New Faces: Alexander Besputin
Hometown: Kamensk-Uralsky, Russia
Weight class: Junior middleweight/welterweight
Height / Reach: 5-feet-8 inches (173 cm) / (68 inches /173 cm)
Amateur record: Estimates 300-15
Turned pro: 2015
Pro record: 5-0 (5 knockouts)
Trainers: Marco Contreras, Cicilio Flores and Roger Roma.
Manager: Egis Klimas
Promoter: Top Rank Promotions Inc.
Best night of pro career: Besputin is most pleased with his latest performance, when he stopped experienced Azael Cosio (20-5-2, 17 KOs) in six rounds.
“One of the best shows I fought was (on the undercard of Manny) ‘Pacman’ (Pacquiao) vs. (Jessie) Vargas in (Las) Vegas,” Besputin told RingTV.com. “My opponent quit after (the) sixth round. I like big shows, as I am planning to bring these crowds to my future shows.”
Worst night of pro career: With only five professional fights so far, Besputin is happy with how all his bouts have gone at this point.
“My pro career, it is not long,” he said. “So (I) did not have (a) worst night.”
Next fight: The Russian-born fighter, who now trains in Oxnard, kicks off his 2017 campaign against Gilberto Pereira dos Santos, in a scheduled eight-rounder, Friday evening on UniMas.
“I will be ready on (the) 27th. I know my opponent is (a) good fighter and I look at him with respect,” he said confidently. “I had a good preparation and hope everything will be as planned.”
Pereira dos Santos, 39, has fought most of his career at junior middleweight and is usually durable. He enters the fight with a record of 12-4 (9 KOs), but has only been stopped once, at middleweight against Malcolm McAllister. Although he lost, the Brazilian went the distance with up-and-comers Luis Arias and Daniel Valdivia.
Clearly, if Besputin is able to stop Pereira dos Santos, it would be impressive.
Why he’s a prospect: Besputin was very successful amateur, winning 11 Russian National titles at various levels.
He was a silver medalist at the 2006 European Cadet Championships, a bronze medalist at the 2007 World Cadet Championships, 2009 European Youth Champion, European Championships gold medalist in 2013 and silver medalist in 2015. In between, he reached the quarterfinals of the World Championships and competed in the Semi-Pro World Series of Boxing.
He holds a win over 2016 Olympic gold medalist Daniyar Yeleussinov and 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Souleymane Cissokho.
During this time, Besputin caught the eye of noted boxing manager Egis Klimas.
“I knew Alex from the amateurs, while he was at Russian National team and seen him fighting as amateur,” Klimas said. “He was (an) outstanding fighter and got my attention. After (a) few meetings we decided to co-operate (and work together).”
Klimas says the hope is, that all being well, Besputin emerges victorious on Friday will be very active in 2017: “I hope to get him in the ring this year at least five or six times.”
So far, since making he move into the pros, he’s yet to spar with anyone of note.
Besputin feels he possesses several key attributes: “I think, number one, is a boxer has to think in the ring and be mentally prepared. After (that) it comes (down to) speed and condition.”
Matchmaker Brad Goodman of Top Rank Promotions, who promotes Besputin, is very high on the young, 154-pound prospect.
“He’s a guy who only has five fights but he’s very, very advanced at that level,” explained Goodman. “He can fight 10 rounds; he’s already at eight-round level. He’s a southpaw, very, very good offensively. He sets a lot of things up; he thinks and he’s smart. He’s a wear-you-down type of guy.
“A little bit more aggressive than (WBO junior lightweight titlist Vasyl) Lomachenko but very similar in that style but a little bit more offensive minded than Lomachenko. Lomachenko has the whole package, offensively and defensively. This guy gets hit a little bit more. He dissects you, plays chess with you and beats you and, once he feels confident and there’s no threat anymore, he finishes you off.”
Why he’s a suspect: With his extensive amateur pedigree, Besputin is a fighter on the up and there aren’t too many areas of his game in which he needs to improve.
The 25-year-old is his own biggest critic.
“I am critical to myself and I see a lot of mistakes in me, as I am continuing to work on (them),” he openly admitted. “My main thing is, from bout to bout, to get better results. When I will get better skills in boxing, I will set my desired goals.”
While Goodman likes what he sees offensively from Besputin, he’d like to see him tighten up his defense.
“We’d like to see him being a little better defensively,” said Goodman. “I don’t know if he gets bored in the ring because it’s so easy and he gets complacent and that could be it. There’s a lot of times when he gets hit unnecessarily, where he backs up, maybe because his fights are so easy and he gets bored and he needs more solid competition.
“In his last fight, he got hit a couple times by an experienced guy. Maybe the better the opposition, his defense will sharpen up and, if it did, it wouldn’t shock me one bit because he’s a real experienced guy. He has around 300 amateur fights.”
Otherwise, Goodman seems pleased with what the Russian brings to the ring: “I think everything is good with him. He’s one of these guys, I believe, who, the better the opposition, the better he’ll fight. I think he has to slow down a little bit before going to that next level. I think the more active he gets without layoffs, I think he’ll become better.”
Besputin has fought as high as 154 but Goodman says he’s a true welterweight. This fight takes place at 150 but that’s largely based on Pereira dos Santos coming down in weight. Making 147 pounds isn’t an issue.
Story lines: Besputin was born and raised in Kamensk-Uralsky, a moderate-sized city of just under 200,000 people in the Ural region, close to Siberia. He first became interested and took up boxing at around eight or nine years old.
“A few kilometers from my house, one of my father’s friends had small gym in (his) basement,” he said reminiscing on how he first came in contact with the sport. “My father had died already and I used to go to see his friend and somehow I was spending some time with him and asked him to let me join this gym.
“In the beginning, he was against it, as he was training mostly the older guys, but, just because he was my father’s friend, one day he let me join in and this is how my boxing career started.”
When he was 14, after one of the tournaments in Russia, some of the trainers and administrators from Krasnoyarsk noticed Besputin and invited him to train there.
Things progressed until he was spotted by Klimas and relocated again, this time to the West Coast, in the United States, in the fall of 2015, leaving his mother and brother in Russia.
He doesn’t have any specific boxing idol, “I am (a) very religious person and the Bible says, ‘Do not build heroes for yourself.’ But there are some boxers whom I like in the ring, and in real life, and I got lucky to be friends with them, train together and to be (on the) same team.”
Besputin is married and hopes to become a father soon. He says of his life outside boxing, “I am putting everything into boxing as it became everything for me, my life, my hobby, my work. I have no other time for anything else.
Nov. 5 – Azael Cosio – RTD 6
Aug. 6 – Kevin Womack Jr. – KO 1
April 2 – Christon Edwards – RTD 4
Jan. 16 – K Lon Spencer – TKO 3
Dec. 12 – Fernando Paliza – KO 2
Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected] and you can follow him on Twitter @AnsonWainwright
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