By Alexey Sukachev
Having come back from his business trip to Budapest, where he had taken part in the annual WBO Convention, Russian top promoter German Titov revealed his plans for the nearest future during an exclusive conversation with this reporter. “The trip was fruitful both for me and my fighters”, prefaced his speech the promoter. “I took part in several important negotiations with notable partners abroad; we also made some requests for our fighters to be ranked by the respective World Boxing Organization and for them also to participate in regional title fights under the WBO aegis.” The next big competition under Titov promotion will be held in Moscow on October 16. “I’m sure that’ll be a large card and it’s almost set and done, though the exact venue is still under consideration. It’ll replace the original tournament, which was scheduled on Sep. 25 also in Moscow. We decided to postpone it to make the card more consistent.”
Headlining the show will be up-and-coming Russian light welterweight prospect Ruslan Provodnikov (12-0, 7 KOs), who is coming back to the squared circle after a long eight-month long hiatus. It wasn’t caused by any injury or management disorder but because of the time, Ruslan took to finish his diploma and to successfully graduate from the institute, receiving his higher education. “Provodnikov will be showcased in the WBO Intercontinental title fight; the order was successfully got from the WBO. The opponent is still to be named. We hope Ruslan will pass this test with his usual excellence which will make him enter the top seven of the WBO ranks in his weight class,” said Titov.
Supporting him will be a number of recent debutants of the highest order. Ukrainian Vyacheslav Glazkov (1-0), 2008 Beijing Olympics bronze medalist in the super heavyweight division, is penciled to fight a TBA in a four-rounder. Another bright prospect to enter the tournament will be Russian-born Greek Fedor (Theodoros) Papazov (1-0, 1 KO). Papazov is best known for taking part in 2007 Chicago world championship, representing his historical homeland and losing a competitive decision to eventual silver medalist and future Val Barker trophy owner and Olympic champion Vasyl Lomachenko. He made his professional debut this July, stopping his first opponent in two rounds. “Papazov is our future hope. We have high expectations of him. With his aggressive fan-friendly style, murderous punching power and his speed he remembers me about another lightweight of Greek origin – Michael Katsidis. He can go as far as him, I think,” added Titov.
The true gem of the card will be 2008 Beijing light welterweight gold medalist Manuel Felix Diaz (1-0, 1 KO) of Dominican Republic. “Diaz will make his next appearance on a special ESPN2 edition on Sep. 18 in Miami beach. There will be a huge Cuban-related card and he is facing Fred Tukes (7-1-1, 5 KOs) in a four-rounder. Right after that he will take a plane to Moscow and will train here for three weeks before being presented to Russian boxing fans”. Diaz was recently signed by Team Titov to a promotional contract.
As for his most renowned fighters, Titov preferred to keep silence. “Plans are big for Dmitry Pirog, Grigory Drozd, Vyacheslav Gusev and Andrey Isaev but nothing is solidified yet. I’ll report exact days/names/venues as soon as I know any”, reported Titov. Plans are set, however, for the Uzbek super featherweight Alisher “Ali” Rakhimov (18-0, 10 KOs), who is ranked #14 by the WBO (but who was ranked much higher just a month ago). Rakhimov was earlier set to face strong Thai import Fahsan 3K Battery in Moscow on Sep. 25, but this fight is no go now. “Alisher is that kind of fighter, destined for something big”, said Titov. “We want to build him the following overseas. That’s why he will take part in a big Tuxtla Gutierrez fight card, which will see Cristobal Cruz against Ricardo Castillo in a main event.”
Plans are also set for the WBO #11 and WBC #25 junior middleweight Sherzod Husanov (13-0-1, 7 KOs). Husanov, who is also the WBO Asia Pacific beltholder, will take part in an important rematch with fellow prospect and amateur standout Timur Nergadze (12-0-1, 2 KOs) on Oct. 3 in Moscow for the vacant WBC International title in the very same weight class. Both fighters fought to a competitive and controversial twelve-round draw earlier this June.
“We hope to come out big this fall,” said Titov at the end of this conversation.