By Alexey Sukachev
It could have been a potential fight of the year at least in one certain Mexican state but now it’s just a tune-up for IBF #3 and WBO #11 welterweight Carlos Ocampo (21-0, 12 KOs) of Mexico, who was originally slated to fight undefeated Russian contender Konstantin Ponomarev (32-0, 13 KOs) in what was ordered to be an IBF final eliminator.
However, IBF #4, WBO/WBC #5 and WBA #11 ranked Ponomarev refused to go on with the fight, while Ocampo is now facing journeyman Dario Ferman (14-3, 11 KOs) as Ponomarev’s late replacement at Gimnasio Rodrigo M. Quevedo in Chihuahua, Mexico. The fight will take place tomorrow.
Today, Alexey Vasilyev of the “Ural Boxing Promotions”, who co-promotes the 25-year old Russian prodigy alongside Top Rank, gave his version of what really happened.
They refused to go forward because the Ponomarev's head coach, Abel Sanchez, was already retained to work the corner of Alex Saucedo on the same night in California.
“Top Rank had won the purse bid to arrange this one, and Kostya had even signed a contract. The fight should have happened on October 30 in the States. We have made our camp and went on with our preparations bearing in mind this particular date. Then the date and the place for the fight changed to Nov. 11 in Mexico. And Abel Sanchez, Kostya’s head coach, would have been stuck in California on the newly proposed date," said Vasilyev to Vasily Konov Jr.
“We had continuously asked Top Rank to get the fight back to their show in California (an ESPN card from Fresno) but our request was never fulfilled. We were ready to arrange Ponomarev’s next fight in Russia but we were unable to reach an agreement on that either. Konstantin simply can not fight in one of the most important fights of his career without his coach in the corner. Specifically, given the fact that the fight is about to occur in Mexico, where judging is sometimes overly biased. That’s our point, and we shall stay put”, continued Vasilyev.
According to the TASS, Ponomarev is now heading back to Chelyabinsk with crucial decision to be made later.