Coming up August 15th, on ESPN II FNF, Russian born welterweight contender Rustam Nugaev 27-6-1 (17 KO’s) will go toe to toe against the once beaten Denis Shafikov 33-1-1 (18 KO’S) in a twelve round IBF title eliminator. Nugaev, who is coming into this fight with six consecutive victories, is raring and ready to take on and take out his foe. In this exclusive interview, Rustam speaks out on his upcoming bout, his thoughts on the match-up and more, enjoy.
Benny Henderson Jr.:
Rustam, you have the fight coming up against Shafikov. Give the readers your thoughts on that matchup.
It’s going to be a very tough fight for both of us. He’s a southpaw with an aggressive style. I like to put a lot of pressure as does he so we’ll see who has the better power. He’s going to try to impose his style on me but I’ll be ready. I have no doubt in my mind that I’m going to come out on top. I’ve been training hard and camp has been great.
This is also an eliminator for a shot at the IBF title. Does that add more pressure or gives you more drive?
Not at all. I’ve been working toward this opportunity for a long time. I know what I have to do. I’m going to go out there and execute the game plan that my trainer Rudy Hernandez has come formulated. I’m certainly motivated to take my career to the next level.
You're fighting a very tough opponent. Give us your thoughts on you two and how you both match up against one another?
Rustam Nugaev: This is going to be a fight the fans won’t want to miss, because he comes forward and so do I. It’s going to be a war. I’m ready to take him out.
Lets talk about training camp. How's your preparation been for this bout?
Rustam Nugaev: Training camp has been extremely difficult. My trainer Rudy Hernandez is pushing me to new heights every day. We both know how important it is to win this fight. I’ve been sparring with really good fighters, which is making me better. I’m ready to go.
What do you feel are your greatest strengths as a fighter?
Rustam Nugaev: I feel my power is the greatest attribute that I posses. I can also take a punch. I’m always looking to knockout my opponent.
What can the ringside fans as well as the many viewing on ESPN except from you come fight night?
Like I said earlier, I’m coming to take out Shafikov and score another knockout. Everyone should be tuning in to ESPN to see a great fight with two warriors giving it their all.
Anything in closing?
Rustam Nugaev: I want to thank my promoter Gary Shaw for getting me into this position. He’s a man of his word and he told me if I keep winning he’ll get me a title shot. Now I’m one fight away so I’m very grateful to him for keeping his word. I want to thank all my fans who’ve supported me through this journey. Thank you Benny.