By Alexey “Oscar” Potapov
Former WBA light welterweight champion Andriy Kotelnik (31-3-1, 13 KOs) was the featured guest on the Internet-TV “RingSide Show” hosted by Fightnews.com writer Alexey “Oscar” Potapov. The former champ became a free agent on January 24th after campaigning under the Universum banner. He spoke about his last fight against Amir Khan, working with legendary promoter Don King, and about a possible fight on August 7th against WBC/IBF light welterweight champion Devon Alexander.
In your last fight you lost your world championship belt to Amir Khan. I know you’ve thought a lot about it. Can you tell us the reason for the defeat?
Several reasons. I don’t want to accuse anybody, but my defeat was unfair. I boxed in England and to beat Amir Khan, I needed to win by knockout…if fight would have happened any other place, he wouldn’t have won because he didn’t do anything. With management such as Khan’s, I would always be the world champion.
You have previously boxed in England and have has some controversial losses. Why did the Khan fight take place in England, in the challenger’s territory?
Because Khan’s promoters put up more money. I could not refuse such conditions. I knew I would win and then have an opportunity to box in the USA. …But Khan came into the ring not to fight, but to be engaged in track and field. He had one purpose: to last twelve rounds. I probably tactically fought incorrectly but I was in the best shape of my career. I wasn’t tired after the fight. I can’t call him the present world champion because when he was supposed to fight Marcos Rene Maidana, he said it’s uninteresting. When I was the champion, I had to box with Maidana because he was official challenger for one year. Now Maidana and Khan suddenly have one promoter. I understand that boxing is a business, but there are things which can’t be. When in one category there are three champions: interim, super, regular champion, I wasn’t afraid of fighting against Maidana, but Khan says this fight is unprofitable. He’s not reached the level of Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao and Oscar De La Hoya. If he wins against two or three of the best boxers in the division, then he can lay down conditions. So far he’s beaten Dmitriy Salita… You understand?
On May 15th Amir Khan will fight Paul Malignaggi in New York. What do you think?
I think Khan is the favorite in this fight. He’ll run and the judges will present him with a victory.
Your friend, WBO light middleweight champion Sergiy Dzinziruk, is now working with American promoters and will fight May 14th on Showtime. I’ve heard you also have offers from the USA. Is this true?
Yes. I received an American visa today. I’m going to America with an invitation from Don King. I’d received offers throughout the last two-three months. There was an offer to box in Africa for the WBO official challenger status, but it didn’t interest me. Now I want a professional relationship. My career is already at its peak. I’ve been a pro boxer for ten years.
Now speak about your possible fight against WBC/IBF light welterweight champion Devon Alexander. It may land on August 7th.
First, he’s a Don King fighter. And he’ll speak to Alexander about it favorably. I boxed on HBO twice. He knows that I’m a world level boxer and the fight can be interesting. But there’s a problem. I no longer wish to box in the light welterweight division. But, if there’s good money for this fight I’ll get in the ring and knock him out.
If Alexander wishes to fight on August 7th, can you be prepared for the fight?
Yes, for me it’s not a problem. If he wants to fight me, I’m ready. Alexander, if you consider yourself the champion, just give the OK and we’ll arrange the fight! We’ll see which among us is stronger.
You’re the only boxer who has defeated Marcos Rene Maidana. Do you want to fight him in a rematch?
I beat him and he should be calling me out. I know how to box him and I’ve already given him a boxing lesson. But he doesn’t want to fight me because knows he can’t beat me.
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The Internet-TV “RingSide Show” is hosted by Fightnews.com writer Alexey “Oscar” Potapov. Stay tuned for the full video interview with Andriy Kotelnik. Ukrainian boxing fans can click here.