Monday, March 20, 2023  |



Derevyanchenko, who sparred with Jacobs, fights tonight on FS1


While two of the top middleweights clash on Saturday at Madison Square Garden on HBO PPV, another talented 160-pounder will quietly step into the ring a thousand miles south in Tunica, Mississippi under less glimmering lights.

Sergiy Derevyanchenko (9-0, 7 knockouts) may not be the most familiar middleweight in the division or the easiest to pronounce. But his amateur background speaks for itself and is easy to absorb. He went 390-20 in the unpaid ranks and captured a bronze medal at the 2007 World Championships while also earning an Olympic berth in 2008 for his home country, Ukraine. After blazing through his competition, Derevyanchenko will now face fellow undefeated Kemahl Russell (10-0, 8 KOs) tonight at the Fitz Tunica Casino in Tunica, Mississippi on FS1 (9 p.m. ET) after an eight-month layoff.

Derevyanchenko, who went 23-1 in the World Series of Boxing, stayed sharp by sparring roughly 40 rounds with Danny Jacobs for his middleweight championship with unified titleholder Gennady Golovkin on Saturday. Derevyanchenko’s advisor, Keith Connolly, believes the gym work will go a long way in helping Derevyanchenko move a step closer to a title shot while also giving Jacobs a boost for his bout on Saturday.

“It’s his second fight as a main event on national TV so it’s a great showcase to get his name out there where people can see how talented how he is,” Connolly said in a phone interview over the weekend of Derevyanchenko who stopped former titleholder Sam Soliman in two rounds last July. “I definitely think he’s a top 10 talent. it’s just a matter of the people seeing him in action. So it gives him another chance to prove that he belongs on the top.”

Connolly hopes Derevyanchenko gets a title shot in the next couple fights. If he does get an eventual title shot, ironically it could come against his former sparring partner in Jacobs if he can pull the upset on Saturday. Derevyanchenko was a principal sparring partner for Jacobs, going three times a week in the Bay Area where Jacobs held his camp.

“We wanted Sergiy getting in the ring right around Danny so they could both help each other for the entire camp,” Connolly said. “So that was by design. I think Derevyanchenko is probably one of the most underrated middleweights in the world. It’s just a matter of him getting some TV exposure and I think Tuesday will be another coming out party for him and I think the next 12 months will be a breakout time for him as far as making a name for himself.”