Roman Karmazin: Iím ready for Winky Wright!

28.07.05 - Interview by Alexey Sukachev, ďSoviet SportĒ, Back in his Motherland newly crowned IBF light middleweight champion of the world Roman Karmazin is in the spotlights again. Defeating Kassim Ouma in an exciting tactical 12-rounder made ďMade in HellĒ the central figure in Russian boxing. Especially after the sorrowful upset by the hands of Ricky Hatton to future jr. welterweight Hall of Famer Kostya Tszyu, who is still considered as being nothing less than the ďPride of RussiaĒ.

On Tuesday Karmazin made several statements about his fight with Ouma and his future plans and future opponents in an exclusive interview with yours truly right after a press-conference in KRC ďArbatĒ. Here is what the fourth title holder in Russian boxing history (along with Tszyu, flyweight Yuri Arbachakov and German-based welterweight Ahmed Kotiev) had to say....

Roman, looking back to your respectful victory over tough Ugandan Kassim Ouma it was extremely convincing. It looked like you had no problems dealing with the dangerous opponent.

Thatís rightÖand I even have more to say! No doubt, Ouma is my man. Thatís not trash talking Ė Iím ready to prove it in any rematches they want. 10 bouts, 10 wins Ė thatíll be the outcome in case of arranging a fighting series with Kassim. Perhaps an eliminator with former middleweight champion Keith Holmes would have been even tougher than the title fight with the so-predictable Ouma.

Weíve seen Freddie Roach in your corner during that historical bout. How much did it help you?

Very much. Several weeks before the fight Freddie said he had so much respect of me and was willing to be in my corner during the fight with the Dream. Wow! Could it be much better?! Of course I agreed, especially because he was going to make it for free. When you have such a qualified coach as Freddie Roach itís much easier to deal not only with opponents but with judges too. Ouma is the boy-next-door in America and I knew he would have a great support. Not only by his fans but in scorecards also (smiling). So my goal was determined: knocking Kassim out or outpointing him as much as I can.

So Freddieís help was the thing?

Not only his help. No doubt Roach helped me much. But there was one man who had done even more for me. Itís the great Russian coach Igor Mihailovich Lebedev who has made Champions from Nothing. His impact on my growth can hardly be overrated. He has passed away this winterÖ (sighs). Being on his funeral we - I and Dima (Dmitry Kirillov Ė top Russian contender in super flyweight division Ė A.S.) Ė promised to make his dream happen. Iíve made it true in July. Dima is next to come.

Youíre already here in Moscow but I see no belt with you. Whatís up?

Thatís a long story. Defeating Ouma was a major upset not only for his fans but also for IBF officials as good as for my promoter Don King. He had been so surprised that he decided not to take his usual percents from me. And officials were surprised even more. So they gave me just a copy of their respective belt. And when I phoned them in a day or two, they asked me to pay $750 for it! Bullshit! But now everything seems to be ok and Iím planning to show this belt to mine compatriots in a week.

You mentioned that your victory was a shocking upset for officials, Oumaís corner and so on. But what about American fans of boxing?

I want to thank them as much as I can! I appreciate their support and their good nature. They were very upset every time they met me, but found kind words for me. That was incredible! And itís a pity that Russian TV does everything not to popularize Russian boxing over Motherland. Every Sunday Russian fans can see Americans fighting each other and they canít even distinguish home fighters.

Is there any chance Russian fans can see you fighting at home?

No way! Iím very proud of being a Russian representative in the professional ring. Itís a great honor to see the Russian flag and to hear the Russian hymn during my fights. But Iím a professional fighter and my main goal is to capture titles and to earn money. Neither titles nor money are available in Russia Ė Russian supporters seem to have no interest in martial arts.

What are you plans now? Who do you want to fight?

Daniel Santos and Alejandro Garcia are my stablemates right now. As for Ricardo Mayorga, I have no idea how Michelle Piccirillo can win that fight. So soon all of the title holders will be inside the Kingdom. Itís time to unify this division!

So you are targeting other champs, arenít you?


Who is the toughest one?

Daniel Santos, in my opinin. Heís not so well-known but heís damn tough. The Puerto Rican is a strong fighter with iron guts, clever brains and good school.

Do you think Mayorga is weaker?

The Nicaraguan is the harder puncher but I can see all his tricks. Iíll not rumble with him Ė I will show my boxing skills in that fight and outpoint him easily. But I guess Don King will not allow me to challenge The Matador. Heís his favorite so I expect to make it with Santos.


The weakest one. He has a strong hand but heís a rookie in tactics.

Whatís about arranging a fight with the official IBF contender?

Yet to be determined. Iím very proud of wearing this respectful belt so Iíll surely make a legit defense in 9 months as itís written down in their rules. But my opponent is not known right now. It seems to be the winner of Rodney Jones Ė Kofi Jantuah fight. Iím ready for him but unification is mine first goal here!

What do you prefer best Ė unification or rumbles with the likes of De La Hoya or Wright?

Unification is my dream, but money is much more important for me. And Iím ready to fight anybody! Iím willing to fight Winky Wright. Heís a great boxer and I give him all respect I have for him, but Iím confident in winning that showdown. Come on Winky! Make our fight happen!

So, Roman. When shall we see your next show?

Iím willing to fight as soon as I can. This autumn is the time. Donít blink Ė that will be impressive!

Thanks a lot!

Take care!

Article posted on 28.07.2005

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