Once-beaten middleweight fringe contender Max Bursak will be looking to make a successful first defense of his European title when he takes on former British junior middleweight beltholder and Prizefighter winner Prince Aaron as chief support to the Edwin Rodriguez-Denis Grachev fight on Saturday in Monte Carlo.
In February Bursak stopped his good friend Julien Marie Sainte in three rounds to improve his record to 26-1 with 12 stoppage wins. The lone loss on an otherwise impressive ledger was a year ago when he challenged then-WBO interim beltholder Hassan N’dam N’Jikam, losing a wide decision.
Bursak, who turned 29 last week, isn’t perturbed by what the 6-foot-3 Aaron brings to the fight.
“I haven’t noticed anything special in his manner,” he told RingTV.com, “nothing that could surprise or frighten me.
“The only principal things he has are his height and reach. I think he will stay on the outside as all boxers with long arms usually do.”
Bursak is ranked by the WBC (No. 12), WBA and WBO (who have him at No. 5).
Anson Wainwright: You meet Britain’s Prince Aaron this weekend in what will be you first defense of the European middleweight title. What are your thoughts on the fight and Aaron as a fighter?
Max Bursak: This will be my first EBU title defence and I’m definitely sure I will win.
I watched all possible video of Aaron’s fights and haven’t noticed anything special in his manner, nothing that could surprise or frighten me. The only principal things he has are his height and reach. I think he will stay on the outside as all boxers with long arms usually do. I will try to cut the distance, but maybe if I see that it’s much more comfortable for me to go outside – then I’ll do itÔÇª We’ll seeÔÇª Anyway, we have a few strategies and will follow them depending on the situation.
AW: It takes place in Monte Carlo as part of the Edwin Rodriguez-Denis Grachev undercard. This is an interesting stage for you. What do you make of fighting there?
MB: My promoters have got an offer and we accepted the fight. Why not? (Laughs)
It’s a very good fight card, respectable boxers and champs, beautiful place. I know that the show will be televised in many countries. I hope boxing fans will enjoy all the upcoming fights.
As for me – I’m going there to win.
AW: You won the vacant European title impressively stopping Julien Marie Sainte in three rounds. Could you tell us about that fight?
MB: You know, while in my training camp for this fight the old hand injury awakened and I was thinking about pulling out. But I knew Julien very good since we sparred a few years ago and we were good friends, but understood that I had a very big chance to win. So we did all our best to make me well prepared despite the pain in the hand. Thank God, everything went very good and I became European champion (smiles).
I beat Julien, but I hope he is not aggrieved at me and we are still friends (laughs). He and his team are very nice people.
AW: Just over a year ago you suffered your only defeat when Hassan N’dam Jikam outpointed you when you challenged him for the WBO interim world title. Could you share your thoughts looking back?
MB: Honestly, I was not well prepared for that fight. Maybe it was irresponsible to enter the ring half-prepared, especially when the world title was disputed. But it’s lifeÔÇª I had some problems outside the ring and this affected me.
This was my first (and I hope the last) loss in pros but it taught me a good lesson.
AW: If I can take you back, you were born and have lived in Kiev for you entire life. Can you tell us a little about your younger days?
MB: Yes, I live here all my life and love my city very much. I grew like all Ukrainian kids. Nothing special (laughs). I have a little brother and he’s been and is my best friend. We played, walked, supported and protected each other.
AW: How did you get involved in boxing?
MB: Many friends of mine and my brother went in for different kinds of sports, basketball, karate, gymnastics, etc., but mostly football and boxing. We had a lot of energy and very good experience in “fighting” so we decided to use our skills more effectively and went to the boxing gym not far from our home. They were a very good team and we stayed at that gym for many, many years. By the way, my present trainer Sergey Gordiienko also grew as boxer and trainer at the same gym. I had about 250 amateur fights and was on Ukrainian national team.
AW: What do you think of the middleweight division at the moment?
MB: It’s the most interesting division, amazing and spectacular fights, the best and the most prominent boxers are here at middleweight. Look at (Sergio) Martinez, (Marco Antonio) Rubio, (Brian) Vera, (Gennady) Golovkin, (Peter) Quillin, (Julio Cesar) Chavez (Jr.), (Daniel) GealeÔÇª (Max) Bursak (laughs).
AW: Tell us a little about yourself away from boxing.
MB: I have a little business. I have family. I like bowling, fishing. But most of all I like my daughter Victoria. I do my best to spend all my free time with her.
AW: You’re promoted by K2. What is it like being promoted by the Klitschko brothers?
MB – It’s OK! I work with my company (K2 Promotions) since the day it was founded. I have won a few titles being promoted by K2 and am very satisfied with our cooperation. Unfortunately, I don’t meet the brothers very often, but Vitali always calls me before and after my fights, visits my dressing room and gives very good advice.
The Klitschko brothers are great professionals in present boxing and I admire them as people outside the ring.
AW: Lastly do you have a message for Prince Aaron ahead of meeting him?
MB: Let the best win!
Photo / K2 Promotions