By Alexey Sukachev
WBO #9 and WBC/IBF #10 ranked super middleweight Maxim Vlasov (25-1, 12 KOs), who was temporarily sidelined by various promotional and management issues in the last couple of years, closed 2012 in style, overpowering both former four-time world title challenger Khoren Gevor and durable Serbian Geard Ajetovic in a dominant fashion within less than a month’s span between those fights.
Vlasov is considered by many to be a legitimate threat for all of the 168lb super powers. His trainer Victor Petrochenko, who was also working with Dmitry Pirog for a long time, considers Vlasov ready for bigger challenges than Gevor and Ajetovic.
“We have already started our camp for the next fight. We hope to get back to the ring in the nearest future, maybe in a month or two. Maxim feels perfect, he is in great shape, and we are targeting a March return, which will hopefully place us in a better position for a world title shot”, says Petrochenko in the official statement.
- Can you give us your thoughts about two latest performances by Maxim?
- The Gevor fight was a must for us, very useful. It has been played out as we’d thought. The fight itself was very dirty and vicious, and that wasn’t surprising for us. Khoren is a very experienced boxer. That time, in November, he worked as a pure spoiler in the ring. He did his best not to fight and not to give us a chance to fight. He often violated the rules, and he did that intentionally. The meaning of such fights can scarcely be overestimated. They aren’t fun to watch, specifically for the fans, but at the same time they are twice as helpful for the future development of a boxer.
As for the Ajetovic fight, Vlasov’s preparation was simply perfect. However, we knew it takes a superficial force to knock out such a rugged journeyman as Geard, who has never been stopped throughout his lengthy career. He boxes in a defensive mode, and one should be truly specific to put him down. If there had been a chance to win it inside the distance, Vlasov would have surely realized it. Anyway, Maxim got a perfect schooling of hard, lengthy fights, which last the distance. That was very valuable.
- Let us dream a bit. What if you are contacted by one of the super middleweight champions of the world. What would be your answer? Will you recommend Maxim to go on with the fight, or will you persuade him to reject such a chance for further development?
- Maxim can fight the best of his weight class right now. Just to let you know: he has sparred with (Arthur) Abraham recently and he did whatever he wanted to do to the champ. Arthur is a very strong fighter, a real beast in the ring. His punches are very hard to sustain, he has a perfect guard but once again: Maxim had little problems with such a renowned fighter. Truth be told, even though I cannot see any technical or tactical blemishes in his boxing, he continued to move on, to refine his skills in order to become a much better fighter. Our primary goal now is to lift his athleticism and his conditions to the highest mark. That is what we are working at right now.
(Mikkel) Kessler is the best choice for us. Not that he is tailor-made for Maxim, but he is really good for us. He has a convenient style of fighting. He is a great fighter, a true champion, but his isn’t very versatile, he can be outboxed in the ring. Froch can be fought against and even won against too. What makes him a much harder opponent is his unorthodox, awkward style of fighting. And his granite chin is accompanied by the character of the same brute power and steel will.
Andre Ward is definitely the hardest of them all. He is the most talented spoiler in prizefighting today. He boxes brilliantly, his hands are magnificently fast, and he makes no mistakes. Even inside, where he doesn’t like to box, his opponents can do very little with him and his smart approach. It’s no doubt; he is the best fighter of this weight class and the most difficult opponent for any boxer at 168 pounds.
- Maxim has a huge chance to lose against any of the aforementioned fighters. Aren’t you scared by this?
- I don’t like the modern politics of boxing at all. I don’t like when a boxer’s record is getting padded with human punchbags, trialhorses and tomato cans. It’s a pity something similar is happening in Russian boxing too. Fighters should fight live dogs, evenly matched opponents. This is boxing, you know. That’s why we shall never turn down a chance to fight any of the world champions. Maxim is 26 now, and it’s a great time for him to step up his game and to try himself against the very best boxers in the world. Even though we are underdogs in any of the possible fights against the division’s big names, we are ready to give fans the very best and to make everything, what is possible (and even more), to find ourselves on the top of the world.