The Russian boxing scene has really emerged over the last year or two and the driving force behind that seems to have been the "Night Wolves" biker gang which appears to be financially backing much of the growth in almost a show of Russian dominance.
At the boxing forefront to the "Night Wolves" is the hard hitting Dmitry Chudinov (13-0-2, 8) who actually took his nickname, "Night Wolf", from the bikers. The backing Chudinov has been given has helped him to claim the WBA interim Middleweight title and helped him become one of the most well backed fighters in Russian history, not just financially but in terms of supporters.
The crowd numbers of Chudinov's fight last year against Jorge Navarro were apparently a record setting 200,000 and although not all came for the boxing, and the event was free, it shows the status that Chudinov has amongst the biker gang who helped organised the show alongside Alexander Hrunov.
Almost a year on from his bout with Navarro we see Chudinov return to action in a Open-Air Bike Show, this time in the hotly disputed area of Crimea. The crowd is likely to be similar to what it was 12 months ago though this time the move is very political with both Russia and Ukraine claiming the area.
For Chudinov, who looks to be a political pawn here, he has been matched easily with a contest against light hitting Frenchman Mehdi Bouadla (30-5, 11). Unsurprisingly Bouadla, who really shouldn't be ranked, is ranked #12 by the WBA and has been passed fit as a challenger to Chudinov's interim title as the WBA appear set to bend over backwards for the occasional political battle, as they did when they allowed Ruslan Chagaev to fight for the WBA Heavyweight title recently.
Bouadla, for those who recognise his name, has fought some solid fighters, such as Gennady Golovkin back in 2007, Mikkel Kessler in 2011 and Arthur Abraham in 2012. Though he has yet to beat someone with any name value just showing what a "patsy" he is going in to this bout.
We understand the belief the Russian's have in Chudinov and, 12 months ago, they were calling out Martin Murray and Sam Soliman. Why they've managed to Bouadla for this fight is a mystery, though one would assume he didn't want a lot of money and the WBA could have their pockets lined for allowing him to take the fight.
It's a shame that the politics of this bout will over-shadow Chudinov who has looked like a fast improving fighter, as shown in his excellent performance against Patrick Nielsen back in June. If that Chudinov turns up he stops Bouadla here, in fact if that Chudinov turns up he gives 90% of the Middleweight scene a beating with his aggression.
We hope this bout doesn't come with any nasty scenes after it though we do have our worries that problems will kick off. If they don't then hopefully Chudinov will take a big step up in class next time out.
(Image courtesy of http://boxko.ru)
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