Maskaev eyes Moscow for first title defense! Povetkin will see action on Undercard!

13.09.06 - By Izyaslav “Slava” Koza: It has recently been revealed that Oleg Maskaev is looking to defend his newly won WBC strap in Moscow in December of this year. The opponent, though not officially confirmed is rumored to be a decent give me in the form of Peter Okhello, of Uganda. Though not the African, everyone was clamoring to see step in the ring with the Big “O,” Okhello possess definite pop and could present problems on the off chance Oleg is not prepared.

The promotion of the event will in part be undertaken by one of Oleg Maskaev’s closest friends, and colleagues, Vladimir Hrunov, who coincidentally was also Zhambul, Kazakhstan. Hrunov currently represents the single hottest prospect in the heavyweight division, Olympic Gold Medallist Alexander Povetkin, and has suggested Povetkin will fight on the undercard provided he gets by former KO cracker Ed Mahone. Furthermore, it is also entirely possible that although Peter won’t be in the ring with the WBC champ, he might participate in a bout on the undercard. At this point it is only known that most of the organizations involved are in agreement and that some of the payments regarding the event have been made.

The bout will be shown in at least 38 countries around the world and has received verbal support in part from Don King productions, Sauerland events, and of course Rappaport productions. At this point there are two possible venues and dates for the fight, those being either December 10th in the “Olympic” sport complex, or December 23 in the new complex on Hodynka.

Going beyond the technical stuff though, the significance of this inaugural event is undeniable, however, neither is the failure rate. The only other time such an event was planned was when Kostya Tsyzu attempted to defend his linear title against Sharmba Mitchell at the Luzhniki stadium in February of 04. The show was cancelled due to an injury suffered by the champ in training and was subsequently moved to a venue in the US where in Kostya did Mitchell after three. For the sake of both fighters I was glad that show had been cancelled because the promotion for that event seemed somewhat weak. There were no indication that anybody had attempted to let the general public know that the bout was taken place. I had been in Moscow at the time visiting a friend and do not remember seeing no TV ads, and no street press for the bout. It seemed as if had the event taken place, not many people would know about it.

However, the potential for a market is undoubtedly huge in Moscow and the former Soviet republics. Though it is true the level of income is below that of many fans in boxing meccas like America, and Germany the sheer number of fans is undeniable. Furthermore since a majority of fighters coming out of the former USSR is winning and achieving significant things on the world stage, it seems both beneficial to the fan and the promoter to have a good amount of support for fighters in their homelands, which as we have learned from interviews with Dmitri Kirillov and others is simply not true.

In any case, it is great news for fans of boxing in Russia because they finally get to see one of their former sons defend at home which I am sure is much appreciated. As far as fans outside of Russia I am sure they are happy with seeing the WBC champ Oleg Maskaev back in the place they love to see him best, that of course being the ring, regardless of where it is.

Special thanks to Natalia Savelieva and Vladimir Hrunov for the photograph.

Left to Right: A. Povetkin, V. Hrunov, and you know who J

On the Horizon: An absolutely Sensational interview with Nikolai Valuev’s head trainer Manvel Gabrielyan from training camp in Kienbaum Germany.

Article posted on 13.09.2006

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