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Khabib Allakhverdiev: “I am the new power in the light welterweight division.”

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By Anson Wainwright


Earlier this summer, Khabib Allakhverdiev made quite a splash stopping the usually durable South African Kaizer Mabuza in just four one sided rounds to claim the IBO light welterweight title. The win took the 29-year-old Russian southpaw’s record to a perfect 17-0 (8). Though generally not perceived as a knockout artist, his two most recent wins have both ended inside the distance. As well as being “The Hawk’s” most significant performance to date, the Mabuza fight also allowed him gatecrash the world rankings, sitting at number four with the WBA as well as number seven by The Ring magazine. Currently, Allakverdiev’s team is speaking with representatives for Joan Guzman about a fall fight for the vacant WBA championship.
 
Anson Wainwright - In June, you beat impressively stopped Kaiser Mabuza in four rounds. Could you tell us about that fight and what you thought of your performance?

Khabib Allakhverdiev - We don’t have a goal for a fight to go for a KO. The plan was to counterpunch every time; don’t run from Mabuza like Kendall Holt. Keep him under pressure!
 
AW - Rumours are that you may face Joan Guzman for the vacant WBA light welterweight title. Could you tell us about this?
 
KA - We would like to have a fight with top of our division! If it would be Guzman, no problem; he doesn’t have losses, ex-champion of the world! He is the most dangerous fighter in the division! It will be the toughest fight in my career!
 
AW - If the Guzman fight doesn’t happen, what are you looking at doing next? Who would you then like to fight?
 
KA – [Juan Manuel] Marquez is great fighter but I have a dream fight with Manny [Pacquiao] in Moscow! It is my message to [Top Rank founder and CEO] Bob Arum!
 
AW - What style of boxer would you describe yourself as? What are your strengths as a boxer and what areas are you working on improving?
 
KA - My style is always moving. I like to rumble! I need always to improve my physical condition!
 
AW - Who are the key members of your team?
 
KA - My brother, Shaffidin, and Kostya Tszyu are trainers. Vlad Hrunov is manager and Ali [first or last name wasn’t mentioned] is physical trainer.
 
AW – Can you tell us about where you are from?
 
KA - I am born in Derbent; it’s a 5,000-year-old city. It’s a nice city.
 
AW – You were a very good amateur. Can you tell us about that part of your life?
 
KA - 189 fights [total], 172 won, 17 losses. I won a bronze medal in World Championships in China in 2005.
 
AW - You have already fought in America. Can you tell us about your experience?
 
KA - I have fight in undercard at Madison Square Garden [in his professional debut in March, 2007]. I have big dream to make main event fight in this venue.
 
AW - The light welterweight division is one of the strongest in boxing. What do you think of the division and its champions, WBC/WBA “super” champion Danny Garcia, IBF champion Lamont Peterson and WBO champion Juan Manuel Marquez?
 
KA - It’s great when you have so many excellent boxers in one division! Marquez has a big experience with great fighters! Garcia’s a young and talented guy, very dangerous. I’d love to fight each!
 
AW - Tell us about yourself as a person, your family and what you enjoy doing away from boxing.
 
KA - I prefer to spend free time with my family; I have 3 children. Also I like sleep in the mountains, hunting and play football. I don’t visit nightclubs and so on.
 
AW - Who was your boxing hero growing up and who do you like to watch today?
 
KA - Mike Tyson and Muhammad Ali! They are best.
 
AW – Finally, do you have a message for the light welterweight division?
 
KA - I am Khabib: the new power in the division.
 
Questions and or comments can be sent to Anson at elraincoat@live.co.uk and you can follow him at www.twitter.com/AnsonWainwright. Anson is also a member of The Ring magazine’s ratings panel.
 


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