By Alexey Sukachev
Former light heavyweight world title challenger Ismayl Sillakh (23-2, 18 KOs), once being touted one of the hottest prospects in the game, still hopes to achieve greatness in boxing. On June 2, Sillakh will have a very tough test to define his readiness when he takes on experienced Russian fringe contender Maxim Vlasov (34-2, 17 KOs) in Moscow, Russia.
Sillakh, 31, who was an amateur star and holds wins over Dmitry Chudinov, Artur Beterbiev, Robert Woge, Badou Jack (twice), Thabiso Mchunu, Imre Szello and Constantin Bejenaru (twice) in the unpaid ranks, is 2-0, 1 KO, since his crushing loss to Sergey Kovalev in November 2013.
“What did I get from that loss? Of course, Sergey Kovalev is one of the top five best fighters in the world. There were some errors in that loss. I’m working to eliminate them now. Surely, that was very stressful to take that punch, to be knocked out, to lose," Sillakh said.
"But now I’m seeing it differently. There was nothing tragic. It was a learning experience after all. Sergey has shown me that I was in the wrong weight class. I have been cutting no less than 10 kilograms before my fights. I’m a lanky guy you know, I cannot drain and dry myself up beyond some basic physical limitations. It was easy to get up in weight, really easy. Now I don’t have to rape my own being to make weight, to work against my health. Sergey has shown me the way. He is a great fighter, and it was what it was. I have learnt this lesson, and I’m ready to go on”, said Sillakh to Sport-Express.
“There was a huge difference when I moved from 175 pounds all way up to 200 pounds. I can say that I have fully grown into a cruiserweight, and I’m planning to remain in this weight class if I am not to move even higher to the heavyweight division. Plans? I wish to become a world-class fighter, to become a world champion and be an integral part of the world boxing elite. Now this is my plan."