As has been discussed profusely is the fact that the heavyweight division is currently dominated by fighters who hail from the former Soviet Union. Well there is a new name that may be added to this list after Saturday night and that’s Timor Ibragimov. Ibragimov is undefeated at 21-0 with 1 draw and has 13 wins coming by knock out. Timor who's name is derivative from the ancient language of Latin. Timor translates as fear. Timor plans on putting some panic into the rest of the heavyweight contenders. Timor will have his opportunity has he and fellow contender Calvin Brock headlines the latest edition of HBO's Boxing After Dark.
"Everything is very good, I just finished camp and I feel great and you will see on Saturday something great", said Ibragimov.
According to Ibragimov, this was a camp that was no different than any other that he has had. In his words it was a regular camp. The undefeated contender however does realize that this is without a doubt the biggest fight of his career to date, but he is taking just like any other bout he has had so far.
"I know it’s a big fight, I prepared the same way. Brock is a good fighter and I respect him, but to me he is ordinary. I am not a trash talker. I don’t like talking bad about my opponents in the media. You saw what happened to Mayorga and he was beaten like a child. I like to do my talking with my actions. I will tell you this though, I am faster than him, I am stronger than he is and I am better than him", said Ibragimov.
Ibragimov is a soft-spoken individual, however if pressed for an opinion, he is not afraid to speak his mind. In fact the 31-year-old former Army reserve captain from his native Uzbekistan feels that Brock is more sizzle than steak. Brock to him has been promoted well and has capitalized on his amateur pedigree. Despite both being contemporaries they never encountered each other on the amateur boxing circuit.
Another factor that Ibragimov and Brock have in common is that they are both college graduates. Ibragimov is a graduate from Tashkent University in Uzbekistan. Ibragimov was a biology major. Ibragimov however decided to pursue a dream of becoming a pro boxer. His father at 4 years old introduced Timor to the sweet science. Ibragimov said that he at first boxed because it was fun, and his dad wanted him to learn self-defense.
When Ibragimov and Brock meet this Saturday night it will be for the first time as professionals. Nonetheless the two men are not total strangers as adversaries. In fact Ibragimov who now makes his home in Hallendale, Florida as chance would have it happened to be in the same gym as Brock approximately two years ago. Ibragimov recalls that they both were preparing for an upcoming fight and they had a sparring session several years ago. Ibragimov says that it was several years so a proper evaluation can't be made on how their anticipated match up will evolve.
Ibragimov says that it was about two years ago and both were different fighters. Ibragimov feels that they were two inexperienced pros. He remembers that their session went about 4 rounds and it was about an even give and take affair.
"If I was not sure that I was not going to win this fight I would not have taken this fight", stated Ibragimov.
Ibragimov wants to make his chance on Boxing After Dark his springboard to an eventual world title challenge. In fact Ibragimov's voice mail greeting is not lacking any bit of confidence. Ibragimov message states, "hello you have reached the next champion of the world."
On paper the 28-0, Brock is the marquee attraction and by far presents the biggest name on Ibragimov's resume. Ibragimov does not see this as any bit of an advantage that he is yielding to his opponent. He also pays no mind to his own critics who doubt his prowess as a legitimate contender since he has not fought what appears to be high-class opposition. The last time Ibragimov was in action was on March 24, 2006, on this night he needed merely 2 rounds to dispose of the 27-16, Kenny Craven.
"I can't control what people say about me, so I do not worry about that stuff, I will shut my critics up and make them realize what I already know. There is no easy route to the heavyweight title despite what others think. No matter what promoters try to do to protect you, eventually you get tested at some point. The heavyweight division is filled with tough fights and its talent pool is richer than what people give credit to," said Ibragimov.
One person aside from Ibragimov who thinks that Brock's time as an undefeated heavyweight is dwindling down is his manager. Boris Grinsbirg handles Ibragimov's career. Grinbirg also manages the undefeated Sultan Ibragimov, who happens to be Timor's cousin.
"Every fight is big. Now is our time. Every fight is huge, Timor is a very good fighter and on June 24th the whole world will be see that. Brock has gotten more attention naturally because he is an American. My fighter is better than him," said Grinbirg.
One key that Grinbirg sees as a difference maker is how Timor has been trained since his transplant to the United States.
"Timor has been fighting in a world class style since he turned basically. He has been here since his second fight. He is not like the Klitchko's or these other European fighters who have come here and have had to adapt from their old Euro style. Timor has had this since he turned pro, and has sparred and faced American competition extensively", said Grinbirg.
The man who gets the credit for Ibragimov's pro style is one of the most notorious names in boxing, Panama Lewis. Lewis has trained Ibragimov since his arrival to the U.S. Lewis as you may know already is barred from Ibragimov's corner for this fight or any other fight conducted within a region with an athletic commission. Carlos "Panama" Lewis achieved his greatest notoriety in the 1980's.
On June 16, 1983, Lewis was a key figure in an incident that landed him in prison. Luis Resto, a journeyman boxer trained by Lewis, faced welterweight contender Billy Collins Jr. in a 10-round non-title fight at Madison Square Garden. Realizing that Resto had little chance against the undefeated Collins, Lewis removed most of the padding from Resto's gloves prior to the fight. Given this advantage, Resto battered Collins for 10 rounds and won a lopsided decision. Both of Collin's eyes were horribly swollen and doctors told him he could never fight again and eventually would lose his sight.
The deception was soon discovered, and both Lewis and Resto were later convicted of conspiracy to fix a sporting event. Lewis spent a year behind bars and was permantly banned from being a cornerman in the United States.
Ibragimov says that him not being in his corner is just like regular protocol. This unusual practice will leave Lewis somewhere very close to ringside relaying instructions to Miguel Diaz, Mario Costa and Grinbirg. Ibragimov calls his 3 year working relationship with Lewis a great one. In fact he refers to Lewis as family.
"I am excited at the chance to be on HBO, and I plan on looking good. I will come to fight and I will win. For those who like me and want to see me as a champion, I say thank you. I will do everything possible to do so", said Ibragimov.
Boxingtalk would like to thank the lovely Lourdes Carrero of Warriors Boxing for helping to make this interview possible.
Send questions and comments to: email@example.com