Alexander Dimitrenko: 'If I can defeat Puritty, I can move up'

18.09.04 - By Nat Kerr - - Less than 24 hrs before his fight with American Andy Sample, up and coming undefeated heavyweight hopeful Alexander Dimitrenko, currently in Leverkusen, was gracious enough to take the time out to answer questions about his upcoming bouts and his career aspirations.

Kerr: How are things with Alexander Dimitrenko?

Dimitrenko: Everything is great. Thanks for asking (chuckle)

Kerr: Tell us a little about yourself.

Dimitrenko: I am 22 years old. I am Ukrainian. I was born and raised in the Crimea, in Ukraine. I started boxing there.

Kerr: When did you start boxing?

Dimitrenko: I was 14 years when I started boxing.

Kerr: Where you involved in any other sports at the time?

Dimitrenko: No, not really. Perhaps, I played a little basketball.

Kerr: Why did you decide to box?

Dimitrenko: To tell you the truth, I am not positive why I started boxing. I admired the way certain boxers fought. At the time, I wasnít sure if I was going to box or study karate. I wanted to study karate, but in the end I started taking boxing classes. That was at the very beginning when I was 14 years old. I started boxing and everything sort of just catapulted.

Kerr: Did you have a particular boxing idol when you started out?

Dimitrenko: HmmmÖ. A boxing idol? I canít say I really had one. I canít call him an idol. I liked Muhammad Ali. I liked the way Ali fought. His tactics in the rings, the way he boxed, weaved and his style. Style wise, I like the way Wladimir Klitschko fights. Currently, I really enjoy watching Kostya Tzu. I really admire his boxing skills.

Kerr: How would you describe your style as a boxer?

Dimitrenko: I like to fight from a distance. I am tall; 6 feet 7 inches to be exact. I like to take advantage of my size. I keep my opposition at bay. Iíll jab and use my reach to my advantage. I am defensive when it is necessary, and attack at the appropriate time. Sounds clichť, but it about sums up my style as a boxer. You have to attack your opponent, because if you sit back he will get the initiative to attack.

Kerr: Why did you decide to start your professional boxing career in Germany?

Dimitrenko: When I was an amateur, and just coming off my victory at the world junior championship (In 2000), I received an offer from Universum Box-promotions to box professionally in Germany. I weighed the positives and negatives of several options that were out there. In the end, the logical choice was to start my career in Germany with Universum.

kerr: How long is your contract with Universum?

Dimitrenko: 3 years

kerr: Youíre often compared to the Klitschko brothers. Is the comparison a valid one?

Dimitrenko: I donít know how to best answer that question. Until recently, and for a lengthy period of time, we boxed under the same trainer (Fritz Zdunek). I think there are certain similarities in style. What I mean is that there are some similarities in the way we like to fight, in our tactics. Like I said we boxed under the same trainer, so of course there are going to be similarities.

Kerr: You have a European trainer. Some might say that to get anywhere in boxing you need an American trainer. Do you agree?

Dimitrenko: I donít agree. Americans are very proud. The whole boxing community in the Unites States is very proud. They think of the USA as the Mecca of boxing. In my opinion, European boxers are every bit as good as Americans. Top European fighters are just as capable as their American counterparts. Itís a myth that fighters from Europe canít compete with American boxers.

Kerr: Your next fight is tomorrow in Leverkusen. Tell us a little bit about your opponent Andy Sample.

Dimitrenko: As far as I know, he has fought professionally 39 times. He has 7 losses and 21 knockout victories. I watched a series of his fights with my trainer Fritz Zdunek. Like with all my fights, I take this one seriously. Everything will be decided in the squared circle.

Kerr: In 4 weeks you step into the ring to take on American veteran Ross Puritty

Dimitrenko: Yes, October 16-th, I will fight Ross Puritty in the German city of Braunschweig.

Kerr: Ross Puritty defeated Wladimir Klitschko 6 years ago, when Wladimir was also 22 and climbing the boxing ladder sort of speak. What makes Puritty such a tough opponent? What does this fight symbolize for you and your career?

Dimitrenko: Puritty has never been on the canvas. He has never been knocked out ( Vitali Klitschko scored a TKO over Puritty 5 years ago). That appears to be his major attribute. He can take a punch. Heís also very experienced. Heís been in the ring with some of the very best the heavyweight division has to offer. As far as the fact that Puritty beat Wladimir when he was 22, and that I am currently 22 and facing him, that to me means that if I beat him, I will be able to climb in the ratings. Itís a very important fight for my career. Itís the next step in my progression.

Kerr: What are your plans for the future? If you defeat Puritty, whatís next for you?

Dimitrenko: As far as my future plans, I recently spoke with my promoter, Klaus Peter-Kohl, and by the end of this year, I plan on fighting for the Intercontinental Heavyweight Title.

Kerr: Are you planning on showcasing your skills in the United States any time soon?

Dimitrenko: I fought in Las Vegas in 2002 (Defeated Jeff Ford, 12-07-2002. UD 4 Rounds). If the opportunity arises to fight in the USA again, I will most certainly take advantage of it.

Kerr: If you fight in the USA, are you in anyway afraid of losing because of politics like your stable mate Felix Sturm did in June?

Dimitrenko: As I said earlier, European boxers are in no way lesser fighters than their American counterparts. As far as Felix Sturm is concerned, it was up to him to knock out Oscar De La Hoya. There was no other way for him to walk out of that arena that night the victor. Knowing how badly the public and the media wanted to see Bernard Hopkins and De La Hoya fight, there was no way the judges were going to award Sturm a victory on points. The De La Hoya-Sturm fight was decided long before the two fighters entered the ring.

Kerr: When in your estimation will you be ready to fight for one of the major titles?

Dimitrenko: To be honest, I really donít know. I still have a lot of time. To rush into things wouldnít be in my best interests. I am certainly striving to fight for one of the belts in the future. Thatís my goal, but I am not rushing into anything. Realistically, I am just in the beginning stages of my professional career. Itís important to approach any sort of title shot with caution. Timing is very important. There will be a right time for me to fight for a belt. Thatís in the future.

Kerr: Who do you consider to be the best heavyweight currently?

Dimitrenko: The best heavyweight right now? Ö Thatís a tough question. There are a lot of good fighters in the top 10. Each one has his pluses. Itís difficult to say who is the best.

Kerr: Tell us a little bit about your family.

Dimitrenko: I have a younger brother. His name is Anton. Heís 18 and currently serving in the Ukrainian Army.

Kerr: What keeps Alexander Dimitrenko busy outside of the boxing ring?

Dimitrenko: I am currently a student at Kiev State University Law School. As far as hobbies, I love to play basketball and enjoy computers.

Kerr: Alexander, best of luck in the future and in your upcoming bouts. Thank you for taking the time out to speak with me.

Alexander Dimitrenko faces American Andy Sample today in Leverkusen, Germany . October 16-th, he takes on American veteran Ross Puritty in Braunschweig.

Article posted on 18.09.2004

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