No channel has given exposure to Russia’s top boxers like BoxNation.
Our cameras are in Ekaterinburg on Saturday afternoon where we have a stack of exciting live fights.
Heading the line up is Shavkat Rakhimov, who puts his IBO Super-Featherweight belt on the line against South Africa’s Rofhiwa Maemu.
Rakhimov has done everything right in the paid game so far, but is he among the best of the current professionals from the vast nation? Our man Steve Lillis tells us his ‘Magnificent Seven’ Russian fighters.
7. SERGEY LIPINETS
Age 29, 14-1 (10 KOs)
He won the IBF Super-Lightweight Title in only his 13th fight defeating Akihiro Kondo, but unfortunately ran into Mikey Garcia in his first defence, losing on points.
Lipinets bounced back with a win, but faces a serious test on Sunday when he faces Lamont Peterson. Against Garcia he gave a good showing and did better than many against him. He landed plenty, but failed to hurt Mikey.
If he beats Peterson he is well and truly back. Lipinets is decent.
6. SHAVKAT RAKHIMOV
Age 24, 13-0 (10 KOs)
The youngest of our magnificent seven has time on his side, but is already laying down a marker that suggests he may become one of the Super-Featherweight division’s most dominant men.
Shavkat in ranked number four by the WBC for Miguel Berchelt’s title and fifth for the IBF belt currently worn by Tevin Farmer.
His last two performances have been standouts against two-time IBF Champion Malcolm Klassen, who was stopped in eight and Robinson Castellanos, who was torn apart in two rounds.
Rakhimov is a good pressure fighter and isn’t scared to let his hands go. The potential is there for sure. Don’t blink this weekend.
5. ALEXANDER POVETKIN
Age 39, 34-2 (24 KOs)
Povetkin is still one of Russia’s biggest names, but his career is just about staying alive and the next loss will almost certainly be the last.
He is confident he can succeed and have a successful final assault at becoming a World Champion again following his defeat against Anthony Joshua in September.
His career has been controversial and he has become embroiled in PED storms, but in Russia he is known for winning the WBA Heavyweight crown and Olympic and World Championship amateur gold.
4. ARTUR BETERBIEV
Age 34, 13-0 (13 KOs)
Now he has sorted out a contract wrangle with his former promoters GYM, his career should kick on under Top Rank.
Beterbiev, the only current World Champion with a 100 per-cent knockout ratio, will take his iron fists to California for the second defence of his title on May 4th when he faces Radivoje Kalajdzic.
He won the IBF Title in a tougher than expected clash in November 2017, knocking out German rival Enrico Koelling in the 12th round.
In his first defence of the belt, Beterbiev had to dig deep before ending Brit Callum Johnson's challenge in the fourth last October. He has been a pro for almost six years and must become more active if he is to live up to expectation.
3. MURAT GASSIEV
Age 25, 26-1 (19 KOs)
[Image credit: Ring Magazine]
The former IBF and WBA Cruiserweight Champion hasn’t boxed since losing to Oleksandr Usyk on points last summer when all four major belts were on the line.
That is no disgrace given Usyk’s status and before the fight plenty gave him a chance which tells you his standing.
With Usyk expected to relinquish the crown jewels soon, Gassiev looks sure to fight for a vacant title and is likely to become a two-time World Champion. He has good ring craft and is an effective body puncher.
2. SERGEY KOVALEV
Age 35, 33-3-1 (28 KOs)
The old stager of Russian boxing has leapt up our Russian ratings once again after his mesmerising performance on BoxNation last month when he outpointed Eleider Alvarez to regain the WBO 175lb Title.
Plenty of people, myself in that gang, thought it was over when Alvarez brutally beat him in seven rounds last August but the 'Krusher' made fools of us.
The man who was once the most invincible man in boxing is now looking forward to huge unifications against fellow Russians Dmitry Bivol and Artur Beterbiev. The WBO have ordered him to face British mandatory contender Anthony Yarde next.
1. DMITRY BIVOL
Age 28, 16-0 (11 KOs)
A showdown against his boxing inspiration Sergey Kovalev would be the biggest all-Russian fight ever, with Bivol unbeaten and Kovalev back in form.
He won his WBA crown when he hammered Trent Broadhurst in November 2017 and then stopped Sullivan Barrera. Bivol has been taken the distance in his last three defences by Isaac Chilemba, Jean Pascal and Joe Smith just two weeks ago.
Against Smith his skill set was obvious and Bivol hurt his challenger, who famously ended Bernard Hopkins career, on plenty of occasions.