America, meet European superstar Sergiy Dzinziruk, who will make his United States professional debut and the fifth defense of his WBO Junior Middleweight title against once-beaten challenger Daniel Dawson tonight, 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 (35-0, 23 KOs) is arguably the world’s top junior middleweight, but is largely unknown in the U.S. The southpaw was inactive in 2009 due to a contract dispute with his European former promoter.
All eyes will be on Dzinziruk come Friday as he is the No. 1 ranked junior middleweight by many well-respected sources, ahead of 154-pound stars Alfredo Angulo, Antonio Margarito, Kermit Cintron, Cory Spinks and Yuri Foreman.
He recently signed a promotional contract with American promoters Artie Pelullo’s Banner Promotions and Gary Shaw Productions.
Question: Why did you decide to come to the United States ?
Sergiy Dzinziruk: “I’ve fought in other countries. I just want to show the American people what I’m all about. I fought here in the Olympics (1996 in Atlanta ) and the Goodwill Games (1998 in New York ) but as an amateur. I want people to know my name. I want people to recognize me when I walk down the street.”
Q: You haven’t fought in 18 months. Are you concerned about ring rust?
SD: “Of course I’ve been out of the ring for 18 months but that only makes me hungrier. I’m also fighting in the States for the first time but it doesn’t matter where I fight: the U.S. , England, Poland. A ring is a ring. I’m just ready to go in there and show everybody who Sergiy is.”
Q: You and Alfredo Angulo are both represented by Gary Shaw. How soon would you like to fight Angulo?
SD “I’d like to just get this first fight out of the way first. But, yes, I would like to fight him. I was at his last fight. He looked pretty good but I am not afraid of Angulo. There are a lot of interesting names in my division. Paul Williams, the interim champion Angulo, (Kermit) Cintron. I just have to be patient and I know I will meet the best in the division.”
Q: You are ranked very high in your division. Does that put added pressure on you, especially since a lot of people in the States aren’t familiar with you?
SD: “Yes. Absolutely. I’m very aware of it, that the pressure is on. Everybody is looking at me and that’s why I am here in America and training hard. I’m ready to show the U.S. and Showtime audience what a dominant fighter I am.”
Q: What do you know about Showtime?
SD: “Showtime is a major network and does a great job with boxing and its different shows. I just feel so fortunate that my first fight in America is united with Showtime and I’m hoping to show a great outcome and fight.”
Q: What do you like most about living in the States?
SD: “The sparring partners are much better and the gyms are different than in Germany and England . I’ve been able to travel around and sightsee a little bit. But after this fight I will do a lot more. I’ll go to the beach and visit Las Vegas .”
Curt Menefee will call the action from ringside with Steve Farhood and Antonio Tarver serving as expert analysts. The executive producer of ShoBox is Gordon Hall with Richard Gaughan producing and Rick Phillips directing.