Dmitri Kirillov - Victim of Circumstance

01.07.06 - By Izyaslav “Slava” Koza: There are two conventional wisdoms in the world of professional boxing that apply to any fighter thinking of making a living with his fists. One is that almost nothing is more convincing and least debatable then a knock out, and two is that a fighter always has an inherent advantage when he or she is represented by a top-flight promoter. Unfortunately for Dmitri Kirillov, the other person in the following conversation, he neither has the KO punch, nor the big punching push to fight with the same sort of confidence as either David Tua, or as some suggest Jermaine Taylor. Still, that did not stop him from completely outclassing the IBF super flyweight champ Luis Perez, in a fight, whose verdict that, as those of you who have read my write up know, I as a fan was reasonably pissed off about.

I need not write further then what I wrote there in regards to this contest, except to add that I had not seen one single person, outside of Luis Perez himself,(and without any confidence at that) say they thought the Nicaraguan did enough to win. The closest was a single writer’s verdict that gave Kirillov a slight points win rather then a significant one, which is why I am all the more confident in suggesting Kirillov was screwed over worse then Fres Oquendo in his fight with Chris Byrd. Recently Dmitri shared his thoughts with us about that as well as other boxing related topics.

Without further ado:

ESB: Hey Dmitri! Have you had any success in negotiating a rematch with Luis Perez?

D.K.: Of course, I would love to have another go at Perez, but to be honest, it seems pretty impossible at this point. First I have to fight another eliminator, and only then, if I win, can I count on a rematch with the Nicaraguan. Plus, its not a given that Perez will still be the champ by then.

ESB: In a recent interview, IBF Light Middleweight champ Roman Karmazin, who worked your corner in the Perez and other fights, said your next opponent could very well be South African Masibulele the “Hawk” Makepula.

D.K.: It is quite probable that he is exactly who I will be fighting. It’s also likely that this fight will take place in America, but it is unknown yet when exactly. (Author’s note: Dmitri’s Manager Steven Bash confirmed negotiations with Makepula’s promoter, as well as a possibility that the fight could take place on Showtime’s ShoBox: the new generation. So lets start sending Showtime emailsJ

ESB: How are things going with your filed protest to the IBF in regards to the judges’ verdict in the Perez fight?

D.K.: I think it would be best to forget about it as fast as is humanly possible. To King protests of this nature are like, oh say a BB gun pellet to an Elephant. All I can hope for is that the IBF will allow me to fight in another eliminator without any extra fights in between.

ESB: In one of his recent interviews, Nikolai Valuev said that he can’t really leave his house without being greeted by, or having to sign autographs for fans. Have you felt that sort of popularity at all?

D.K.: (Laughing)…..I’m afraid that if somebody notices Nikolai then, I am pretty much all but invisible on the street.

ESB: Would you say for you that is a positive or a negative?

D.K.: Of course it’s a negative. Unfortunately, I am completely unknown in my country. If many people know Roma, and Kolya then nobody knows me. Eh, what else can I expect, if even our national television channels don’t have a burning desire to televise my bout with Perez.

ESB: Your weight class is not really known for its popularity in the States. Can you tell us about the best fighters at your weight?

D.K.: Basically to be honest with you, it’s an enigma for me as well. I did not watch any of Castillo’s fights (Martin Castillo-WBA super flyweight champ), nor the bouts of any of the other Mexicans, and that is why I can discuss only Masamori Tokuyama or Luis Perez. I think the Japanese guy is stronger. In any case, I had a harder time with him then I did with the Nicaraguan.

ESB: In your preparation for the fight with Perez you trained with Israel Vazquez and Jose Navarro. Did you spar with any other relatively famous guys?

D.K.: While I was in America, I took on current WBO super bantamweight champ Daniel Ponce De Leon in sparring. There was another tough Mexican, and a couple of Filipinos, who are currently top contenders in all the main boxing organizations.

ESB: If all the financial issues, were already resolved, which of today’s top fighters would you like to take on next?

D.K.: You know, in the first place, I want to show all boxing fans, how horribly I was robbed in the fight with Perez. If we put him aside though, I would gladly fight any current champ at my weight. I think, I can cause any of those guys some real problems, and it is irrelevant to me, what their name is or what organization’s belt they hold.

ESB: One more imaginary bout. Say you had a time machine, where would you travel and who would you fight?

D.K.: I would roll back a few of those years and take my revenge on Tokuyama. That is what I would really like to do. I felt that I finally figured him but only it was too late in the fight. Were I to rematch him I think he would have less of a chance to beat me.

ESB: Well….

D.K.: You mean fighters from the distant past? Honestly, I don’t know the history of our weight class too well. Of course, I heard about fighters like Khaosi Galaxy, or Miguel Kanto but that is about it really.

ESB: Who is in your opinion, the most accomplished boxer in the history of Soviet boxing?

D.K.: My personal idol was and will forever be Valeri Popenchenko, who was truly an accomplished Soviet boxer. They didn’t show him on TV that often, but he really was a hall of fame great. I learned boxing through the principles of his school of fighting, his and the late Igor Mikhailovich Lebedev’s, as well as Grigory Filipovich Kusikyantsy’s.

ESB: Do you have any heroes among the ranks of today’s international fighters? Who do you consider the best pound for pound fighter today?

D.K.: For me its Marco Antonio Barrera, even if his last bout was a bit of a downer. Still He is a genius, whose greatness is very evident. Before that it was Roy Jones until he lost to Tarver and Johnson.

ESB: What is your preferred entrance music before a fight?

D.K.: Usually I couldn’t care less about what music accompanies me into the arena. In the last fight though I walked out to the “Transporter” soundtrack. It strongly affected me, even though it was more or less of the rap, or rather hip hop orientation, which is not really characteristic of our country. Still I liked it a lot.

ESB: You usually choose it yourself?

D.K.: The last time, yes. When I fight in Russia, it doesn’t come to that because the organization of the boxing cards in our homeland is kind of poor.

ESB: What do you do in your free time outside of boxing?

D.K.: I try to be a family man and spend it with my three-year-old daughter, and my lovely wife. Not against going to a club or a discotheque, or other times to the movies.

ESB: Are you watching the World Cup?

D.K.: Little bit although I am kind of upset that our guys are not in it. That is why I am only keeping one eye on it. I prefer watching the more entertaining teams like Spain or Italy because they are the ones who usually show the true beauty of soccer.

ESB: Any words for your fans in closing?

D.K.: Thanks for the support! Be objective, cheer for us, and cut down on the criticism, and finally, be more loyal to your boxing idols.

ESB: Thanks for the interview and, truly, we wish you the best of luck in the future!

I want to thank Dmitri for taking the time to answer our questions and keeping his chin up about the Perez fiasco. I also want to give a special thanks out to “Ghost Stalker” who did the real legwork (you know who you are!). Also special thanks to “Nikitos” for the photos.

Still to come: Interviews with the road warrior “Slick” Alicia Ashley and Roman “Made in Hell” Karmazin.

Article posted on 02.07.2006

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