“I will not exchange for incomprehensible fisticuffs”

On May 27, Omsk will host a boxing tournament of the REN TV Fight Club. Super Series” (beginning of the broadcast at 22:00 Moscow time). In the main fight, Russian Aleksey Papin will meet with Montenegrin Dilan Prashovich, who has 15 wins (12 by knockout) and 2 losses. The Russian has 13 wins (12 by knockout) and 1 loss in his professional career. The fight will take place in the first heavyweight division and will consist of ten rounds. On the eve of the fight with Prashovich, Papin gave an interview to Sport-Express and Izvestia, spoke about the preparation for the fight and the chances of finishing it ahead of schedule. He also explained why Magomed Ismailov has no chance in a hypothetical boxing match against his friend, the reigning AMC Fight Nights middleweight champion Vladimir Mineev, and whether pop MMA harms the image of professional boxing.

– You were preparing for the battle in Krasnodar. Who did you manage to spar with?

– With Yuri Bykhovtsev (Belarusian boxer, performing in the first heavy and heavy weight categories. – Izvestia) and Rashid Kodzoev (Russian boxer, performing in the heavy weight category. – Izvestia). Good boxers. I had a chance to have a professional duel with Yuri (Papin won by unanimous decision of the judges. – Izvestia). And with Rashid we spar quite often.

– Did you select sparring partners for your opponent?

– Yes. But the opponent we were originally preparing for, South African boxer Johnny Muller, pulled out of the fight. Therefore, four weeks before the tournament, the opponent changed. Sparring partners remained the same, but we started working on other combinations and tasks.

– In almost two years, you had only two fights – in August 2020, you won the status of a mandatory contender for the WBC world title in the cruiserweight, winning by technical knockout against Ruslan Faifer, and in April 2021, you effectively knocked out the Czech Vaclav Peysar. Did you get the rust off?

– I think yes. Eight weeks of training are taking their toll. But we will see everything in the ring.

– In the last duel, you won quite quickly. What fight do you expect on May 27 in Omsk?

– I never think ahead, I always prepare for the whole fight. The opponent is not easy, with a good record, and he has even more fights than me (smiles). If there is an opportunity to finish the fight ahead of schedule, I will not miss it.

– Today, do you see yourself exclusively in professional boxing?

– Yes.

– But in theory in the future you could have a fistfight or a boxing match, but in MMA gloves?

– There must be an offer. Now I am an official contender for the world title and I have a chance to go down in history as a world champion. Of course, I will not exchange for some incomprehensible fisticuffs. And so – if there is a worthy offer and if it does not run counter to my plans, then why not?

– Your friend Vladimir Mineev is scheduled to fight with pop-MMA star Timur Nikulin in July. Can this fight be called a blow to the image of professional boxing?

– It’s hard to call professional boxing …

“But still, the fight is professional in nature.

– In the boxing world, this fight is not known. Ask professional boxers – they don’t know who Nikulin is.

“Accordingly, you don’t know either?”

– I already know. Vova Mineev and I have been friends for many years, we were together in the national team. Therefore, I will root for Vova, and if he needs my help, I will always be happy to help him. Vova is a master of sports in boxing. When I was already a professional boxer, he came to me for sparring. Therefore, I will say that Vova has very good boxing. Yes, maybe the technique was distorted when he moved into mixed martial arts, because the fight overlapped, but it’s still not going anywhere. Boxing is top notch.

– What can you say about Nikulin?

– Nikulin in the last fight against Dima Bikrev showed himself very well. But Dima Bikrev, as I understand it, did not prepare and treated the fight a little negligently. Maybe he underestimated Nikulin. I heard that there was an injury or some other moments.

– Does Mineev still have the potential to succeed in boxing?

– He was second in the Russian championship among juniors, and this is already a high level of boxing. But now he is unlikely to be retrained as a professional boxer. He does well in MMA: good pass defense, good arms and legs. He is in his element. It’s no secret that the fight with Nikulin is more of a financial story for him. We all want to eat well, dress well, drive a good car, and be prosperous. Everyone earns differently, it is only necessary that this income does not run counter to any moral principles, so that there is nothing immoral.

– On the topic of making money … You once said that you were ready to fight for a million dollars at the same time as blogger Amiran Sardarov and rap artist Morgenstern * (included in the register of foreign agents) …

– Yes. You know, I’m ready to do it not even for a million dollars or 100 thousand rubles, but for free. To show that these people are not worthy to be in a cage or a ring. If they want to sing, blog, then let them do it, but they don’t cling to martial arts … It’s even difficult to call a show.

“Not so long ago it became known that Morgenstern’s security chief wants to break into the fighting industry. If you were given him as an opponent, would you have a personal interest in fighting him?

– No problem at all.

– He weighs 115 kg.

— Though now I will leave (smiles). I just don’t like this guy – Morgenstern – and I don’t like the people who support him. If they want, then let them make an offer. In general, I can easily fight. The most important thing is that it does not run counter to my plans to win the title.

– Fight Vladimir Mineev for the third time with Magomed Ismailov, but according to the rules of boxing, how would this fight turn out?

– Magomed has no chance in a boxing fight against Vladimir.

– In fairness, I note that in their second fight, Magomed in one of the rounds slightly interrupted Vladimir in the standing position.

– MMA has a different striking technique. In any case, you are afraid of passes, fights and kicks. But boxing is different. If we talk about MMA, then it is probably more Vladimir who came into the element of Magomed. That is, he dragged in the fight both in the first and in the second duel, and now it already turns out that Magomed comes into the element of Vladimir. Therefore, I think that Magomed has no chance in a boxing match with Mineev. Ismailov is a good guy. He showed himself well in a duel with Olanrewaju Durodola (Ismailov won by a referee’s decision. – Izvestia), but the Nigerian is far from the same.

– So Ismailov was able to impress you in a duel with Durodola?

– He impressed already by the fact that he agreed to this fight. He’s great, he did a good job. For that alone, respect to him. Of course, Magomed pulled up boxing. I’m not saying that he has a bad strike or something. He is great, but in comparison with Vova, their boxing is completely different. This is the same if you put the first category against the international. That is, you understand the difference.

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