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Vyacheslav Glazkov’s grandmother was killed in Ukraine bombing, still focused on Steve Cunningham

Credit: Rich Graessle / Main Events

On March 14 Vyacheslav “Czar” Glazkov will face Steve “USS” Cunningham as the co-feature on the Kovalev-Pascal HBO World Championship Boxing telecast. Although Cunningham is a formidable opponent, the 30-year old from Lugansk, Ukraine faced much bigger adversity outside of the ring over the last year.

Early in 2014, Czar won the biggest fight of his career when he defeated veteran Tomasz “Goral” Adamek in a 12-round unanimous decision to secure the IBF North American Heavyweight Title. Shortly thereafter, along with his wife and daughter, he immigrated to the United States from war-torn Ukraine. They had difficulty crossing over the border into Russia, but were finally able to make it to sunny Florida to start their new lives as American residents.

Back home in Ukraine, things continued to be tumultuous for Glazkov’s family. Before his Aug. 9 fight with Derric Rossy, Czar had not heard from his parents for over two weeks. This was especially difficult for Glazkov whose father, Valerii Glazkov, usually attends all of his fights. Despite worrying about his family in Ukraine and an ailing hand, which still had not healed from his battle with Adamek, Glazkov managed to defeat Rossy via a 10-round majority decision.

After the fight, Glazkov received word that his parents were safe. His father made the trip to the United States for Czar’s next fight in Atlantic City on the Kovalev-Hopkins undercard. The elder Glazkov watched from ringside as his son stopped Darnell Wilson in the seventh round.

Unfortunately, not everyone in Glazkov’s family survived the unrest in Ukraine. Recently, on a media conference call, Czar talked about his grandmother: “I lost my grandmother; she was killed in the street during one of the bombings. Of course it was always distracting to talk with my family back there.” But he added, “Right now I am concentrated 100% and I am here, I am training, I am ready.”

For the Rossy and Wilson fights, Glazkov worked with world-renowned trainer, John David Jackson, the same trainer that works with Main Events’ stable mate and WBO, WBA and IBF Light Heavyweight World Champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev. When Glazkov found out his fight against Steve Cunningham for the mandatory position in the IBF and the USBA Heavyweight Championship would be on the same card as Kovalev vs. Pascal, he thought about what would be best for his preparation. He said, “John David Jackson was so busy with Sergey [Kovalev]. I decided I needed to go with a new trainer. Instead of going with somebody completely new, I chose someone from the past that I used to work with. We are clicking together good.” Glazkov was referring to his former trainer, Victor Petrochenko.

To work with Petrochenko, Glazkov had to travel to Oxnard, CA from Sunny Isles, FL, where he lives with his family. Despite once again training thousands of miles away from his wife and daughter, Glazkov is focused on Cunningham. “Cunningham is a very experienced fighter. He is a very good fighter. That is why I have to prepare 100% for the fight. Good fight. Good opponent. Will be a good night.”

The winner of this fight will face the winner of the WBA, WBO and IBF Unified Heavyweight Championship fight between Wladimir Klitschko and Bryant Jennings. Both Glazkov and Cunningham worked as Klitschko’s sparring partners. Czar does not want to predict who will win the Klitschko-Jennings fight, but said, “I am facing Steve Cunningham. I can’t predict what is going to happen, but I would love to go and face Klitschko. I got good experience sparring with Klitschko. If I am going to fight him next, that experience will give me insight to fighting him.”