Russia’s biggest post-COVID show takes place this coming Saturday in Kazan, the capital of Tatarstan. Atop the huge card, promoted by A Angels and Ratel Pro Fight with the support of the Russian Boxing Federation and under the partnership of StoLotto, is an important cruiserweight match-up between IBF #1, WBC #5 and WBO #6 ranked Ruslan Fayfer (25-1, 16 KOs) and WBC #4 powerhouse Alexey Papin (11-1, 10 KOs) in what is a WBC final eliminator.

In the division, traditionally filled with world-class Russian operators, this fight is yet another solid intrinsic collision with truly international consequences. Fayfer, 29, was there before as he handled fellow cruiserweight world-rated contender Yuri Kashinskiy his first ever professional loss. He has also fought on the world scene, losing a close decision to unbeaten American Andrew Tabiti in the first leg of the WBSS Season 2 quarterfinal.

Papin, 32, a former kickboxing standout, also has valuable elite-level experience, which has also resulted in his sole pro loss. In August 2019, Papin gave hell to future WBC champion Ilunga Makabu before losing a majority decision over twelve rounds on the undercard of Sergey Kovalev vs. Anthony Yarde showdown.

Some top Russian boxing personalities shared their thoughts about the upcoming clash in a string of brief interviews, conducted by the official portal of the Russian Boxing Federation.

Former WBA / IBF cruiserweight champion Murat Gassiev: “Those fighters are quite different. Fayfer is more technically sound and works in combinations, while Papin is more powerful and hard-hitting. Speaking about predictions it’s either Alexey rocking his opponent and then overpowering him, or Ruslan boxing his way to the points victory. But I would rather go with Papin on a stoppage win”.

Former IBF / IBO light welterweight champion Eduard Troyanovsky, “If Alexey wants to get [a victory], he should do damage to his opponent. Fayfer is a very difficult, awkward opponent with solid defense, who can force you to box his way”.

Troyanovskiy also paid special tribute to the reigning WBC champion.

“Speaking about the WBC champion, Ilunga Makabu is a very tough and inconvenient opponent. He seems to be taking punches, yet he is always around, responds painfully and starts to overcome his foe. If you are to defeat him, you should be one hundred percent ready both physically and tactically. Slugging with him just ain’t working”.

Promoter Vladimir Hryunov, “I think if Alexey is here to literally fight, he is about to win it. It’s prizefighter’s goal to deal damage. Dealing solid damage he will take advantage and get past Fayfer during the second half of the fight. If it’s a tactical match-up and not a fight, the bout will go to the scorecards, and Fayfer will take one on points. It’s a collision of styles, a really huge event in boxing. The winner takes it all, indeed. A shot at the world title is why one takes this hard route”.