Saturday, June 10, 2023  |



Abel Sanchez discusses Denis Shafikov’s win against Jemal Herring

Photo courtesy of Premier Boxing Champions
Fighters Network

Maybe more people should have known the mindset of Team Shafikov heading into the Saturday night lightweight tussle with favored 2012 Olympian Jamel Herring.
If it was a known thing far and wide that Shafikov’s trainer Abel Sanchez respectfully turned down his invite to pick up his BWAA Trainer of the Year award at the June 24 awards gala in NYC, maybe more folks would have been less surprised that the Russian had his hand raised in Pennsylvania on a PBC on ESPN show.
Sanchez, the California-based veteran best known for being with Gennady Golovkin, the fighting pride of Kazakhstan, talked to about the ‘W,’ a last-round stoppage, for his Russian, and why he chose to stay and train instead of getting the award in person.
“These kids depend on us, and this one gives me 150 percent everyday, they depend on coaches for their future and livelihood, it should always be about them,” Sanchez said.
“My job is to coach, yes, that’s why I pulled him out of a June 11 fight to take this one, on ESPN. With Denis it is always important to establish distance, slip and get closer to our punching range, then Denis can adjust to the outside and use his jab and straight or looping left hand, but having the choice makes it easier to land our shots.”
I was curious, did he know pretty quick how the fight was going to play out? And did Sanchez believe that the now 15-1 Herring works almost solely off the back foot and doesn’t perhaps have the power to keep a Shafikov (37-2-1) at bay?
“I knew when it was offered to me, somebody with high profile and only 15 fights, they can’t handle Denis… we needed that type of fight and situation to move into title contention,” said Sanchez.
As for Herring, he assured us that he’s feeling OK the day after. He was eating clean shots in Round 9, and trainer Mike Stafford told him he needed to show something or he’d pull the plug. After taking a hard crack in the 10th and final round, Stafford threw in the towel.
Herring indicated that he’d learn from the ‘L,’ and come back better. “I’m fine, I’ve just been resting,” he said Sunday afternoon.