On December 9, the great “IBA Night of Champions” tournament will take place in Dubai. One of the most interesting promises will be a 10-round fight, in which the two-time world champion Muslim Gadzhimagomedov and the German Arthur Mann will compete. The Russian is rapidly gaining momentum and plans to become champion of a new WBA weight category – up to 101.6 kg. He gave the Championship a vivid interview in which he talked about preparations for the upcoming tournament, goals for the future and the most pressing problems of professional boxing.
We tell you the main details of the next event:
“IBA Night of Champions”: Tishchenko’s title fight and a new challenge for Gadzhimagomedov. LIVE
– On November 30 you were recognized as the athlete of the year in Russia and received the National Sports Award. What are your emotions in relation to this? – Emotions are positive. It is very nice to know that I received such an award. This is not just a prize, it is the highest special prize. I have never received this before. I think every Russian athlete dreams of this. In our country there is a lot of competition, there are many champions. And in all sports there are talented kids, world champions, Olympic champions. And the fact that it was me who managed to collect the award is a great source of pride.
– How did you prepare for the Dubai tournament? – The preparation took place as usual, in a standard way. We trained every day, I had quite difficult sparring sessions. I trained in my home gym in Makhachkala, our boys are world championship finalists and medalists in Russia. We have good competition even in the gym, talented guys. Therefore, we do not need others as fellow fighters. We have fraternal help, we can afford to train at the highest level in our own gym.
It’s great to have training in your own city, within your own walls. When you’re constantly on the road, it takes a toll on you. You have been away from your family and friends for a long time. But everything is fine here, so preparations are going according to plan.
Photo: RIA Novosti
– The WBA has introduced a classification for a new weight category. There are many Russian representatives on their way to the front line, are you ready to fight them? – Yes, they are compatriots, but they have already lived their lives, their best form has already passed. All I have ahead of me in the division is sports. I go out to the box and I don’t look: “mine”, “not mine”. They also understand who I am. This is the weight I hold. And in the Russian Championship at this weight I don’t see any point in boxing, there I will beat everyone. I can go even without preparation. In Russia we did not have such a heavy burden. I have confidence in myself and my abilities. Over time, if I have to figure it out in Russia and the world, I will get all these belts, all the titles. I don’t say much, but I do it. And everyone understands it and knows it perfectly because of my weight. They perfectly understand who I am and what I am capable of.
– And as for trash talking, how do you feel about it? Are you ready to speak in “high tones”? – I’m not like that, I don’t like to exaggerate, speak in advance. If I said it, I must do it. I’m not like in pop MMA, where they like to throw words to the wind. I know my stuff. There is a ring, there is a gong. From the first round we will be in the ring and no one will help our opponent. Neither his coaches, nor his friends who push him to exaggerate. He will take care of me. Of course, if the opponent goes too far, I may get into trouble. But he will see in my eyes that I will get the job done in the ring. The opponent understands that he won’t be able to beat me in boxing, so he tries to hurt me in one way or another, to show that he is tough. But that doesn’t work for me. I see in a person’s eyes what he is thinking, I see through it.
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– How do you feel about pop MMA in general? – To be honest, I don’t follow this at all. I do not like. I will never allow myself to do this, nor will I go to those places. For me to stay silent and insult someone for the publicity and the pennies. I do not need this. I’d rather give my all to boxing and training than to sit and talk and let someone insult me.
– What happens with veteran fights, when very old boxers who have long since completed their professional careers enter the ring? They cause a great resonance. – If a person trains and leads a sports lifestyle, that is good. But I won’t box at this age. If they like it, let them do it. I don’t see anything bad in this, but I can’t say anything good either. They are already adults, they must set an example in any case. Maybe there is something good in this. But at that age you can get injured, which will be terrible for you.
Photo: RIA Novosti
– In your career there are often unpleasant moments associated with refereeing. There have also been many controversial decisions in world boxing lately. what do you think about it? – I had a case at the World Championships in Tashkent, when a judge decided to discard me in the third round. Of course, I didn’t understand this point, but this happens, unfortunately. It’s gotten a little better lately, but before it was a disaster. The IBA is working very well on this. And the fact that he made a mistake could have played a big role. It was the semi-final of the World Championship. For her, none of that, for me, for life. Therefore, such serious errors cannot be forgiven, they must be punished. She was then punished and suspended from the championship. I hope she has realized her mistake and does not repeat such nonsense again.
The qualifiers for the Asian Championship were recently held. There are many dissatisfied people there; some guys were blatantly eliminated. And now many from there want to return to IBA. They thought it was wrong here, but they saw how they judged there, so they changed their minds. There are improvements in this area. And I think this will continue in the future.
