Saturday, May 25, 2024  |


Q&A: WBC cruiserweight titleholder Grigory Drozd

Fighters Network


Grigory Drozd puts his WBC cruiserweight title on the line for the first time on Friday when he faces late substitute Lukasz Janik.

Just over a week ago, Drozd (39-1, 27 knockouts) was left without an opponent when former champion Krzysztof Wlodarczyk, pulled out of their rematch. Wlodarczyk’s countryman, Janik (28-2, 15 KOs), stepped in.

“It is very strange that two boxers under same trainer were being considered for this fight against me,” a skeptical Drozd told on Wednesday. “It is evident the information on ‘Diablo’s’ (Wlodarczyk) withdrawal was held undisclosed till [the] very last moment and Janik was deliberately preparing well beforehand to face me.”

Even so, it’s not something the Russian-born champion, currently rated No. 2 at cruiserweight by THE RING, is letting bother him unduly.

“I do not choose whom to face, I am just ready being true champion,” said the 35-year-old. “[If it’s] Janik? Ok, Janik – [I’ll be] waiting [for] him in the ring May 22.”

The bout takes place in Moscow and will be headlined by a WBC heavyweight title eliminator between Alexander Povetkin and Mike Perez. Also scheduled to appear is a crossroads heavyweight bout featuring Alex Leapai and Manuel Charr, while Rakhim Chakhkiev meets Junior Wright at cruiserweight. The broadcast will be shown in the U.S. on live and ESPN2 same-day tape (Check your local listings for times) and in the U.K. at 5:30 p.m. on Boxnation.

Anson Wainwright – What are your thoughts on your fight with Janik?

Grigory Drozd – Janik is a very good boxer and tough challenge for me – I do take it very seriously, as I did for “Diablo” prior to our first fight as well as prior to rematch. War is coming and I am all ready.

AW – Have you been able to look at tape of Janik? If so what does he bring to the fight in terms of strengths and areas you take advantage of?

GD – He is very quick, moves well, avoids being hit. I will fight in position of a reigning champion, therefore the one who will keep [his] own style and fight [plan] will benefit. I am prepared strong physically, already from my side to perform strong pressure, defending very good and hitting hard back during the fight.

AW – What has your training camp been like?

GD РIt was a long and very high-quality training camp and preparation, I consider it the most useful and empowering camp ever. We spent time in Armenian mountains, Tsaghadzor, enhancing my level of physical condition and endurance. [We] held many sparring sessions  during final month prior to day of fight. I feel magnificent.

AW – You beat Wlodarczyk for the title last September – tell us about the fight and your performance?

GD – Facing “Diablo” last September was [the] fight of my career. I was ready as it was mega fight, mega chance for me because the road was so long and so hard (Drozd had been a pro for over 14 years). I put everything on the line and won’t pass the title to anyone.

AW – How did winning the WBC title change your life?

GD – Life changed drastically for me. I grew in finance, people started to recognize me. I got boxing experts recognition as well. I am happy and my team is happy. I now understand what is it to be a world champion.

AW – What did it mean to you to achieve a long-standing goal of becoming world champion?

GD – It is my whole life’s dream that came true. I dreamt from being a child, [it was the] dream of my family. I can speak for a long time about it. When nobody believes in you except five people you take this step and gain utmost power, utmost confidence. Not to forget it brings responsibility as well and a lot of it and I feel it, feelings are good.

AW – The cruiserweight division is brimming with talent. What do you think of the division and current champions?

GD – Many good names are in the division. Dmitry Kudryashov (he fights on the undercard vs. Vikapita Meroro) is my favorite and [he] is such a phenomenon with such a powerful knockout power. He is hitting so hard that I even could not recall anyone else recently.

AW – Now that you are champion what goals do you have in boxing?

GD – I want to have big fights. I now have gaining popularity, success. I want to unify titles and want to face big names to become big champion.

AW – What is your life like away from boxing?

GD – I am now being actively involved in social projects with young people, I do hold master classes and try to help children’s sport. [To] communicate with them, with boxers, with politicians and my words reach proper executives – that is what happens beyond boxing.

AW – Do you have a message for Janik ahead of your fight?

GD – I like [the] style of Janik, his behavior and aggression, and I wait for him desperately in the ring and we will both show big fight.

Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected] and you can follow him at