Samir Ziani returns against Serif Gurdijeljac, desperate to make US debut
Aggressive pressure-fighter Samir Ziani will meet Serbia’s Serif Gurdijeljac at the Complexe Sportif in Villeneuve-sur-Lot, France on Saturday.
The 31-year-old Frenchman is looking to get back on track after a frustrating 2021 that seen him forced to vacate his cherished European lightweight title.
“I prepared for over one year to defend the EBU title only to have my fight with John Carter cancelled three times for various reasons,” Ziani (32-3-1, 7 knockouts) told The Ring.
“I was very disappointed when I had to pull out of my fight with Faroukh Kourbanov due to injury.”
The experienced southpaw is now primed to put those disappointments behind him when he faces Gurdijeljac
“Serif Gurdijeljac is a very solid fighter and I will have to be at my best to beat him,” Ziani said. “Ultimately, I want to fight for the world crown in the United States. The boxing fans there will love my all-action style.”
This marks Ziani’s first fight since his thrill-a-minute war with Alex Dilmaghani in September 2020. Ziani, down on two of the three scorecards, piled on the pressure in the later stages to produce a stirring 12th-round stoppage victory in the final 10 seconds of the bout.
“It was a big fight that made me grow,” Ziani explained. “I didn’t give up and I wanted to end him. I was determined to win.
“I liked boxing in England, it’s a great boxing country. I passed a level with Alex Dilmaghani.”
Away from boxing, Ziani keeps himself busy with several social projects and is devoted to helping the less privileged in his region.
“I am an elected representative of the territory and I work for the youth who are in difficulty,” he explained. “I make them want to follow their dream. It is my social struggle that I have been practicing for eight years. And I help associations with my champion’s image.
“I am also with my big sponsor Phillipe Ginestet, the founder of the GiFi store brand (French discount chain). There are 600 GiFi discount stores in France. I am on a project to make a beautiful gym and privatize boxing for people who want to let off steam and do good things.
“Being a boxer is also like being a business owner; an entrepreneur; doing business and managing your business. Boxing is the strategy in the ring but also outside the ring; strategy to manage affairs – my fight for life.”
His fighter profile would also be further enhanced if he could step up to world level and enjoy more success.
“For now, what I know is that I want to win against Gurdijeljac,” Ziani said. “My team and I are expecting a world title fight in 2022.”
Ziani’s manager, Gary Hyde, also has aspirations of moving his fighter on to the world scene.
“Samir Ziani is an amazing fighter with a granite chin and an explosive action-packed style,” said Hyde. “We are just waiting for an opportunity for Samir in the United States, which will put his name right in the 130-pound mix with the likes of [WBC titlist] Oscar Valdez and [WBO beltholder] Shakur Stevenson.”
Gurdijeljac (21-5, 8 KOs) turned professional in 2013. He beat a past-his-prime former WBA flyweight titleholder in Lorenzo Parra (UD 6), however, his form has been patchy of late. He lost to Bruno Tarimo (SD 12) in 2019 but has rebounded with a win over a journeyman.
Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected] and you can follow him on Twitter @AnsonWainwright
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