– Is the work of Umar Kremlev and the IBA a modern sports phenomenon? – Umar Nazarovich has done and is doing a great job, he has made a great contribution to Russian sport and boxing. And not only in Russia, but also in the world. Before his arrival, boxing was in chaos in Russia. In 2016 I became champion of Russia and had to go to the European Championship. But they just wouldn’t let me in, they wanted to take the third number for no reason. Because? And there were many such cases. With the arrival of Umar Kremlev everything changed; This no longer exists at all. If the boy deserves it, then there is no money, nothing can affect him. It doesn’t matter whose son he is, if for the call or for the money. Previously, even guys who were not in the national team could go to the world and European championships. And now you deserve it: you’re leaving. And they provide you with absolutely everything. Umar Nazarovich raised boxing in Russia to its knees. And there have never been awards like this in history. The kids get motivated.
The IBA President criticized international officials and also spoke about the “Night of Champions”:
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– Regarding the Olympic Games. How difficult is it to be in limbo right now? – Hope is the last thing you lose. We hope that the IOC makes a correct and fair decision, that everyone at the Olympic Games is equal and that we go. I am sure that Russia will win the most medals. And if they don’t let us in, then so be it.
– Many Russian athletes have to change their citizenship to continue competing. How do you feel about this situation? – I think the boys do not want to change their citizenship, this is a forced measure. Basically, all the guys train under the flag, with Russian citizenship. But the fact that athletes are discriminated against is bad. This is at least illegal. Every athlete loves and wants his flag to be raised and the anthem of his country to be played.
– What do you think of Dana White’s approach, which shows that everyone is equal in sports? Russian flags are allowed there again. – This is great, very great. I’ve liked Dana White from day one. He is a man. He gives you the opportunity to earn money and compete under the flag; he does the right thing.
– By the way, Dana White himself said that Khabib’s team is capable of taking over the United States if he wants. How do you evaluate these words? – Speak correctly. His youth grows weaker every day. And if you let the guys from Khabib’s gym in, you can take it all. They have very few such daring boys left. They have softer guys, they are very young people.
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– The idea that boxing is increasingly becoming a real business, where the most profitable athletes are promoted, is becoming more and more popular. For example, the fight between Lomachenko and Haney without the clearest decision. Do you agree with this position? – Professional boxing has always been a business. Yes, the fight between Lomachenko and Haney was very close. I think Loma was better, but they gave it to Devin. However, professional boxing has always been a business. There are fewer such moments in amateur boxing, but there are also politics. The IOC does not treat the Russian team with a pure soul. It happens that our representatives are squeezed. It has its moments.
– A resounding duel recently took place between Tyson Fury and Francis Ngannou. What impressions did it leave and how natural is the result? – I think the result is fair. Ngannou was very surprised. He defended himself very well. I think Fury didn’t have a very good day. I didn’t expect Ngannou to reject me like that. Tyson treated his opponent too simply. But Francisco is a tough guy. Fury thought about going soft in this fight, but Ngannou wouldn’t allow it. If Francisco competes in professional boxing, he will take his rightful place. He had a good performance.
– Now many MMA representatives are trying to try their luck in boxing. Ready to meet any of them?
– If he wants, he would go out. If he is worthy and trained, like Ngannou, approximately.
Photo: RIA Novosti
– Tyson Fury has motivation problems. Do you think he is ready to fight Oleksandr Usyk? “He had too much confidence in himself. Now, after Ngannou, he realized that he was not very high up, that he could be removed or replaced. I am sure that now he will train and tune normally. Otherwise, he became more talkative. Now I received it from Ngannou and I realized that this can no longer continue. I think it will be a good fight with Usik. The odds will depend on Fury. Tyson can box very well, or maybe not very well. The ring will show everything, the chances are 50 to 50.
– Many are against the fight between Bivol and Beterbiev. Do you think world boxing needs this fight?
– Of course, it would be a very interesting fight. I think if you offer them a decent amount, they will accept. I think the promotion companies are not interested in this. Organize a fight between Russians and invest that amount of money. If they were given good fees, they would definitely box.
– Would they also have a 50/50 chance? – I would give the victory to Arthur here – 60 to 40. He is very strong, he saves well. Dima has good footwork. But if Arthur hits several times, he won’t be very good. I think Beterbiev is a little better.
The Russian boxing star answered the most important questions:
“The fight with Beterbiev is real.” Bivol – about the main Russian confrontation
– Who are you interested in following in world boxing? – Arthur Beterbiev, Tyson Fury, Francis Ngannou appeared. There are many types like that. I follow Saúl Álvarez, he is an interesting and good boxer.
– By the way, Wilder now wants to fight according to MMA rules. Can you imagine yourself in another discipline? For example, he fights with bare fists. – No, I didn’t think about that at all. But it all depends on the rate. So why should I go out? And I wouldn’t recommend Wilder go into MMA. I don’t think he even knows what wrestling is.