After blowing past the usual suspects with a modicum of fuss, where only one of his opponents heard the final bell, he was matched with Victor Ramirez for the WBO interim cruiserweight title in January 2009. It was his expected coronation. Despite a good start, Alekseev couldn’t finish the durable Argentinean off. Previously, Alekseev had never been past six rounds, something that seemed to hinder him in this fight. Ramirez closed the distance and chipped away at Alekseev before his corner elected not to let him out for the 10th round.
Four fights and 18 months later, Alekseev met Denis Lebedev in a highly anticipated bout. However, late in the second round, it ended dramatically when a vicious left hook separated Alekseev from his senses. That said, to his credit, he attempted to beat the count albeit unsuccessfully.
The second loss looked to be particularly damaging but the Uzbek southpaw again rebounded, collecting the WBC International title and the European strap before outboxing Garrett Wilson in February to become the IBF number one contender.
Alekseev will finally get his world title opportunity when he faces Yoan Pablo Hernandez tomorrow at Stechert Arena in Bamberg, Bayern, Germany.
Alekseev would say of fighting Hernandez for the IBF and The Ring magazine championship, “I am looking forward to that fight as it’s a great opportunity for me to become a world champion and I will use this chance.”
The 32-year-old Alekseev (who was in the military in Russia for seven years) is 24-2-1 (20). As well as being the IBF cruiserweight mandatory, he is also the WBO’s number two contender at 200 pounds.
Anson Wainwright - You meet Yoan Pablo Hernandez on Saturday in Bamberg, Germany. What are your thoughts on that fight?
Alexander Alekseev - I am looking forward to that fight as it’s a great opportunity for me to become a world champion and I will use this chance.
AW - When you look at Hernandez, how do you view him in terms of what he brings to the ring?
AA - He is a good technician with Cuban boxing [training]. I will show him his weaknesses on the 23rd of November.
AW - You fought for the WBO interim title back in 2009 but this is the first time you’ve fought for a “full” world title?
AA – Yes, that’s right. It is the first time I’m going to fight for a “full” world title.
AW - In your only fight of the year so far, you beat Garrett Wilson on points. What can you tell us about that fight?
AA - Garrett was a strong opponent with a good punch. I fought with the right tactics and defeated him clearly.
AW - You lost to Denis Lebedev in July 2010. That was a vicious knockout. How have you been able to reestablish yourself since?
AA - Back then I made a lot of tactical mistakes. I did once let my guard down and he was able to make the lucky punch. I have learned a lot from this defeat.
AW - You were born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Can you tell us about your younger days growing up? What was your path into boxing?
AA - The time growing up in Tashkent was nice. My father was also a boxer in the amateurs and he actually brought me into boxing and was my trainer till he died.
AW - You were a very successful amateur, winning gold at the 2005 World Championships. Could you tell us about that?
AA – Yes, that’s right. It was a good experience and I was in the top in the amateurs. Now I wanna reach this level on the 23rd of November in the professionals too.
AW - What other titles and tournaments did you win as an amateur? What current big names from the pros did you fight and what was your final record?
AA - In the amateurs, I was a three-time Russian champion, two-time European champion, two-time military champion and World Champion. All in all, I had approximately 350 fights, winning 330 fights.
AW - Could you tell us about your military experience?
AA - In 1998, I went to the Army to do my military service. In the first year, I did my basic military training. Afterward, I had been recruited as a sports soldier. During my time as a sports soldier till 2005, I twice won the military championship.
AW - The cruiserweight division often gets bad press but currently, it’s very strong. What are your thoughts on the division and the current champions, the WBC’s Krzysztof Wlodarczyk, the WBA’s Denis Lebedev, the IBF’s Yoan Pablo Hernandez and the WBO’s Marco Huck?
AA - At the moment, the cruiserweight division is much more interesting than the heavyweight division because there is much more competition and there are more exciting fights. All the champions are very good and strong and have deserved their titles. Now comes my time.
AW - In the coming months, there are some interesting fights. How do you see Wlodarczyk-Fragomeni III and Huck-Firat Arslan? It also appears like Lebedev will face Guillermo Jones in a rematch?
AA - Wlodarczyk vs. Giacobbe Fragomeni, I personally think Wlodarczyk will win as he is the better fighter at this juncture. Huck vs. Arslan, Marco should not underestimate Firat. Otherwise, he will lose his rematch. Lebedev vs. Roy Jones, that’s a long story and it’s questionable whether this fight will ever take place.
AW – Lastly, do you have a message for Hernandez?
AA – Yes: Yoan Pablo, I want your title!
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