Monday, May 29, 2023  |


Vladimir Shishkin takes on Oscar Riojas at the fabled Kronk Thursday night

Vladimir Shishkin (Photo by Dave Mandel/SHOWTIME)
Fighters Network

Vladimir Shishkin believes he is ready to face the best fighters at 168 pounds. He wonders if they would be eventually ready to face him.

The unbeaten super middleweight returns Thursday night to face gatekeeper Oscar Riojas at the Kronk Gym in Detroit, Michigan. The 10-round bout will stream live on UFC Fight Pass (7 p.m. ET/ 4 p.m. PT).

Shishkin, who is originally from Stepnoe, Russia, and now resides in Detroit, has not fought since defeating Ulises Sierra by unanimous decision on January 17. The decision win over Sierra snapped a string of four consecutive knockout wins, including one over former world title challenger Nadjib Mohammedi.

The 29-year-old will square off against Riojas, who lost by unanimous decision to unbeaten Diego Pacheco in his last bout on February 29. Although he is favored to win, Shishkin (10-0, 6 KOs) is not overlooking the fighter from Monterrey, Mexico.

“I know that he is a solid, determined fighter,” Shishkin told The Ring on Monday. “I expect him to be aggressive and try to make it a hard fight. I learn from every opponent and expect an exciting match.”

Shishkin will have the fortune very few fighters have had in recent years. He will face Riojas (21-13-1, 10 KOs) at the famed Kronk Gym, where he also trains.

Since arriving to the United States almost two years ago, Shishkin has acclimated to living in a busy metropolis like Detroit. He has also made changes to his personal life to become more accessible to the media.

“I love Detroit,” said Shishkin, who is promoted by Dmitriy Salita and managed by Niko Tsigaras. “It took some time to adjust, but once I did, I feel very comfortable. I am taking English lessons, actively participate in my new American, Detroit social life. Training and sparring at the Kronk Gym has been phenomenal. Training with ‘Sugar Hill’ Steward took my skills and knowledge of boxing to a new level.”

Shishkin may be considered a prospect in most boxing circles, but his team believes he is ready to face the elite of the super middleweight division. Salita predicts an eventual showdown against Canelo Alvarez awaits.

As much praise as he has received from ‘ShoBox’ commentators, where he fought on two occasions and from his handlers, Shishkin is being patient.

An impressive victory over Riojas could put Shishkin closer towards contender status. He currently holds a modest No. 10 ranking by the WBC.

Shishkin understands boxing politics, where despite rankings, he would have to wait until his time comes.

“I am a contender and feel (that I am) ready for the best in the world,” Shishkin said. “My complete focus is on Riojas but I know what I am capable of.”

Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (Calif.) Star newspaper. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @FSalazarBoxing



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