In a contest that has come out of left-field somewhat, a British boxer gets an unexpected crack at gate crashing World Title level this Friday in a tough assignment in Russia.
Ilford based Umar Sadiq (10-1, KO6) is the man going into unknown territory, as he challenges former World Champion, Fedor Chudinov (22-2, KO15) for the spurious WBA Gold Super Middleweight Title at the Khimki Basketball Centre.
32-year-old Sadiq has a ‘have gloves will travel’ mentality, and has rarely shirked a challenge in an eleven fight career that began September 2017.
In only his fourth fight, he met fellow unbeaten, Zak Chelli in October 2018, and was dropped in the sixth on the way to a points defeat over eight rounds.
After six straight wins against non descript opposition, Sadiq took an opportunity against Kody Davies in February this year, with the Welshman having compiled a 10-0 record and favoured to beat ‘Top Boxer’.
Sadiq didn’t read the script though, and turned in a disciplined performance to take a clear decision win. Now he travels to Russia for an away day against a tough operator in Chudinov.
The Serpukhov native is the same age as Sadiq, but has some eight years more experience in the professional code, and has boxed at a much higher level than his opposition this weekend.
By May 2015, Fedor challenged Felix Sturm in the German’s Frankfurt back yard for the WBA Super Middleweight Title, and took a deserved split decision win.
He travelled to Wembley Arena four months later, and dominated against Frank Buglioni, taking a wide points victory.
Fedor was upgraded to ‘Super Champion’ status, and his first defence was a rematch with Sturm, this time in Oberhausen in February 2016.
Felix turned the tables though, handing Chidinov a first career loss via majority decision.
After an argument relating to post match drug tests from Sturm, the title was declared vacant, and Chudinov travelled to Sheffield to take on the luckless George Groves for the belt.
Groves had previously failed in world title attempts three times. The fight at Bramhall Lane would prove to be Groves’ defining night, as he overcame an early onslaught, and a broken jaw, to roar back and stop Fedor in six.
Chudinov is unbeaten in eight since that experience, and hasn’t ventured outside of Russia since the Groves reverse.
He has operated at a much lower level, and his last fight came in December 2019, when he routed faded former world champion, Hasan N’Dam N’Jikam, winning all 12 rounds on two scorecards.
Prediction: This is a massive ask for Sadiq, and a real step into the unknown him. He proved in the Davies fight that being the underdog doesn’t faze him, but this is a whole different ball game against Chudinov.
I think Sadiq will acquit himself well, but ultimately, I don’t think he has the power to get the Russian out before schedule.
With that being said, a decision win is near impossible, so the pick has to be a points win, albeit possibly contentious, for Chudinov.
A standout from the undercard is the sad continuation of the career of Danny Williams (54-28, KO41). The Brixton-based former World Heavyweight Title challenger continues to punch for pay.
Ten years removed from his last assignment in England, where he lost his British title in two rounds to Dereck Chisora and his licence was promptly withdrawn for concerns over his health.
He has since criss-crossed all over Europe, and Friday sees him face a man making his debut in Sergey Kharitonov.
The 40-year-old Russian is known for stints in MMA, especially with Bellator, where he headlined several shows and Williams is seen as ideal fodder for him to look good against.