By Alexey Sukachev and Vladimir Begun Jr. / Photo by Vladimir Begun Jr. (Allboxing.ru)
On September 25, Russia-based but Armenia-born middleweight Gennady Martirosyan (22-2, 2 KOs) will get the chance of a lifetime in a title match-up against fellow countryman and WBO 160lb champion Dmitry Pirog (18-0, 14 KOs). Both fighters prepared for this fight with a visible zeal and used some high-quality sparring partners for their preparations. Among those were former IBF light middleweight champion Roman Karmazin (40-4-2, 26 KOs), who is fighting Osumana Adamu in the IBF eliminator on October 7, and super middleweight Maxim Vlasov (20-1, 10 KOs), who is known to American fans for several fights on ESPN's Friday Night Fights. Here is what both pugilists had to say about the upcoming collision.
Karmazin on his sparring sessions with Martirosyan, “I sparred with Gennady a year ago and also in 2011. I can ensure you that he has improved tremendously in less than twelve months. His biggest advantage is that his physical shape is wonderful. He is full fit to fight anybody. When we sparred, it looked like Gennady didn’t get fatigued at all. This kind of physical shape is very hard to achieve. Gena is always trying to find something new, to make himself ready for the fight. He is fully charged and I’m looking forward to this contest with a really huge interest.
Karmazin on Pirog, “Of course, I know Martirosyan much better than Pirog. I can only judge them from the outside point of view but I do think that Dmitry is slightly trickier between the two of them. And this means a lot. I can only think that it would have been much harder for me to fight Pirog than Martirosyan. I feel myself better when my opponent goes at me, tries to break me up. I prefer pressure fighters rather than boxers. But Pirog is a different type. He can hide one punch in a series of punches and he tries to use combinations and to use feints. He is very hard to fight with”.
Karmazin on the fight, “I won’t make it a secret that I’ll be rooting for Martirosyan who is my friend. We train together and I know him much. But this is a very tough fight for him. Dima is longer and he will try to use it to his advantage by working from the distance. Gennady should break the distance to induce some roughness on the inside. But he is too straightforward at times, and Pirog can use this for his own advantage. I don’t know who will win this fight. Let the strongest be the victor!”
Vlasov on his camp with Pirog, “Dima isn’t a champion by a chance. He always trains a lot and he always works hard to prepare himself well. His opponents were very different but he got the better of them all. It’s hard for me to fight Pirog even though I’m taller and heavier than him. But we didn’t spar with each other but it’s better to say that we fine-tuned some combinations and feints in a combat mode. With all his strengths, Pirog has some weaknesses in his defense, and we were working hard to eliminate them. We shall see if this work was successful on Sunday”.
Vlasov on the fight, “Predictions suck but I’ll go forward with one anyway. I think Pirog will stop Martirosyan in later rounds. Martirosyan will fight as he usually does: he will try to break the distance and to swing some combinations on the inside and then to get outside of the firing range. Pirog will try to counterpunch and to retaliate and he will do this better than he usually does. And then, when Martirosyan will tire after firing so much punches to the air – and he will certainly tire of that because his punches will be thrown too far from Dima to connect anything but air – Pirog will finish him.