As he enters his 450th fight between the amateurs, World Series of Boxing and the pro ranks, it’s fair to question if Sergiy Derevyanchenko can change who he is as a prizefighter at this point.
One thing he does plan to correct, though, is his approach from the opening bell.
The 2008 Ukraine Olympian and current middleweight contender from Brooklyn, New York aims for his third shot at a major title as he faces Jermall Charlo as part of a six-fight, twinbill Showtime Pay-Per-View event on September 26.. His previous two attempts have resulted in the lone two losses on his record, dropping close decisions to Daniel Jacobs and Gennadiy Golovkin in separate title fights just 49 weeks apart, both taking place on Madison Square Garden property in New York City.
On both occasions, Derevyanchenko (13-2, 10KOs) was knocked down in the opening round, thus forced to play catchup for the balance of the fight. The October 2018 loss to Jacobs—his training and managerial stablemate at the time—was competitive but clear, while many observers felt he deserved the nod versus Golovkin in their Fight-of-the-Year level war last October.
He and his team apparently believe as much as well.
“You can expect the same type of fight you saw against Gennadiy Golovkin,” Derevyanchenko—who turns 35 in October—vowed during a virtual press conference on Monday to promote the upcoming PPV event.
Derevyanchenko has not fought since the debatable loss to Golovkin, nor has he won a fight since outpointing Jack Culcay last April to once again position himself for a title fight. The bulk of his experience precedes his relatively brief pro career, boasting a 390-20 amateur record—including a trip to Beijing with the 2008 Ukraine Olympic boxing team—before going 23-1 in the World Series of Boxing before turning pro in 2014.
Even with his most notable fights coming in narrow defeat, many will argue that it still leaves him with a better middleweight résumé than Houston’s Charlo (30-0, 22KOs), a two-division titlist who attempts the third defense of his 160-pound title.
The issue is crossing the finish line ahead of his opponents, though with the promise of proof of that tweak to be on display come fight night.
“From the first second, I will be prepared to go to work,” vows Derevyanchenko. “I will be ready from the first second to the final bell.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox