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Siarhei Liakhovich: “I want to become World Champion again.”

Sergei Liakhovich
Sergei Liakhovich

By Anson Wainwright

It’s nearly five years since Siarhei "White Wolf" Liakhovich lost his WBO heavyweight title to Shannon Briggs. The fight had been close and Liakhovich was ahead on all three scorecards heading into the final round, only to get hurt in the final minute, failing to hang on when Briggs scored two knockdowns to claim the most unlikely of stoppages with just one second remaining in the fight. Since then, Liakhovich has hardly been a factor in the heavyweight division, fighting just three times, losing to Nicolay Valuev before winning twice against lower-level guys. His most recent victory came in Germany when he stopped game but overmatched Evans Quinn in nine rounds back in May 2010. Hailing from Belarus but living in Scottsdale, AZ, Liakhovich holds sports a 25-3 (16) record and stands an imposing 6’4” with a very solid 230-plus-pound frame. Saturday, he returns to Germany where he faces one of the most talked about young heavyweights today, Robert Helenius. For Liakhovich, now 35, he knows it’s now or never and has to upset Helenius to gatecrash the world scene once again.
Anson Wainwright - You’ll be facing Robert Helenius. What are your thoughts on the fight?
Siarhei Liakhovich - The fight will take place in Erfurt. I think it will be a very exciting, tough fight. I know I will win.

AW - He’s only been a pro fighter for three years but has moved quickly. What do you think of Helenius?
SL - Helenius is a good fighter. He proved that he deserves to be in the top ten by defeating [Lamon] Brewster and [Samuel] Peter.
AW - Your last fight was on May of 2010. Why have you not fought in so long?
SL - A lot goes on behind the scenes in boxing and this is the reason why I had to change promoters. I will now be fighting regularly.
AW - Tell us about your training for this fight. Where have you gone to train? Who have you used for sparring? How long is your camp?
SL - I [trained] in Arizona in my hometown (Scottsdale). For sparring, I [used] a couple of guys from the US and couple of European fighters.
AW - Back in 2006, you beat Lamon Brewster for the WBO heavyweight title. What can you tell us about that fight looking back and what it meant to you to win a world title?
SL - It was a great feeling not only because I became a champion but also because of what it took for me to get there. It was one of the best fights of that decade.
AW - You lost the title six months later to Shannon Briggs when he stopped you with a second to go in the fight, while you were ahead on the scorecards. How do you look back on the fight? It must have been tough for you.
SL - You can’t change what happened in the past; you can only learn from it. I just want to focus on the future and I am very grateful for this opportunity.
AW - One of your other notable fights was against Nicolay Valuev. That must have been very difficult because of his size. What are your thoughts on that fight?
SL - I went into the fight with an injured right shoulder. I could not throw my right at all during the fight. If you watch that fight, you can see that I fought him with one hand.
AW - Can you tell us about the path your life has taken from your early years growing up in Belarus to going pro and moving to and living in Arizona?
SL - From a very young age, I wanted to become a professional boxer and I knew that the US is the best place to learn. When I was a child, I would cut out pictures and articles about Mike Tyson. I loved watching old-school, US fighters. This is what I always wanted to do.
AW - I would imagine life is much different for you now than it was back in Belarus. Can you tell us about the difference and how you like living in America?
SL - Life in Belarus made me stronger and prepared me for this tough business of boxing.
AW - Who do you think will win when Vitali Klitschko fights Tomasz Adamek?
SL - I think Vitali Klitschko will win
AW - What goals do you still have in boxing?
SL - I want to become World Champion again and to earn the respect of people for how I did it. Someday, I would like to be in the Boxing Hall of Fame for my son to show his children and grandchildren.
AW – Finally, do you have a message for Robert Helenius and the heavyweight division?
SL - I would like to thank my team and everyone who believed in me and supported me over the years.


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