Junior Middleweight Champion Looking to Gain Recognition and Big Fights in the United States
European superstar Sergiy Dzinziruk will make his United States professional debut and the fifth defense of his World Boxing Organization (WBO) Junior Middleweight title against once-beaten challenger Daniel Dawson on Friday, May 14, on ShoBox: The New Generation at 11 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast) live on SHOWTIME®. The telecast will originate from the Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Ynez, Calif., and will be promoted by Gary Shaw Productions, LLC.
The 34-year-old Dzinziruk is arguably the world’s top junior middleweight, but is largely unknown in the U.S. The southpaw, who is currently training in Los Angeles for his first world title defense in more than 17 months, was inactive in ’09 due to a contract dispute with his European former promoter.
Despite the inactivity, Dzinziruk is still drawing raves reviews and is the No. 1 ranked junior middleweight by many well-respected boxing websites, including ESPN.com and FightNews, ahead of 154-pound stars Alfredo Angulo, Antonio Margarito, Kermit Cintron, Cory Spinks and Yuri Foreman.
“Just because the American audience hasn’t had a chance to see him yet doesn’t mean they shouldn’t understand that he’s a good fighter,” ESPN’s Dan Rafael said. “I’ve seen him and he’s a very good technician, he’s a very good boxer. He’s got a lot of talent.
“It depends how he performs on ShoBox and who is available in the division, but, if he keeps winning, there will be big fights for him.”
Dzinziruk (35-0, 23 KOs), of Hamburg, Germany, by way of Ukraine, last fought on Nov. 1, 2008, when he successfully defended his title against Joel Julio in Germany.
“I’m ready to fight, defend my title and show my talent,” Dzinziruk said. “I’m ready and willing to go all the way. I’ve been waiting for a long time to defend my title in the U.S.
“I’m willing to take on anyone in the division. Angulo, Cintron, (Paul) Williams, whoever, doesn’t matter. They’re all very interesting fights for me. I want to take on every champ in the division and show America what I’m made of.”
Dzinziruk fought previously in the U.S. as an amateur, representing Ukraine at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta and the 1998 Goodwill Games in New York. He recently signed a promotional contract with American promoters Artie Pelullo’s Banner Promotions and Gary Shaw Productions.
“No one is safe once they step into the ring with Sergei,” Shaw said. “There’s a reason he’s called ‘The Razor.’ He cuts his opponents up to ribbons. He is one of the brightest lights in boxing’s most exciting division.”
The southpaw’s two most impressive wins came against Julio and then-defending WBO champion Daniel Santos in December 2005.
“His biggest problem is his layoff, but even with the layoff, you can make the argument that he should be the top-rated junior middleweight in the world based on what he’s accomplished as a champion,” said Steve Farhood, the expert analyst for ShoBox.
“He’s the most established of the 154-pound champions. What makes this fight interesting is that he’s coming off a layoff and he’s fighting in the U.S. for the first time.”
Dzinziruk will face another test in Australian prospect Dawson (34-1, 24 KOs), whose only loss came to then-unbeaten Daniel Geale for the International Boxing Organization (IBO) 154-pound belt in 2007. The 33-year-old Dawson is a late replacement for Sherzod Husanov, who couldn’t make it to the U.S. from Russia due to visa issues.
“Normally, changing an opponent last minute is not a good thing,” Dzinziruk said. “We were getting ready for the other fighter, but I checked this guy’s style and what he does so I don’t think it will be too much of a problem. I am ready to take on anyone.”
Like Dzinziruk, Dawson is coming off a lengthy layoff, having last fought on Feb. 1, 2009, when he scored a third-round KO over Ariel Aparicio in Perth, Australia. Dawson will make his U.S. debut after dominating the opposition in Australia since 2002.
“It’s a world title opportunity,” Dawson said. “You go in there and throw everything you’ve got, throw your heart over the wall and your body will follow.
“This is what you dream of, this is what you wait for; this is what you train all these years for, what you live for.”