless.
- Understood. What is about Denis himself? Is he ready to travel over half of the world, for example to Japan?
- Yes, he is. Shafikov is ready to fight whoever and whereever. All he needs is to fight frequently and on a regular basis.
- So, we shall talk in late August?
- It’s either August of September. We shall see. Plans are really big for this year.