Vladimir Shishkin to face Sena Agbeko tonight but is eyeing Canelo Alvarez tomorrow
Vladimir Shishkin does not consider himself a prospect or a contender. Instead, he is dialed in on one thing only: a world title fight against Canelo Alvarez.
That will not happen anytime soon but the unbeaten super middleweight is confident a path to a championship bout against the popular Mexican superstar is inevitable.
Shishkin must take care of business tonight as he squares off against once-beaten Sena Agbeko, at Mohegan Sun Casino, in Uncasville, Connecticut. The 10-round bout will precede the main event between unbeaten welterweight prospects Janelson Figueroa and Mark Reyes Jr.
Both fights will air live on Showtime (9 p.m. ET/ 6 p.m. PT).
At Tuesday’s weigh-in, Shishkin came in at 169 pounds. Agbeko weighed 168.75 pounds.
Shishkin (11-0, 7 knockouts), who is originally from Stepnoe, Russia, and now lives and trains in Detroit, Michigan, most recently fought in a stay-busy bout on August 20, battering Mexico’s Oscar Riojas before stopping him in Round 9.
The 29-year-old will make his third appearance on the “ShoBox” series; in August 2019, Shishkin made his debut on the popular series against DeAndre Ware, stopping him in Round 8. Almost five months later, Shishkin dominated Ulises Sierra over 10 one-sided rounds to win by decision.
Shishkin hopes to become the latest fighter to appear on the series to springboard into contender status and land on higher-profile platforms. He understands the importance that an impressive victory would mean to his career.
“Of course this is a big responsibility and obviously Showtime gives me a big motivation,” Shishkin told The Ring, late Monday night, through promoter/interpreter Dmitriy Salita. “It is a huge network but my motivation also depends a lot of my opponent and my training camp.”
Known for always being in the gym, even when he doesn’t have a fight lined up, Shishkin will square off against Agbeko, who is originally from Ghana and now resides in Nashville, Tennessee. Agbeko (23-1, 18 KOs) has won his last eight bouts since losing to Raymond Gatica in February 2014.
Of Agbeko’s victories, four have come against fighters with a winning record. Shishkin may have faced the better opposition on paper, including former world title challenger Nadjib Mohammedi, but he is not taking Agbeko lightly.
“My opponent this time is interesting,” said Shishkin, who is managed by Niko Tsigaras. “I’ve never boxed anyone with this style. I hope he will give me a good fight and we can put on a great performance for the audience.”
Shishkin used to be trained by SugarHill Steward, the nephew of the late Emanuel Steward. He is now working with local trainer LJ Harrison.
An impressive victory will likely open more opportunities in a deep 168-pound division. Shishkin is open to facing any unbeaten fighter, prospect or contender. Just do not label him with either of those designations.
“I don’t worry about that,” said Shishkin. “I always pay more attention to myself and only concentrate on myself.”
Like most super middleweights, Shishkin is eager to get a shot against Alvarez. Landing a fight against The Ring Magazine champion and holder of a handful of belts at 168 pounds would be like hitting the lottery and making it to the Super Bowl all at once.
A significant victory over Agbeko would solidify his current standing in the super middleweight division more than receiving a shot at Alvarez. Shishkin does envision himself facing Alvarez in the next couple of years, as long as he continues winning and improving with each fight.
Not only is he confident of a win over Alvarez but Shishkin believes he is the future of the division.
“I want to leave a mark on my career. I am planning on becoming the champion of the world. I have visualized my path and i see myself winning multiple world titles. At this time, Canelo Alvarez is a big name. Of course I want to fight him.”
Opening the ShoBox telecast will be an eight-round bout between lightweights Alejandro Guerrero and Abraham Montoya.
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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 (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @FSalazarBoxing.