26.05.08 – by James Slater: An intriguing heavyweight battle takes place this Saturday in Dusseldorf, Germany. Boxing on the under-card of the Wladimir Sidorenko-Anselmo Moreno WBA bantamweight title fight, Britain’s Michael Sprott meets Ukraine’s Taras Bidenko over ten scheduled rounds. The fight provides the 33-year-old Sprott with an opportunity to kick-start his boxing career, while the 28-year-old Bidenko will be looking to improve his recent unbeaten run to twelve wins in a row..
Sprott, 30-11(15) may not have the best record on paper, but he is a better fighter than his statistics would indicate. Sprott will not be at all intimated by fighting in Germany, either. Having boxed there some five times previously – facing men like Ruslan Chagaev (TKO by 8) Vladimir Virches (L UD 12) and Rene Dettweiler (W Split 12) – the 33-year-old is used to it. A former British, Commonwealth and European Union heavyweight champion, Sprott’s most famous win is probably his 3rd round destruction of Audley Harrison. If he can beat Bidenko in similar fashion he will have done incredibly well.
Many fans will probably not know too much about the 28-year-old with the 25-2(12) record. A bigger guy than Sprott at 6’4″ compared to 6’0,” the five years younger man has not lost since back in March of 2005 – when he was stopped by common opponent Virches. Ahead on points at the time, Bidenko was TKO’d in the twelfth and final round of the WBO Inter-Continental title fight. The man who was born in Kiev, Ukraine’s only other loss came on points over 12 rounds to the colossus that is Nikolay Valuev – in what was only Bidenko’s fourth pro fight!
Clearly, the 28-year-old is a fearless fighter, as going in so early against a Valuev, who was 28-0 at the time, proves. Interestingly, this fight took place in Seoul, South Korea. Most of Bidenko’s fights have taken place in his base of Germany, though he has also boxed in America – winning a decision in Los Angeles back in 2004.
Sprott, who hasn’t fought since July of last year – when he was out-pointed in an extremely dull affair by fellow Brit Matt Skelton – will be up against it on Saturday. Bidenko is younger, has serious ambition (not that Sprott does not, even this late in his career), will be boxing on his home turf and has fought more recently. Bidenko out-pointed Cisse Salif in January, and this win ensures he will be sharp.
Sprott, on the other hand will be having his first fight in almost a year. Still, Sprott is tough and it’s unlikely he will lose early. Instead I go for Bidenko to capture a fairly wide points victory in a pleasing fight.