Ukrainian light heavyweight contender Ismayl Sillakh recently sat down with RingTV.com correspondent Alexey Potapov, also of Ukraine, in Moscow and discussed a variety of subjects.
Sillakh (16-0, 13 knockouts) is coming off a third-round KO of Hamza Wandera last month in Moscow.
On that fight: “"Certainly, for me, it was not a difficult fight. I knew that I could easily knock him out. When we heard the name of the opponent and watched his last fight, we immediately knew the plan for the fight, which I have done. Hamza Wandera was uncomfortable. He is a tall southpaw with a heavy punch. He was good. But I knew that could do more "
Wandera had twice put down unbeaten Tomas Kovacs but lost a split decision in his previous fight.
Sillakh was at ringside for Denis Lebedev’s brutal 10th-round knockout of Roy Jones Jr., the main event that night in Moscow.
“I was in the fifth row,” Sillakh said. “If the fight went 10 rounds, it would’ve been a triumph for Jones and the audience would’ve been OK with the result. In the hall, the fans supported Roy Jones and Russia. I didn’t hear anyone chanting the name of Denis. Like most boxing fans, after the bout, I was left thinking: ‘Roy, please, enough.’ … Roy didn’t deserve such a defeat. I went to see him in the locker room afte the fight and there was a lot of sadness. There were people who were crying. Nobody wants to see their idol decline.”
Sillakh watched on television as Bernard Hopkins, 46, beat Jean Pascal to become the oldest man ever to win a major title.
"Yeah, I watched Hopkins-Pascal,” he said. “… Hopkins was a professor in the battle, and Pascal finally confirmed his … lack of character. The Hopkins-(Chad) Dawson fight will be a spectacular battle, but Chad recently lost his position and I think that the super grandpa will win on points "
Sillakh, a pro for three years, believes he’s ready for a shot a world title. He is ranked in the Top 15 by two of the four major sanctioning bodies.
"Look at me,” he said. “I’m tall, fast, I have a knockout punch, I’m smart, I work well on my feet, I have excellent endurance. What more should a champion have? I'm sure that at the first opportunity I will become a champion and that no one in my division has a chance against me.”
Sillakh is promoted by Square Ring, Jones’ company. He has to had to patiently wait for his chance.
“Boxing is a very complicated business,” he said. “There is a certain structure –promoters, television – upon which you grow. I am now ready to defeat any current champion in my weight as soon as I get the opportunity. I'll be world champion. The company Square Ring promotions is not big in the boxing world so I’m moving to the top slowly. But at the moment I can’t complain. Everything is OK. "