Interview: Yuriy Nuzhnenko
By Alexey Potapov - WBA Light middleweight champion Yuriy Nuzhnenko has given an exclusive interview with EastSideBoxing.com in which has told about his duel against Antonio Margarito, desire to act in the USA, his trainer's work and many other things.
Article posted on 16.10.2008
Alexey Potapov: Yuriy, EastSideBoxing congratulates you for your win of the WBA welterweight title. Did you expect to win the title without a fight?
Yuriy Nuzhnenko: Thanks, Alex. We assumed that considering the status and popularity of Margarito in the U.S., such a situation was possible and probable. Fifty-fifty. But I very much hoped that fight with Margarito would take place.
A.P: If the WBA had not given the status of "super champion" to Antonio Margarito, what would you have done?
Y.N: If the WBA had not given the status of super champion to Antonio Margarito, he would have a choice: to fight with me or to lose his title. Certainly, I would like to battle Margarito for his title rather than to receive the title without a fight. And if he in such situation has preferred to protect a title, instead of to leave it I, certainly, with the great pleasure would leave with it in a ring. But present realities are that that "the super champion" Margarito cannot fight me in the next 18 months.
A.P: Do you think Margarito would want to fight you?
Y.N: It all depends on money. The situation in boxing is that that the financial side solves everything. The American and Mexican fighters with a big world name, and in general stars do not value official titles and prefer commercially more favourable fights with other stars, rather than to be protected against less unknown fighters, even if these fighters are officially appointed contenders.
A.P: In general actions WBA do not seem you strange? At first they carrying out of fight of Nuzhnenko – Margarito demands, and then suddenly declares Margarito the super champion. By rules WBA the boxer whom the owns two belts of the world champion can receive the status of the super champion. Margarito had one. There is no at you a thought what it has been made intentionally so that Margarito did not meet you? For certain you do not need to tell, how boxers of a rank of Margarito perceive duels against boxers from Europe. On the one hand the champion loses in money, with another – in a professional part. Especially, if he loses. Interestingly your opinion
Y.N: Stars quite often ignore the duties before authorizing federations, and it it escapes punishment: as they say – that the big money solve very big money (sarcastically do not solve grins), after all the business component in boxing often outweighs the sports. And fights of Margarito bring huge money. I think, after WBA has demanded, that Margarito has spent protection of a title against me, Toni has refused, and functionaries WBA have preferred not to lose the champion with the star status, and on not clear to «exclusive circumstances» have appointed its "super champion". Deeply I did not penetrate into the reasons of such decision WBA, in these questions I rely on the managers. As to unwillingness of Margarito to leave against me in a ring indeed, this fight is not included obviously into its nearest plans. Margarito - the outstanding fighter, and I do not think that he is afraid of someone. All business in the ratio risk/earnings. Probably, the command of Margarito considers this parity in fight with Mosley (I heard, this fight is planned for winter) more comprehensible, rather than in a fight with me. It and is clear, one business - risk to lose to a legend, and an another matter – "dark horse" from Europe. Not to mention that fights against the untwisted boxers bring much more money, rather than duels with boxers which in the USA are not so known. But in such state of affairs it is not enough sports: unfortunately, purely commercial calculation in open-cast mines of "stars" often supersedes a sports, competitive component.
A.P: Despite that Margarito became the super champion as a result it, anyhow, should meet you. Whether you are ready to such fight? How much estimate the chances against it?
Y.N: I am a world champion and Margarito is ready to fight against any welterweight the present, and including. I consider that I have every chance to win Toni and if possibility to meet it is given to me, I will make everything, that these chances not to miss.
A.P: Your opinion about Antonio Margarito. Whether you believed what it can beat Cotto?
Y.N: Before their fight I saw small favorite Cotto (60 % on 40 % in its advantage), but I can not tell that the result has surprised me. Margarito – very persistent, persevering and physically strong boxer, it initially was fight of equal contenders.
A.P: Yuriy, tell that for you it is better: constant fights of boxers which do not correspond to the strongest in the world or fight against the present star of a ring?
Y.N: Light middleweight now on lifting, in it loads and loads strong and known boxers. Antonio Margarito, Paul Williams, Migel Cotto, Joshua Clottey, Andre Berto – fight with someone from them is a present call for me, and I am ready to fight with any of them. Certainly, fight with a star of a ring both with sports, and from the financial point of view is much more interesting, than protection against unknown opponents.
A.P: You are a world champion, but you never fought in the USA. How estimate the forces and possibilities of your managers to spend fight in America?
Y.N: I trust the managers and I hope that they will agree about «the big fight» for me. And, certainly, I with the great pleasure will act from the USA if such possibility is given to me.
A.P: You have received the champion title?
Y.N: Yes, of course, I a title have received right after how has beaten in France Frederic Klose. That victory has brought to me the status of the "time" champion, but a belt differed nothing from what hand over to the sound champions, no marks "temporary" on it are present. This title also remained with me.
A.P: When will spend fight on protection of the champion title?
Y.N: I hope to spend title fight (protection or unifying fight) till the end of this year, my promoters now work over it, some variants are considered, but to speak yet I will not be. As to a place of carrying out of fight it can be both Ukraine, and Germany or the USA. To agree with Margarito or Cotto in the near future, seemingly, it is impossible, but in light-middleweight weight now many strong fighters. In particular, world champions Andre Berto and Paul Williams – interesting contenders for me, and for fight with someone from them I am ready to go to the USA. If in the near future it will not turn out to reach arrangements on title fight till the end of 2008, in December I will spend not title fight not to stand idle. After all also did not leave in a ring since spring, and I do not wish to "rust" because of long idle time.
A.P: I know that you the trainer on boxing. Tell, it at you is serious?
Y.N: Yes, it is very serious, especially I like to train children. Early to think, as will develop in the future – I do not gather for pension yet, but that I will continue to train after the termination of career of the boxer, I have solved firmly. She is mine, I take pleasure in this work, it is very interesting to me. Among my wards there are all age categories – children, young men, juniors, adult
A.P: Whether you will be disturbed by work of the trainer after you became the world champion?
Y.N: No, my work as a trainer doesn't get in the way of my boxing career. I constantly learn in boxing, regularly I keep the shape, I try to grow and be improved as the boxer together with the wards not to lag behind younger fighters. (laughs)
A.P: Your nearest plans for the future?
Y.N: I plan to continue my boxing career. I plan to continue fight while I have ability and the motivation to fight at the top-level. As to my life after boxing, I will unequivocally continue to be engaged in my favorite business - training. Probably, I will combine with something else, any business. After all, in Ukraine it's difficult to adequately to support a family if you - exclusively focus on boxing and don't have any other kind of job. But on leaving on rest I do not reflect yet. As to my goal in boxing, I have already reached my main goal by becoming a world champion. My main goal is to become the absolute undisputed world champion.
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