Press Release: Undefeated Russian light heavyweight Dmitry Bivol will defend his interim WBA belt against Texas' Samuel Clarkson in the twelve-round main event on Friday's ShoBox) at MGM National Harbor in National Harbor, Md., just outside of Washington, D.C. Known for his aggressive style, the 26-year-old Bivol (9-0, 7 KOs, 2-0 World Series of Boxing) was a former Russian national champion, while Clarkson (19-3, 12 KOs) has won his last nine fights in a row.
Bivol is managed by Los Angeles-based Vadim Konilov and trained by Gennady Mashianov. He has recently ended his sparring sessions at both Wild Card Gym and Wild Card West in Southern California where he has been training in the same camp with fellow countryman and 2010 European super heavyweight amateur gold medalist Sergey Kuzmin.
Here's a quick question and answer session through an interpreter after visiting with Bivol at the apartment where he has been residing for the past five weeks in the heart of Hollywood.
Question: Overall, how would you assess how your training camp went?
Bivol: "I think that training camp went very good. One of the reasons I decided to come to Southern California to train was that there are so many different sparring partners here. We had a very spirited camp and I consider myself ready for the fight."
Question: What kind of fight do you expect from such a strong opponent as Samuel Clarkson?
Bivol: "I'm expecting for him to get in the ring and push himself and come forward. I know he'll come out aggressive and try to put the pressure on me. We'll see."
Question: You are young and have only nine pro fights, but are already fighting to defend an interim world title. Are you happy with the way your pro career has started?
Bivol: "To be honest, I don't really ever think about the belt and the interim title. For me the main WBA belt is the most important one and I want to stay at the top of the rankings to get it. As far as my career going too fast, I don't believe so. I think I have more than enough experience in the amateurs and that I've aligned myself with the best trainer and sparring partners out there. So I'm happy where my career is at right now. I don't think it's progressing too fast."
Question: There are some that are picking this fight as 50/50? Why do you think they are predicting this fight can go either way?"
Bivol: "This is boxing and I think there are a lot of fights that are 50/50. Anything can happen. You never know; upsets can happen at any time. For me this is step-up fight. Not only because of how good my opponent is, but also because of what it means to me. Winning this fight will open the door to many opportunities."
Question: How important is it to put on a good show and put on an exciting performance?
Bivol: "Sure everything is amped up a little bit more because it's on Showtime. But every time I step into the ring I want to put on a good show for the fans. This time, probably a little bit more so, but the most important thing is to get the win."
Question: Is there one weaknesses you have worked on during this training camp?
Bivol: "I don't think there are any weaknesses, so it's been like any other training camp. I can't talk about what I've been preparing for from my opponent. You will have to wait and see it in the ring."
Question: What do you think about training in Southern California?
Bivol: "I love everything about it. The best thing though is the weather. In my hometown city in Russia, St. Petersburg, we don't have weather like this. I like the atmosphere here and the people and where we train. I just like it all."
Question: You have a large collection of amateur medals. Where are they displayed?
Bivol: "I keep them all in one place in my parents' home. We don't think we deserve them all. It is something they are very proud of."
Question: What do you think about the other top Russian boxers like Ruslan Provodnikov and Sergey Kovalev?
Bivol: "I respect them all. There are some that are very famous in Russia, but also very famous here. And I see that. They are really good fighters and I'm ready to be at that same level, if not even at a higher level. I'm not in this sport just to stay in shape, I'm here to show and prove that I can be the best in the world."
Tickets for the event can be purchased at Ticketmaster.com or by phone at 800-745-3000.
Barry Tompkins will call the ShoBox action from ringside with Steve Farhood and former world champion Raul Marquez serving as expert analysts. The executive producer is Gordon Hall with Rich Gaughan producing and Rick Phillips directing.