Saturday, December 03, 2022  |


A focused Czar Glazkov enters HBO showcase vs. Steve Cunningham



Unbeaten heavyweight contender Vyacheslav “Czar” Glazkov has a huge opportunity in front of him on Saturday when he faces former cruiserweight champ Steve Cunningham for a mandatory position in the IBF title picture in the HBO-televised co-feature to the Sergey Kovalev-Jean Pascal light heavyweight showdown.

It’s a potential high point for Glazkov (19-0-1, 12 knockouts) after a 2014 that saw his attention to his craft tested by the unrest in his home country of Ukraine.

“It was a very busy year for me last year as a fighter and in my personal life,” Glazkov said on a conference call. After scoring a unanimous decision against veteran Tomasz Adamek in March, he struggled mightily in his majority decision victory against Derric Rossy due to a training camp that saw him paying more attention to Ukraine unrest than the potential war he had in the ring.

“It was pretty hard in the beginning. It was upsetting my concentration and interrupting my training. I lost my grandmother; she was killed in the street during one of the bombings. Of course, it was always distracting to talk with my family back there.”

Regardless of how trying his year was personally, he managed to get through it unscathed in the ring and now has his sights set on Cunningham with a possible showdown with RING champ Wladimir Klitschko looming as the grand prize.

Despite his unbeaten record, Glazkov’s manager, Egis Klimas, sees one area that his fighter needs to improve in.

“I was talking to him about being too nice of a guy in the ring,” Klimas explained. “We are trying to put him where he has to be mean in the ring. No matter how good you are when you get in the ring you have to be mean. You have to be aggressive. You have to have a sportsman’s anger. That is what we have been working on with Czar in the last few months.”

Considering Czar’s relatively small stature as a heavyweight (6’3″), it is imperative that he ramps up his aggressiveness and tenacity before facing some of the division’s giants.

“If you are smart in the ring, you can overcome a size disadvantage,” Glazkov said. With a stellar amateur career and a bronze medal in the 2008 Olympic games in his pocket, he certainly has the credentials to become a major player in the division. But he’ll first have to demonstrate how much he has improved against Cunningham (28-6, 13 knockouts) on March 14. And with the challenges of 2014 in his rearview mirror, things are definitely looking up for the Ukrainian. However, he is well aware that everything can go up in smoke if he doesn’t focus on the task at hand.

“I can’t run in front of the wagon,” Glazkov stated when asked about a potential showdown with Klitschko or Bryant Jennings, who square off on April 25. “I know I have to face Cunningham on March 14 and this is my priority right now. Right now I am concentrating 100 percent on him and I am ready.”