By Alexey Sukachev
For the last several years there was a share of tiny boxing wires between Russia and the States. One specifically solid connection was realized by Union Boxing Management (UBM), once a promotional but now a managerial team, which guided several fighters from the world’s biggest country overseas, to the international boxing hotbed.
Leading the squad is WBO #2 and IBF #6 super featherweight Andrey Klimov (19-1, 9 KOs), followed by up-and-coming debutant Sergey Lipinets (5-0, 4 KOs), quite possibly sport’s #1 debutant in 2014.
BoxingScene sat down with UBM’s top managers Alex Vaysfeld (who lives in and operates out of Beverly Hills, CF, USA) and Spain-based Russian Andrey Tokarev to speak about their team and their prospects’ closest plans.
BoxingScene: “Tell us more about your company. I assume you were once a promotional team but your fighters are now fighting under different promotions”
Tokarev: “Indeed, we were previously holding a promotional license but decided to change our profile for better effectivity a while ago. Right now all of our fighters are promoted by Andrey Ryabinskiy but our connections in Spain and overseas allow us to insert our men into different shows and promotional installments.
Union Boxing Management isn’t just me and Alex. It’s a widely presented company with offices all over the world, including Spain, Austria, USA, Latin America etc. Alex and our chief partner Alexander Mezhirovskiy are covering the States. As a local, I’m concentrating more on European events, and together we form a strong coalition
We guide mostly Russian fighters, but we had some other fighters as well. For example, Matthew Villanueva (11-0-1, 9 KOs) was part of our team but he was forced to retire following a streak of injuries. We are doing a major work finding the prospects but it’s not an easy work to get them ready for a professional game. That’s why we have a limited stock of pugilists. It’s like searching for a diamond in debris”.
BoxingScene: “Your biggest asset is a top-ten rated super featherweight Andrey Klimov. What is next for him?”
Vaysfeld: “Klimov is rated #2 by the WBO (also #6 by the IBF). We are presently stalking WBO champion Orlando Salido (42-12-2, 29 KOs) for a possible clash for his championship. Negotiations are quite difficult at this stage as Fernando Beltran of Zanfer Promotions isn’t very positive about letting his boxer against quite a dangerous fighter in Klimov. But we still hope the fight will take place sooner than later. In any case, Andrey fights next in late March, possibly in the States. It’ll be either a fight for Salido’s belt or another defense of Klimov’s WBO I/C title” (Author’s note: Salido is fighting against Rocky Martinez in April).
Tokarev: “We’re trying to corner the Mexican, who is a full-fledged champion now since Mikey Garcia has finally moved two divisions north. His countryman (WBO/WBC #1) Francisco Vargas chose to press the WBC for a fight against their champion (Takashi Miura). As for Diego Magdaleno, he cannot make this weight on a regular basis any more – it’s too hard for him. So, actually there are no obstacles for Klimov and Salido not to sign a deal. Either tomorrow or in a couple of days – literally speaking – but this fight will happen. At least, American television is interested in Klimov”.
BoxingScene: “Sounds strange to me. Andrey was involved in one of the dullest stinkers over the last few years, losing widely to Terence Crawford in a horrible clash. Is anyone still interested in broadcasting Andrey?”
Tokarev: “You are partially wrong about this fight, even though I agree that it wasn’t a fan-friendly scrap. In fact it was bullsh*t – for the fans. For the experts it was a frenetic collision of two supreme boxers. Yes, Klimov clearly lost it but he spoiled Crawford’s mighty run, fooled him into a tricky stylistic affair and didn’t allow Terence to stop him. And, yes, we are talking about one of the mightiest champions in all weight classes. Crawford is a pound-for-pound stalwart in my opinion.
As negative as Andrey looked in that fight, there were some reasons for his subpar performance. He got bruised and partially injured in a very tough clash against John Molina just two months before. He wasn’t ready for the fight both mentally and physically but we chose to take it as it was a chance to fight on the HBO.
Andrey is a different man these days. You can see his latest affairs – they were exciting enough. Specifically, it was a fight against Guillermo Avila, which he has won on a stoppage. I’m absolutely ensured Klimov will give Salido a pure hell. He is a better boxer, he can take a punch and he has somewhat underrated punch himself. Knowing that Salido is a can’t miss attraction – just review his battle with Terdsak Jandaeng – you cannot miss his match-up with Andrey as well”.
BoxingScene: “Another of your stars in Sergey Lipinets. Tell us more about him”.
Vaysfeld: “Sergey is one of the best prospects to enter boxing over the last several years. He is nearing on to be a complete package even though he has started his career being quite a raw product. It’s not that shocking given the fact that Sergey wasn’t a boxer at all – he is a world-class kickboxer with some belts and titles on his resume. He has been forced to re-invent his approach to a different sport, to be re-configured for a new job, and thanks God, he is very teachable, very smart while learning something new”.
BoxingScene: “By the way, who is his mentor?”
Vaysfeld: “Like all of our fighters, he is being trained by Rodrigo Mosquera, a well-known coach from South Cali, who has also been working with such boxers as Gary Russell Jr., Francisco Vargas and some others”.
BoxingScene: “Lipinets is considered to be a special talent from what I heard and read. Is that a correct impression?”
Vaysfeld: “It surely is. Sergey is a natural gem. The last year he got several very impressive wins like those over 22-4 Louie Lomeli and 14-5-1 Filipino Ernie Sanchez. And he will continue to move on quickly. We are planning to see him in top tens of all major ranks by the end of 2015”.
BoxingScene: “And so the next for Lipinets is…”
Vaysfeld: “… most probably Cosme Rivera (37-19-3, 25 KOs) but we should know for sure a bit later. Rivera is an experienced veteran, durable and skilled, who has just fought another Russian Konstantin Ponomarev and lasted the distance. Sergey was previously scheduled to take on WBC #7 Fernando Angulo but that fight hasn’t been worked out. Anyway, Lipinets is back to the ring in mid-March, with 3/13 being a tentative date. WBO Intercontinental title will be at stake, and Sergey’s next fight will be televised live by Telemundo, which is a key to both American and Latino audiences”.
BoxingScene: “You’re also managing Smirnov brothers”.
Tokarev: “As for Mikhail Smirnov (6-0, 3 KOs) – we don’t have certain plans, regarding him. Mikhail got health issues, got problems with this back, so we don’t even know if he can continue his professional career.
Regarding, Evgueny Smirnov (5-0, 2 KOs), his younger brother, he will be quite active this year. On February 13, he is back to the ring in Spain against a fighter to be set later. BoxRec lists Angel Lorente (5-7-1, 3 KOs) as an opponent but he is a sub. One fighter we‘ve been looking at is Mexican veteran Oscar Blanquet (32-9-1, 23 KOs), who has previously fought for the world championship. He is not a featherweight but he wishes to move up in weight. If he resolves his issues with the Mexican federation, we shall fight him. And if successful, Smirnov will be back to Noginsk, Russia, on April 4 in a bid for a vacant WBC Youth 126lb title – as a part of an annual card, organized by Vladimir Laptev”.
“We have major plans for 2015, and we hope we shall success on all the fronts the coming year”, underlined both Vaysfeld and Tokarev.