By Alexey Sukachev
A year ago, Russian prizefighting celebrated the 25th anniversary of its second birth. It was a formal date rather than a single memorable event. However, ever since his grand arrival onto the Russian fight scene - boxing/business tycoon Andrey Ryabinskiy has been turning local fistic game into a string of impressive festivities.
On November 4, which is also (not accidently) the date of Russian National Unity, the World of Boxing promotional group (led by Ryabinskiy) will stage quite possible its greatest fight card in recent memory – and for the first time out of Moscow – in Kazan, Tatarstan. Two world title fights (alphabet versions) will be accompanied by a notable heavyweight event and two important cruiserweight collisions.
On Friday, the two most recognizable names - #1 heavyweight contender Alexander Povetkin (29-1, 21 KOs) and WBA cruiserweight titleholder Denis Lebedev (27-2, 20 KOs) – met local media at the Renaissance Monarch Center in Moscow, together with Mr. Ryabinskiy, Povetkin’s opponent Mariusz Wach (31-1, 17 KOs) and coaches of the aforementioned trio, as well as well-known Russian manager/impresario Vadim Kornilov.
Here are the most interesting quotes:
Andrey Ryabinskiy - “Kazan is a wonderful city, and it’s also one of the most sportive places in Russia. Local authorities and also the Tatar government, the Tatar president and his team are doing their best to aid us. The most telling feature of an entire event is competitiveness – it’s written in the tickets that the start is at 6 PM MT but we strongly recommend real fans of boxing to come as early as possible to witness a very loaded and very talented undercard. It is all about competitiveness – we try to make all of the fights evenly matched”.
Regarding the heavyweight major trio (Wladimir Klitschko, Alexander Povetkin and Deontay Wilder), “We can hardly face Deontay Wilder at this point as he and his team are very hard to negotiate with. I have a plan to execute such a match-up but I’ll voice it only after the Wach fight. Mariusz Wach is a very serious opponent”.
Regarding the undercard , “To discuss everyone I’ll need too much time, which I don’t have. I’ll make some crucial points. Ola Afolabi is a major threat and a tough test for Rakhim Chakhkiev. We have presented Rakhim with an assortment of options, of various opponents for him to get to the next, upper level. He will defend his title, the level of competitiveness here is unearthly, and I’ll definitely worry about him.
Same with Eduard Troyanovskiy. He has a difficult opponent in front of him, a very skilled one – and, making it twice as tough, he will collide with (Cesar Rene) Cuenca in a unification. We believe in Edik (shortcut for Eduard in Russian) and will root for him.
People place bets not to determine a winner in Dmitry Kudryashov’s fights but to define the very stanza his foe will be crushed in. Dmitry has dynamite in his glove but looking only for a kayo may find you a loss. So, Kudryashov is advised not to go after the knockout but to outbox and outpunch his opponent. With each fight his level of competition gets higher, and at one moment his opponents will be able to match his punching power with their own best qualities. But if he lands, it’ll be it”.
Regarding a continuous use of Polish fighters (the 4th of November is also the date when local militia liberated Moscow from the Polish invaders – in 1612 , “It has nothing to do with politics, it has nothing to do with a historical meaning of any dates. The entire team of the WoB has deep and profound respect to Poland and Polish people and specifically our Polish partners. We do our events to unite peoples, not to separate them.
I’m also ready to pay a huge amount of money to Krzysztof Glowacki for his fight with Kudryashov. We know Krzysztof is injured right now but as soon as he is back and ready we are prepared for further negotiations. The next move to be made by our Polish partners. If necessary, we are ready to arrange such a car not only in Russia but in Poland too”.
Alexander Povetkin - “Wach is a good guy. He is strong, durable and very willing – all those abilities he has shown against Wladimir Klitschko. I expect an interesting and tough fight, which will also be exciting for the fans”.
His thoughts about Deontay Wilder fight, “I’m not disappointed (it ain’t happening just yet). I just don’t think about it. For me my very next opponent is the toughest and the strongest one”.
Ivan Kirpa, former welterweight contender and Povetkin’s head coach - “Our camp was indeed great. It was divided into two stages, and right now we are 100 percent ready for whatever is coming next for us. We have one of the best conditioning coaches in Andrey Kozlov. We have also made some research work on Wach, who is very durable, elaborated some new approaches. We are ready for him and we are confident in our abilities.
Mariusz Wach - “All of Povetkin’s fights impressed me a lot but he looked specifically strong against Mike Perez – that’s where he was at his very best. I realized many interesting facts based on that quick fight”.
