By Alexey Sukachev
Russian cruiserweight hope Denis Lebedev (16-0, 11 KOs) is in for a tough test this Sunday night. Hard-hitting boxer-puncher Lebedev, 29, is scheduled to face well-known Cuban heavyweight-turned-cruiserweight Eliseo Castillo (20-2-1, 15 KOs) in a non-title eight-rounder, which will headline a huge amateur tournament, arranged in honor of the PBFR president and former unpaid ranks’ superstar Victor Petrovich Ageev. The fight, as well as the tournament, will be held at local Palace of Culture in Balashikha, several kilometers east to Moscow, and will start at approximate time 3 PM.
“I want to emphasize the fact that it’s for the first time in the history of Russian boxing, when such a renowned fighter will compete as a part of amateur tournament. That’ll be a huge fight for local fans and Team Lebedev will try not to disappoint its supporters”, commented Lebedev’s manager Vladimir Hrunov.
Denis Lebedev is currently in Chekhov, preparing for the upcoming test with his head coach Valery Belov, who occasionally is also Alexander Povetkin’s trainer. Lebedev was slated to fight Brit Matthew Ellis in a huge Manchester undercard last Saturday but the fight was scratched after Ellis failed to make the weight limit. Fortunately for Lebedev, who is promoted by Frank Warren, he was able to get a new date as quick as it was possible.
33-year old Eliseo Castillo was reportedly scheduled to take on unbeaten 200lb contender BJ Flores on March 21, but the fight fell through when Flores chose Jose Luis Herrera as his next opponent. “I’m in excellent shape and totally prepared to get that prospect’s ‘O’ away from him”, was quoted Castillo. “BJ Flores would have been one to be punished but now it’s Lebedev turn to be upset”.
Both fighters have recently suffered long lay-offs in their careers. Lebedev was forced to take four years off the ring due to a complex of circumstances but showed no ring rust in two easy blowouts last year. On the other hand Castillo, who is best known for his win over former champion Michael Moorer and a fourth-round TKO loss to Wladimir Klitschko, last fought in July 2006. The Cuban fighter decked highly regarded prospect Jonathon Banks twice in the first round only to be kayoed himself three stanzas later.