Irish boxing legend Steve Collins is predicting that not only will Frank Buglioni (17-1-1, 13ko) dethrone Fedor Chudinov (13-0, 10ko) tomorrow night when the two go head-to-head for the Russian’s WBA (reg) title at the SSE Arena in London, but that the ‘Wise Guy’ will move on to become a force in the 168 lb division.
Collins, along with his brother Paschal, train Buglioni largely from their Celtic Warriors gym in Dublin and claim they have prepared their man better than ever before as he makes the huge jump from domestic to world level, with a focus on tightening the notoriously leaky defence that saw him stopped on his feet by Belarusian trial horse, Sergey Khomitsky last year.
Collins – also predicting that Buglioni will knock the relatively inexperienced Russian champion out – is adamant that too much is being made of Buglioni’s underdog status and not enough of the size and reach advantages he will also enjoy on the night.
“I’m very confident. I’m not a dreamer, I’m a realist and the fact is Frank is talented enough and good enough to beat any super-middleweight in the world. Right now – where Frank Buglioni is – there are very few guys in the division that can go 12 rounds with him,” Collins said to Sky Sports.
With the likes of WBO champion Arthur Abraham, WBC champion Badou Jack and IBF champion James DeGale the other belt holders in the division, as well as top tier WBA titlist Andre Ward still “officially” a 168 lb fighter – for now at least – Collin’s comments do sound a tad fantastic, especially when you consider Buglioni is coming off of a life-or-death draw with Lee Markham, who, with all due respect to him, is only a fringe-British level fighter at very best.
Even Buglioni’s handlers at Queensbury have based their promotion of the fight on the ‘Wise Guy’ being a heavy betting underdog, pitting their ‘Man’ vs the Russian ‘Machine’ in the fight posters and general media.
Chudinov is however, the most beatable of all the titlists at super-middleweight, having had only 13 professional outings himself – the best among them his title winning effort in May when he travelled to Germany and beat an arguably faded Felix Sturm for the vacant title.
It’s something Collins thinks will prove crucial on the night.
“He’s fighting a guy who is at his level experience-wise in professional boxing, so it’s an even match going in but we believe our preparation has been better.
“He’s [Buglioni] been living in training camp in Dublin and is surrounded by world-class fighters. He’s been eating, drinking and sleeping boxing and he’s ready to lift the belt on Saturday.”