Lem's Corner: Notebook
By LEM SATTERFIELD
TO RUSSIA WITH GLOVES?
WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder would prefer to defend his title against contender Alexander Povetkin at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, “but if it has to happen in Russia, then I’ll buy myself a big bearskin coat and we can do it over there.”
Russian promoter Andrey Ryabinsky, who promotes Povetkin, won a purse bid last Friday afternoon in Miami, giving him the right to control Wilder’s mandatory defense against the 36-year-old Povetkin.
Wilder (36-0, 35 KOs) wants to return to Barclays Center, where a raucous crowd of 12,668 witnessed his ninth-round knockout of previously once-beaten southpaw Artur Szpilka on Jan. 16. Under the WBC rules Rabinsky must insure that the match takes place 90 days after the purse bid (March 26).
“I would love to go back to Brooklyn,” said Wilder, 30, who is vacationing in Puerto Rico with his family. “I’m sure the fight would create another successful capacity-packed venue. It just makes so much sense. That’s where they’ll take if they’re smart.’’
“If Povetkin wants that big name and that true stardom, then he has to develop it in America,” said Wilder, also citing interest from Russian Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov of Moscow.
“Plus, there’s’ a large Russian community in Brooklyn, so this the ultimate city and location for Povetkin to build his brand. I prefer that the fight happen in the United States, but if it’s going to be in Russia, then let’s go. It’s no problem.”
Povetkin (30-1, 22 KOs) has stopped four straight since being dropped four times on the way to losing a 12-round unanimous decision to former heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko in 2013.
“I’ve been ready for to face this man (Povetkin) since about two fights ago,” said Wilder, a 2008 Olympic Bronze medalist. “Going to Russia wouldn’t affect my game. Being in the Olympics prepared me for that. There is nothing that Povetkin brings to the table that causes me any concern.”
JULIAN WILLIAMS IS READY FOR HIS CLOSE UP
When Julian Williams enters the ring against Italy’s Marcello Matano at The Sands Casino in Bethlehem, Pa., on Saturday, the 25-year-old Philadelphia-based boxer will have hopefully adjusted to the magnitude of a significant opportunity.
Williams (21-0-1, 13 KOS) will headline a tripleheader on Showtime, which airs at 10 p.m. ET/PT. And a victory over Matano (16-1, 5 KOs) will make him the mandatory challenger to IBF titleholder Jermall Charlo (23-0, 18 KOs) of Houston. It all could be a distraction.
“Julian’s more anxious because he knows what this one means,” said Stephen Edwards, Williams’ trainer. “Fighters aren’t robots. So every single day he’s not going to be 100 percent focused and tuned in.”
Plus, Williams is returning to the site of a 93-second stoppage of Luciano Cuello before a packed house of rabid fans last September. Edwards expects a massive Philly contingent to make the 70-minute drive to Bethlehem to support Williams.
“The media members will want interviews. He’ll have to answer questions from people who don’t know anything about boxing. He’ll have people bugging him over tickets,” Edwards said.
“But Julian will have to block out those distractions because he’s headlining a show in a fight he wants to win badly in order to get that title shot, otherwise, those same people who love you right now won’t want to see you later on if you go out there and lay an egg.”
In preparation for Matano, Edwards trained “J-Rock” in a San Jose, California-based facility rather than the Philadelphia-based James Shuler Boxing Gym.
Williams expressed confidence of being in the same fight mode he displayed against Cuello.
“I dealt with that some distractions before my last fight, but it didn’t affect me because I turned my phone off and focused on Cuello,” said Williams. “People might expect me to knock this guy out in one round because I’m fighting in the same place as the last fight, and a first-round knockout would be extremely amazing. I embrace the high expectations because I have them for myself. No one’s expectations are higher for me than my own.”
SERGEY LIPINETS IS A REAL KICK STARTER
Sergey Lipinets joins welterweight Chris Algieri, cruiserweight Beibet Shumenov and retired heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko as boxers who got their starts in kickboxing.
“Most of my knockouts in kickboxing were a result of using my hands, so the transition to boxing was more about the endurance and it was not that bad,” said Lipinets, regarding the emphasis on sustained upper body technique and punching.
“I attribute my success my trainer, Rodrigo Mosquera, and my whole camp that provided me with excellent sparring partners who helped me to eliminate mistakes commonly made by kick boxers.”
Lipinets (8-0, 6 KOs) will rely upon all his boxing skills when takes on Levan Ghvamichava (16-1-1, 12 KOs) in a welterweight clash on FoxSports1 “Toe-to-Toe Tuesdays’’ at Robinson Rancheria Resort & Casino in Nice, California on March 15. It is the first time that Lipinets will head line his own show and the fourth time that he’s fought in the United States.
Though Lipinets hails from Kazakhstan, he doesn’t want anyone to compare him to his fellow countrymen – middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin and cruiserweight champions Beibet Shumenov and Vassiliy Jirov, who have succeeded in the U.S.
“I don’t want to be identified as a guy who resembles Jirov, Golovkin or Shumenov,” Lipinets said. “I’m not trying to emulate any of them. I’m my own fighter with my own style.”
“I’m standing on my own and creating my own legacy, and that’s what I want to do. I want boxing fans to love me for what I do in the ring and to see me as Sergey Lipinets, not as a guy that looks like Triple G or Beibut.”
DAVIS COMES FULL CIRCLE TO D.C. ARMORY
Gervonta “Tank’’ Davis of Baltimore will have come full circle when he enters the ring against Guillermo Avila on the undercard of the Adrien Broner-Ashley Theophane show at the D.C. Armory in Washington D.C. on Spike TV on April 1.
Davis will be returning to the site of his professional debut, an 89-second stoppage of Desi Williams in February 2013. And it will be like déjà vu, because Broner was there that night, too. Broner was supporting Davis from a ringside seat.
“Adrien Broner was one of the guys who walked me into the ring that night, and I’m glad that he’ll be headlining this card,” said Davis. “Being that I made my pro debut at the D.C. Armory, I’m really glad to be fighting there again and I’m excited to be fighting close to home on April 1. I know lots of people from my city of Baltimore will be coming to support me for this fight.”
Broner introduced Davis to Mayweather, who promotes him.
“Floyd Mayeather has treated me like a son and changed my life. I’m forever grateful for the opportunity he has given me and for teaching me about the sport of boxing, both in and out of the ring,” said Davis. “I’m thankful for everything he’s done for me so far, and I’m excited to see what plans he has next for me. I can’t wait to put on a great show for my family, fans and the people watching all over the world on Spike TV. I plan to show everyone, once again, why I’m ‘The One.’”
Lem Satterfield is a writer for Premier Boxing Champions. Re-use of any or all of this material must contain proper attribution that reflects that.