Taras Shelestyuk: ‘I just want to be a better fighter’
Taras Shelestyuk has remained under the radar in recent months while fellow Ukrainian fighters Vasyl Lomachenko and Oleksandr Usyk have garnered the spotlight.
And that is OK with Shelestyuk.
Four years removed from winning a bronze medal at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, Shelestyuk is right on course with his career plan. He is unbeaten and living out his dream of fighting in the United States.
Another dream of his will be fulfilled on Friday night when he headlines a televised fight card for the first time in his pro career. Shelestyuk will face Jaime Herrera in a 10-round bout at Omega Products International in Corona, California.
The bout will headline a three-fight “ShoBox” telecast on Showtime, beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.
Shelestyuk (14-0, 9 knockouts), who currently lives and trains in the Los Angeles area, has not fought since May 20 when he stopped Erick Martinez after the third round.
He faces a modest challenge in Herrera, who resides in Chicago and is unbeaten in his last four bouts since getting knocked out in two rounds by undefeated welterweight Egidijus Kavaliauskas in December of 2014.
“His style would benefit me if we boxed,” Shelestyuk told RingTV over the phone Wednesday. “I prepared for any style, so nothing he brings would surprise me.”
Training and sparring with multi-division world titleholder Shane Mosley in recent weeks also helps.
Shelestyuk’s amateur pedigree and accomplishments may be off the charts but the sparring sessions in the gym with Mosley have been priceless.
“What Shane Mosley has done in the ring is legendary,” said Shelestyuk, who is co-promoted by Banner Promotions and Thompson Boxing Promotions. “This is all great experience for me. After we train, (Mosley) gives me advice on tactics. I apply those in the ring during the next training session.”
The accomplishments of Lomachenko and Usyk may make Shelestyuk wonder whether he can achieve that level of success.
The 30-year-old does not get caught up in what others have done. Instead, he focuses more on living out his dream and providing for his family.
“My dream is to continue enjoying life. My life is boxing and to provide for my family. I love what I do and I’m grateful for all that has happened.”
Shelestyuk, who is managed by Vadim Kornilov, believes the best is yet to come for him in 2017.
“I just want to be a better fighter every time I get in the ring. Eventually, I want to fight for a world title belt. That will come as long as I keep winning.”
Francisco A. Salazar has written for RingTV since October of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper, BoxingScene.com and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing.
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