About his preparations, “We have been preparing for the fight for three months, and we are ready. I expect the bout to go all twelve rounds. There were no technical novelties in the gym but our plan is fully fulfilled. My loss to (Wladimir) Klitschko has taught me a lot, and I’m a much better fighter right now. A victory over Povetkin isn’t my lifetime dream but I’ll make as much as I can to achieve it. I won’t show any aggressiveness during a pre-fight installments and I’ll preserve it for the fight. I have no personal issues with Alexander, and I respect him both as a fighter and as a man”.
Denis Lebedev - “I’m fully rejuvenated and I feel supreme. And this time I have slept for no less than eight hours. My camp overseas was just as usual, and only sparring partners were different. I worked with conditioning guru Justin Fortune. Unfortunately, Freddie (Roach) was unable to come to Moscow this time but he sent Marvin (Somodio), whom I fully trust in. Everything has been smoothly controlled by the WoB executives from Moscow.
About Kayode, “I have already sparred with him in the past so I know much (about his “dirty tricks”). He is strong, and his moniker says a lot. But power isn’t enough to win a fight. I have something to offer him, and I’ll execute it under the certain guidelines during the fight”.
Vadim Kornilov - “Freddie Roach was the central figure in Lebedev’s preparations but since he is now getting Miguel Cotto ready for Saul Alvarez fight, he was unable to go to Russia. But he sent Marvin Somodio instead”.
Marvin Somodio, Lebedev’s chief cornerman - “I have already started to learn Russian. We are here to prepare Denis, to make him stronger. He was working with one of the best modern conditioning coaches Justin Fortune. He has previously sparred with Kayode, so he knows him perfectly. Denis is absolutely ready for the fight, and I’m sure he will grab a win”.
The event, promoted by the World of Boxing, starts at 6 PM MT at the Basket-Hall in Kazan, Russia, and will be aired live by a newly created Russian national sportive channel MatchTV. The card will include eight fights, all of them for minor or major titles.
The full line-up is presented below.
8. Viskhan Murzabekov (Russia, 11-0, 5 KOs) vs. Solomon Bogere (Uganda, 13-2-2, 10 KOs) – 10 rounds for a vacant IBO welterweight title.
7. Dmitry Bivol (Russia, 4-0, 4 KOs) vs. Jackson Junior (Brazil, 19-4, 17 KOs) – 10 rounds for the WBA I/C title.
Bivol, 24, is a former Russian amateur champion and a multi-time junior world and European gold medalist. Jackson Junior, 29, has fought Russian fighters thrice before, losing narrowly to Egor Mekhontsev (and sending him down) and Vasily Lepikhin and losing on a spirited TKO 4 to Rakhim Chakhkiev.
6. Ana Laura Esteche (Argentina, 11-4-2, 2 KOs) vs. Svetlana Kulakova (Russia, 10-0-1, 1 KO) – 10 rounds for the WBA female light welterweight title.
This is a rematch of a split draw between those two, which occurred in Moscow a year and a half ago when both met for the very first time. Kulakova is the interim champion, while Esteche is an owner of the full regalia.
5. Dmitry Kudryashov (Russia, 18-0, 18 KOs) vs. Olanrewaju Durodola (Nigeria, 21-2, 19 KOs) – 12 rounds for a vacant WBC Silver cruiserweight title.
Kudryashov, 30, is rated #2 by the WBC, #4 by the WBA, #5 by the WBO, #7 by the IBF and #9 by the TBRB. Durodola, 35, is the WBC #4 rated contender.
4. Rakhim Chakhkiev (Russia, 24-1, 18 KOs) vs. Ola Afolabi (UK/Nigeria, 21-4-4, 10 KOs) – 12 rounds for the IBO cruiserweight title, owned by Chakhkiev.
Chakhkiev, 32, is the WBC #3, IBF #4, WBA #11 and TBRB #6 rated cruiserweight. Afolabi, 35, is ranked #7 by the TBRB and #9 by the IBF.
3. Eduard Troyanovskiy (Russia, 22-0, 19 KOs) vs. Cesar Rene Cuenca (Argentina, 48-0, 2 KOs) – 12 rounds for the IBF/IBO light welterweight titles.
IBO champion Troyanovskiy, 35, rides a twelve-fight winning streak. Cuenca, 34, makes the first defense of his title.
2. Denis Lebedev (Russia, 27-2, 20 KOs) vs. Lateef Kayode (Nigeria, 21-0, 16 KOs) – 12 rounds for the WBA cruiserweight title, owned by Lebedev.
Lebedev, 36, is the TBRB #2 rated cruiserweight. Kayode, 32, is WBA #3 ranked 200lb contender.
1. Alexander Povetkin (Russia, 29-1, 21 KOs) vs. Mariusz Wach (Poland, 31-1, 17 KOs) – 12 rounds for the WBC Silver heavyweight title, owned by Povetkin.
Povetkin, 36, is the TBRB/WBC #1 rated heavyweight.