By Alexey Sukachev
The coming month will be a chance to shine for 24-year old junior welterweight hope Denis “Genghis Khan” Shafikov (20-0, 11 KOs) of Miass, Russia. He will be obliged to work hard and intensively, however, to capture the top honors and put his name into contention. “We are planning it huge for Denis”, says his manager Oleg Bogdanov. “The next fight will be a non-title ten-rounder in September and then we are going for some highly regarded minor titles in October.”
On Sep. 25 Shafikov, a stocky (just 5’5’’) southpaw with a smooth technique and an overlooked punching ability, faces journeyman Alexey Volchan (17-8-2, 10 KOs) from Slonim, Belarus, at “Atmosphere” night club in St. Petersburg, Russia. This clash will be a welcome addition to an earlier announced fight card, loaded by the Jab Promotions. The featured bout of the evening is a collision between Russian Dmitry Sukhotsky and Spanish veteran Juan Nelongo for a vacant WBO European belt at 175lb.
It looks like the ex-bantamweight Volchan is destined to be an easy opponent for one of the most talented Russian fighters around. You can never be sure though. “Volchan fight is a tune-up bout for Denis but he must be well concentrated and ready to overcome some resistance. He shouldn’t overlook his opponent”, continues Bogdanov. It shouldn’t have been Volchan, who will face Shafikov, but a much sounder name. “In fact, we were first ready to battle two-time former world champion Sirimongkol Singwancha, but, as you probably know, he was charged with drug possession and is now incarcerated somewhere in Thailand. What a pity! Then a name of Tim Coleman had been mentioned but it seems he preferred to withdraw from the fight with Shafikov. As for Denis, he was in Finland, preparing for the upcoming challenges alongside Russian super middleweight champion Kostantin Piternov and middleweight contender Gennady Martirosian. He has well upgraded his physical conditions over this summer”.
If successful against Volchan, Shafikov will be back to the squared circle on October 24 in Helsinki. The show will be co-promoted by Pekka Maki’s P3 Boxing, also Shafikov’s promoter, and Sergey Stepkin’s Union Boxing Management with the help of Oleg Bogdanov and will feature two Russian fighters in a doubleheader. “Denis is going to fight for a minor title against an opponent, still to be defined”, says Bogdanov. “We are looking forward to bring one of renowned Thai champions or contenders to Helsinki instead of Sirimongkol. We hope it’ll be a tough fight for Denis, where he will finally be able to test his skills in a not-so-faerie realm”.
Another Russian fighter to showcase his talent will be highly overlooked but extremely skillful BBU welterweight champion Roman Seliverstov (10-8, 2 KOs). Seliverstov will take on the toughest test possible, fighting former world title challenger Cosme “El Chino” Rivera (31-12-2, 22 KOs) from Mexico. Both fighters are 33 years of age, both are extremely durable with Seliverstov having been stopped zero times and Rivera twice against elite opposition (Zab Judah and Alfredo Angulo). Roman is coming off two notable wins in a raw – against late Andrey “Bazooka” Yeskin and Ugandan Peter Semo – and will have IBO I/C title at stake against Mexican. Seliverstov’s biggest win was last July over former world title challenger and European champion Michel Trabant from Germany.
NOTE ONE: On Friday night at Gladiator fight club also in St. Petersburg, aforementioned middleweight contender Gennady Martirosian (18-2, 7 KOs) fought for the first time since his loss to rising prospect Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam. Martirosian easily stopped Estonian clowning trialhorse Leonty Vorontchuk (19-43-1, 6 KOs) at 1:57 of the very first round in a single fight of that evening. Remarkably, Voronchuk has lost his 23rd consecutive rendezvous and hasn’t seen a victory since November 2004.
NOTE TWO: A few changes have been made to the fight card, where Sukhotsky and Nelongo are set to headline. New names of Ali Ganabaev (4-0, 3 KOs) and Igor Conabeev (1-0) have been added against test opponents. Also heavyweight prospect Maxim Maslov (9-0, 7 KOs) will now face Portuguese Humberto Evora (3-7, 2 KOs), who is better than his record suggests.