By Alexey Sukachev
World-class boxing will make its long-awaited return to the Russian capital on Saturday when Yuri Fedorov Sports Lab arranges a major boxing tournament at the Aquarium Hotel located inside the so-called Crocus City on the outskirts of Moscow (“Myakinino” station of the capital underground). Helping Fedorov to stage this show will be Kirill Pchelnikov of PUSHKA Promotions and German Titov, who will bring more renowned fighters to the table. According to insider info, confirmed by German Titov Promotions’ web portal, Aaron Mitchell (27-1-1, 21 KOs), who was earlier scheduled to collide with Dmitry Pirog in a virtual eliminator, suffered an injury during his training camp and will be replaced by his twin Eric, who has never been stopped and has a handful of quality wins including victories over ex-IBF titlist Alejandro Berrio (TKO 1) and unbeatens Rob Dula (KO 1) and Anthony Fields (SD 8). Eric Mitchell has already arrived in Moscow.
The exact time table of the tournament now consists of seven international contests; three of them being scheduled for twelve rounds:
1. Timur Ibragimov (Uzbekistan, 26-2-1, 14 KOs) vs Awadh Tamim (Tanzania, 11-1, 6 KOs) – 12 rounds for a vacant WBA International heavyweight championship;
2. WBO #2, WBC #4, IBF #10, WBA #15 Dmitry Pirog (Russia, 14-0, 11 KOs) vs Eric “Murder” Mitchell (22-6-1, 11 KOs) – 12 rounds at middleweight (Pirog will be named WBO OC if successful);
3. WBO #9, WBA#10, WBC #12 Vitaly Demyanenko (Kazakhstan, 17-0, 11 KOs) vs Jorge Daniel Miranda (Argentina, 34-7, 13 KOs) – 12 rounds at welterweight (Demyanenko defends his PABA and WBO Asia Pacific titles);
4. Sahib Usarov (Tajikistan/Russia, 13-0, 6 KOs) vs Ilhom Rahimov (Uzbekistan, 6-0, 4 KOs) – 8 rounds at featherweight;
5. Khabib Allakhverdiev (Russia, 11-0, 6 KOs) vs Kevin Onyango (Kenya, 6-4, 1 KO) – 8 rounds at light welterweight;
6. Roman Simakov (Russia, 9-1-1, 5 KOs) vs Vasyl Kondor (Ukraine, 18-8-1, 5 KOs) – 8 rounds at light heavyweight;
7. Magomed Abdusalamov (Russia, 6-0, 6 KOs) vs Raymond Ochieng (Kenya, 20-9-3, 17 KOs) – 6 rounds at heavyweight.
On the threshold of fighting durable veteran Aaron Mitchell, Dmitry Pirog made several statements both about the upcoming fight and his possible showdown against European champion Matthew Macklin in April during his interview to Allboxing.ru (well before the sudden change of opponent has been revealed).
“I want to make certain things regarding the Matthew Macklin case clear”, commented self-managed Pirog. “Everything, he shouts and declares in various interviews is his personal opinion and not the official position of any party. If Macklin was really interested in fighting me, we could have collided on Feb. 6 in Moscow. However, Matthew is a home fighter who used to perform under the local judging. We offered him several alternatives. Even the fight in England was possible, but only on the conditions of the strict observance of rules and the presence of a WBO supervisor. After we offered that his team started to avoid any contact and hasn’t been responding for several months. Finally, we were forced to start looking for a new opponent.”
“My fight versus Aaron Mitchell will be a bout for the right to fight for the WBO belt. If successful in Moscow, is it really worth fighting for the European crown next? Why shouldn’t I go to America and meet Kelly Pavlik there? It’s Macklin who needs me, not Pirog who needs Macklin. If he wanted to fight me so much, where had he been earlier?”
“Aaron Mitchell is a dangerous opponent indeed,” adds Pirog. “He suffered his only defeat at the very beginning of his career from a fighter (Keith Mullings) who then went to become a world champion of his own right. Out of 27 victories Mitchell won 21 by knockout. And don’t let his age deceive you. Right now there’s no Kelly Pavlik or Matthew Macklin on my radar. Aaron Mitchell is the only man I really care about. I must be at my punishing best and defeat my American foe, and that’s the only thing I’m thinking about at the moment. Everything will be decided in the ring on the 6th of February.”
Ticket orders are available by phone: +74957817183 and at every ticket office and booking agency in Moscow. Media is advised to contact Mrs. Anna Fedorova via +79031162797. The event will be webcasted live via both http://www.ringstars.ru and http://www.allboxing.ru. NTV+Sport (Online) will start its broadcast at 9 PM LT.