After another flawless start to the season with three victories in as many matches against top-class opposition, Ukrainian winning-machine Sergiy Derevyanchenko, who now boasts an impeccable 16-0 World Series of Boxing (WSB) record, knows that although he has been in fine form this campaign, he faces the biggest test to his top dog status with a host of talented fighters all gunning to take his place.
Sergiy Derevyanchenko, the highly accomplished Middleweight (68-73kg) powerhouse, mixes terrific hand speed with sublime technique and after dominating the division these last two seasons, many expect that this campaign with see his reign come to an end. The two-time WSB World Champion and Team Champion with Dolce & Gabbana Italia Thunder, who made the switch to Astana Arlans Kazakhstan over the summer, is however bullish about his chances and he will have a big role to play for his new employers as his team prepare for the knockout phase after being guaranteed top spot in Group B.
The 27 year-old, 174cm, 5ft8½in, orthodox Ukrainian notably defeated compatriot Dmytro Mytrofanov of Ukraine Otamans in week one is an absolute epic before taking down experience French southpaw Michel Tavres and German Eagles’ Xhek Paskali in weeks four and five respectively. He now currently stands third in the individual ranking. We were keen to know more about his views as well as his predictions for this season.
You are now 16-0 in WSB and have one of the most impressive records in the competition, how do you feel about this?
This record pleases me. It gives me extra motivation and makes me understand that hard work gives you results. I never think about it before a fight but I enjoy the extra pressure. In WSB, the team comes first so for me the most important thing is for us to win as a group. However it would be a lie to say that this record does not matter to me. It is one of the hardest competitions to stay undefeated in so I push myself to my very limits in training to preserve that perfect record. I hate to lose. I have a good team and excellent coaches around me and along with my family; they give me strength to go out and perform every time.
What keeps you motivated, you seem to always box at such a high level?
My family is the most important in my life but I would not have had the family I have today without the sport of boxing. I am who I am today because of this sport. So to provide for my family, I have to be the best I can be. I firmly believe that you always have to give the best of yourself at whatever it is you do.
This is your third year in WSB, how do you feel about this season?
This season is harder that the one before, without doubt. The league is finally attracting some big names and some big performers. It is a quality competition which is developing fast. The boxers currently at Middleweight are extremely good, the best I have ever seen. I have been impressed by Mytrofanov and Ivan Golub of the Ukraine Otamans, Fred Evans of British Lionhearts, Vincenzo Mangiacapre of my old team Italia as well as all Thomasz Jablonski of Hussars Poland and several of the Azerbaijan Baku Fires guys. There are some very good boxers out there, it will only get harder.
How do you feel with your new team in Kazakhstan?
The team is excellent, the whole set-up is sensational. We are primed to go all the way this season. The focus has all been about winning. It will not be easy with some many good teams in the competition but we are ready for anyone. Living in Kazakhstan is a big change from Italy for sure with the weather conditions being very severe. It took time to adapt but the team has helped me a lot and I now feel very comfortable in these surroundings and feel almost at home.
After seven wins from eight matches saw you guarantee top spot in Group B, what is the atmosphere now like within the team as you prepare for the knockout phases?
As I said before, after losing in successive seasons in the semi-finals, the team badly wants to win the WSB Team Trophy at the finals in May. There is a great togetherness within the group, we live and breathe boxing as a team. Our aim is to win every match and become Champions. The people of Kazakhstan have embraced WSB and we aim to repay their support by winning the competition.
Tell us about the training with the Arlans?
We have two intensive sessions a day and then we have one-on-ones with the coaches as we tailor specific schedules for each boxer dependent on whenever they have to fight or not. We have some top coaches and some excellent nutritionists, every detail is checked, our rest periods are monitored, it is ultra professional. You could not dream of this kind of set-up if you were not boxing in a team. I am loving this experience
How do you see your future boxing career? Are you considering joining the APB (AIBA Professional Boxing) ranks?
At the moment my focus is only on winning the WSB Team Trophy with Astana Arlans Kazakhstan in May. I feel that I am still learning and developing and that I am far from the finished product. I am loving life in WSB but I am open to other offers. If APB approaches with me then I will consider it. However as I said before, I have not given it much thought, all I want now is to be able to repay the faith shown to me by my employers.
Astana Arlans Kazakhstan have two fixtures of the regular season still to go with a visit to the Mediolanum Forum to face reigning Champions Dolce & Gabbana Italia Thunder on Saturday 23 February before a home tie versus German Eagles six days later. Then it will be the quarter-finals, when they will battle the fourth team place in Group A, away the weekend of the 22-23 March before the return leg at home a week later.
Relive the sensational Derevyanchenko vs. Mytrafanov