Andrei Mikhailovich knows what he’s capable of, and when he steps into the ring against Janibek Alimkhanuly on July 14, he’ll look to prove it to the world.

Mikhailovich (21-0; 13 KO) will fight to be crowned WBO and IBF world middleweight champion when the two meet in Las Vegas; success would see the 26-year-old become the first New Zealand boxer to hold two world titles.

It’s a fight that has culminated from years of taking his opportunities and making the most of them. And while he admitted he’s going into the bout against Alimkhanuly (15-0; 10 KO) as a “huge underdog”, Mikhailovich was working to put himself in the best position to repeat the dose.

“I have a lot of respect for Janibek,” Mikhailovich told the Herald.

“I think he’s done well, I think he’s had an amazing career, and I’ve got to do my job and beat him. That’s what I’m going to do. I’ve got nothing against him, he’s living his life and doing his job just as I am. I’ve got nothing bad to say about him, but I’m here to cause a huge upset and win obviously. I wouldn’t be taking this fight if I didn’t think I’d win.

“There’s no doubt in my mind I’m going to win, I’ve just got to prove it. I know I’m going to be a huge underdog in this fight. Everything’s stacked against me, but a good thing about me is my life, from when I was born, I had the odds against me at birth, so this is nothing new to me. It’s just another day in paradise for me, baby.”

Leaving no stone unturned in preparation for the bout, Mikhailovich and his coach Isaac Peach have spent time in Australian town Albury for part of their training camp.

It’s a rare move for the Peach Boxing team to take part of a fight camp outside of their West Auckland gym, but Mikhailovich said the benefits of doing so were clear.

“It’s fantastic. When you’re in these high-stakes fights and high-stake moments, you need to have a bit of extra seasoning on your chicken than usual,” he said.

“That’s why we’ve been heading to Albury to train with Mark Jensen, who’s a fantastic dude over there, and it’s just awesome. It’s just me and Isaac, and this complete focus on the task at hand. Albury is pretty boring, so the one thing you do look forward to is training. It’s like a fighter’s heaven; not much to do, just train, eat properly and sleep well.

“I’m a focused person as it is, but for these types of fights you have to have that extra 1 per cent on everything you’re doing. From the way you hit the bag to the way you cook your food, you need to be slightly better each time.”

The fight is the emerald city at the end of what has been a winding road for the Russian-born boxer. While he has amassed an impressive professional record, Mikhailovich has yet to fight against an opponent ranked inside the top 15 with any of the sport’s four major bodies.

He was supposed to fight highly ranked German Denis Radovan late last year in a title eliminator, but Radovan was forced out with injury. The bout was rescheduled for this year, but when Radovan again pulled out, Mikhailovich says his team were told if they found and won another fight they would be named mandatory challenger with the IBF.

The delays meant he had been out of action for a year, but that didn’t show in his quick demolition of Australian veteran Les Sherrington in April.

Mikhailovich knew Alimkhanuly would be a huge step up but said that wouldn’t change anything in his approach to the bout.

“What’s really important with a fight like this is you can’t over-sensationalise it. You can’t make it into a huge, big overwhelming deal. It’s all about perception, fighting. If I view it as just another fight, it will just be another fight. If I view it as ‘he’s a good opponent but I know I’m good myself’ that’s how it’s going to be.

“It’s really important you don’t overcook yourself mentally. One trick I do is that when I leave the gym, I don’t think about boxing. When I’m in the gym, I’m the most astute student you’ll ever have, but outside of the gym, I’m professional of course with my eating and how I deal with my life, but I don’t think about boxing.”

2024-06-09T06:04:46Z dg43tfdfdgfd