By Steve Kim
Trainer Abel Sanchez has been working with lightweight contender Denis Shafikov for the better part of the last five months and he's more than pleased by what he's seen as they prepare to go to China for their July 18th fight.
"It's been a real pleasure because I finally got a guy in the gym that wants to work as hard as Gennady (Golovkin)," said Sanchez via cell-phone from his gym, 'the Summit' on Monday. The Russian southpaw helped Jose Zepeda get ready for his shot at the vacant WBO lightweight crown versus Terry Flanagan.
"Zepeda called him a 'beast', called him a 'monster' in the gym," said Sanchez, who is also working with light heavyweight Nadjib Mohemmedi who takes on Sergey Kovalev on July 25th at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas as the main event on HBO. But first he has to make a trip to Asia.
"We were happy with the fact we were going to Macau, I wish it would've been for a title but unfortunately Mikey Bey vacated (the IBF135-pound title) so now we're going to fight a ten-rounder and then some time in September for the vacant title."
Shafikov (35-1-1, 19 KO's) is now slated to face Indonesian Roy Mukhlis (27-4-3, 21 KO's).
Steve Kim is the news editor for BoxingScene.com.