By Keith Idec
Sergiy Derevyanchenko is growing impatient.
The undefeated middleweight contender is 32 years old and knows he needs to start making his mark in the middleweight division as soon as possible. The heavy-handed Ukrainian has just 12 fights, but believes he is more than ready for any 160-pound opponent that is willing to fight him.
The problem, particularly since Derevyanchenko dominated and stopped Tureano Johnson six months ago, is that there isn’t exactly a long line of eager fighters willing to embrace the high-risk, low-reward proposition of facing him.
“He feels he’s not getting the credit he deserves and he’s willing to fight anybody,” Keith Connolly, Derevyanchenko’s manager, told BoxingScene.com. “The problem is he is so good that no top-tier middleweight wants to fight him. Now it’s up to me, the fans and the powers that be to put pressure on to get Sergiy the big fights.”
His 12th-round stoppage of the Bahamas’ Johnson (20-2, 14 KOs) on August 25 in Miami, Oklahoma, made Derevyanchenko the mandatory challenger for Gennady Golovkin’s IBF 160-pound championship. With Golovkin (37-0-1, 33 KOs) headed toward a rematch against Canelo Alvarez (49-1-2, 34 KOs) on May 5 in Las Vegas, and perhaps a third fight, it could be quite some time before Derevyanchenko gets a shot at the Kazakh knockout artist.
Derevyanchenko doesn’t just want to sit around, waiting on Golovkin.
The 2008 Olympian dominated journeyman Dashon Johnson (22-23-7, 7 KOs, 1 NC) for six rounds before their scheduled eight-rounder was stopped on the Deontay Wilder-Luis Ortiz undercard March 3 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Derevyanchenko hopes to return to the ring late in the spring, preferably in a high-profile fight.
“We are the mandatory in the IBF, so we are looking to fight for the title in the near future,” Connolly said. “It doesn’t matter who it is, but in the meantime, Sergiy wants to stay active. He’s been crushing people in the ring and not getting the notoriety he thinks he deserves.
“The only three middleweights that can even compete with Sergiy are Canelo, Golovkin and Danny Jacobs. I feel Sergiy, with his style, would absolutely wipe the floor with Billy Joe Saunders.”
A bout between Derevyanchenko (12-0, 10 KOs) and Jacobs (33-2, 29 KOs) would be very interesting, but they’re trained by the same man, Andre Rozier.
“Danny and Sergiy share the same trainer, so that fight is very tough to make,” said Connolly, who also manages Jacobs. “And since Canelo and Golovkin are busy fighting each other in May, and possibly a third time later this year, we are looking for any other big fight possible. As we saw over the last couple of months, Demetrius Andrade found a way out of fighting Sergiy.
“So Sergiy has instructed me to get him the next possible big fight. He wants and thinks he is worthy of fighting in big TV slots. Talent-wise, he is a pound-for-pound type of fighter. So he wants me and his promoter [Lou DiBella] to get him those opportunities, and he wants them now.”
Artie Pelullo, Andrade’s co-promoter, told BoxingScene.com recently that the undefeated southpaw from Providence, Rhode Island, is more than willing to fight Derevyanchenko. Thus far, however, neither HBO nor Showtime has offered enough money to make an intriguing Andrade-Derevyanchenko fight a reality.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.