Tuesday, July 14, 2009

From Russia with Love

Ivan "The Terrible" Kirpa positioned himself for a shot at the title with a win on Saturday night over Miguel Angel Rodriguez.

Don King is of the opinion that Russian welterweight contender Ivan “The Terrible” Kirpa (24-1, 15KOs) could be one of the next great stars in the sport of boxing.

“Look, this Russian kid, he's going to be one of my next champions,” said the high-haired, 77-year old promoter. “He's going to fight for the title because he just won the right to do that on Saturday night.”

Kirpa, 31, from Smolensk, Russia but now residing in St. Petersburg, is currently the #7-ranked contender by the WBC at 147-pounds. With a 12-round unanimous decision win over Miguel Angel Rodriguez in a WBC title eliminator this past weekend, Kirpa has now put himself in line for a shot at titlist Andre Berto.

“I'm so excited,” said King of his new fighter. “I feel like I've added another gem to my crown. I've got Nicolai Valuev, another Russian, as part of my team, but now I've added another. This young man comes from Russia and he comes from Russia with love, you know what I'm sayin'?”

King has been known to exaggerate in the past, but most feel Kirpa looks the part of a world-beater. He has only lost once in a decade as a pro and he is ruggedly built with quick hands and he has the hunger for the money a championship fight would bring him.

“I'm going to take him and Nicolai to meet Vladimir Putin,” said King. “He's white, but he can fight! But to be serious with you for just a second this kid is going to knock out whoever he fights for the championship.”

It's not clear when Kirpa will receive his shot at a the title. Former WBA 147-pound beltholder Luis Collazo, also promoted by King, is currently ranked #1 by the WBC and he was rumored to be fighting Berto in a rematch sometime before the end of this year. The likely scenario is that Kirpa will have to fight one more ranked contender in a “final eliminator” before he receives his title opportunity.

“He's a gift from President Vladimir Putin, you know what I mean?” asked King. “This man is going to come over from Russia and shock the world. He's going to devastate everyone. Not all the people know him yet, but soon, the world is going to know him and see him and celebrate him. I have the 7'2” tall Russian heavyweight champion and I'm going to bring him back to America soon and I'm going to bring 'Ivan The Terrible' with him and we all going to shock the world!"

July 2009

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