Fedor Chudinov is not a name that trips as readily off the tongue as those Beasts from the East, Gennady Golovkin and Sergey Kovalev, but the-28-year-old Russian is a world champion with ambition in his heart and fire in his fists.
Ask Britain’s Frank Buglioni, whom he defeated in the first defence of his WBA Super-Middleweight title belt on my show at Wembley last September.
This was a fight sandwiched between meetings with the German Felix Sturm from whom he had sensationally and deservedly snatched the title in Frankfurt four months previously.
Chudinov may not be the best known scrapper to emerge from Russia but he is tough and resolute, as BoxNation viewers can determine for themselves when his return with Sturm is televised live tomorrow night.
He is confident enough to venture back to Germany, this time to Oberhausen in the industrial Ruhr region, for the reprise.
Sturm is one of Germany’s favourite fighting sons but he has been out of the ring since that split decision defeat to Chudinov and at 37 this could be his last throw of the dice after a 49-fight career that saw him reign as a world middleweight champion for a decade.
The incentive for him is becoming a two-weight world champion but while Chudinov is one of the least experienced of the current world title holders – this is only his 15th contest - but he seems to improve with every outing.
Buglioni certainly found him quite a handful, particularly strong in the latter stages of the bout when Sturm will need both guile and stamina to hold him off.
It is not quite as difficult for overseas fighters to get decisions in Germany as it once was, where the adage ’you have to knock ‘em out to get a draw’ first originated - as Chudinov and Tyson Fury have proved. So the Russian, a biker pal of President Putin, is entitled to feel confident about repeating his victory over the only really world class opponent he has faced.
He seems to be able to absorb some decent shots - Buglioni threw one or two in the earlier stages of their fight but he remained unshaken.
Sturm was a seasoned and successful amateur, who has now acquired he old pro’s technique of saving his best flurries for the eye-catching final minute of each round.
However he does not punch as hard as Chudinov and these days is not as fleet of foot. But he still has fast hands.
The probability is that Chudinov will again be too fresh and resilient for him but the beauty of boxing has always been that element of surprise.
I think this will be an absorbing and closely-fought contest, one well worth watching. BoxNation’s exclusive telecast starts at 7pm.