AT the same time Azinga Fuzile is accusing Shavkat Rakhimov of being a cheat, Shavkat Rakhimov is accusing Azinga Fuzile of being a sore loser.
The plot, already muddled, has thickened this week.
It started, of course, when Fuzile’s team accused Rakhimov’s assistant trainer, Ruslan Agishev, of using smelling salts on his fighter’s nostrils between rounds seven and eight of the pair’s fight at East London’s Orient Theatre on Sunday. (In the next round, Rakhimov, 15-0 (12), seemingly rejuvenated, stopped Fuzile, 14-1 (8), to land a shot at IBF super-featherweight champion Tevin Farmer.)
That was bad enough. But now an already messy situation is about to get messier following the revelation that a collection of drugs and medical equipment labelled in Russian has been found abandoned in Rakhimov’s East London hotel room.
According to Sowetan Live, bottles of drugs, some half used, others full and sealed, syringes, intravenous drips, bags and tubing were discovered by Nomfesane Nyathela of Rumble Africa Promotions on Tuesday. She made the discovery after dropping off Rakhimov at the airport and returning to the fighter’s now-vacated room at the Premier Hotel East London ICC. The drugs and equipment, she said, were on the table and one of the bottles was labelled “Neoton” with the subheading “phosphocreatine”.
Nyathela said all the bottles and equipment were being sent to Boxing South Africa (BSA) for tests before further action can be taken.
When asked about Neoton, BSA chief executive Tsholofelo Lejaka said: “It is difficult to say without seeing the container and listed ingredients.
“Many of the supplements have names that are not related to their ingredients.
“For instance, creatine is a substance which is not banned, but it is often mixed with other substances, which may be banned, in order to achieve the desired effect.”
The Russians denied using banned substances during the fight but have admitted that the medical stash in the hotel room was theirs. Rakhimov’s manager, Aleksey Titov, told DispatchLIVE the liquid-filled bottles belonged to him and were there in East London to help him recover from the flu in preparation for a marathon in Russia.
“Yes, those things were used by me because I could not bring a nurse with me to South Africa,” he said.
Titov also said the substance being waved under Rakhimov’s nose on fight night was “an adrenalin used to stop nose bleeding”. He insisted it was allowed and therefore didn’t understand what all the “excitement” was about.
Asked if the IBF had informed them of the protest Titov said: “No, it is the first time we are hearing about this from you. Fuzile must stop being a sore loser. We beat him fair and square.”
Safe to say this fight may have been stopped in round eight but it is far from being over.
WBO super-middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders says he would be happy to fight Gennady Golovkin at either middleweight and super-middleweight and claims he would do a more comprehensive job on the Kazakh superstar than the one Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez managed in 2018.
Golovkin, who has lost just once in 41 fights, meets Sergey Derevyanchenko on Saturday (October 5) in New York and knows victory will deliver him the IBF middleweight title he used to own. That’s a fight Saunders expects to be gruelling and short, one that could take years off the 37-year-old former champion.
“It’s a fight that, you could say, will not be skilful. It will be a scrap,” Saunders told Sky Sports. “This fight is not about standing back technically – ping ping ping. This will be crash, bang, wallop. It will be over quickly. Whoever the winner, it will be a war.
“This is a fight for Golovkin which will take the edge off him. It will put a bit more age on him.”
That’s good news for Saunders, 28-0 (13), and anyone else looking to capitalise on Golovkin’s age and rich fighting history in the coming months. Whether at middleweight or super-middleweight, Saunders has long believed he has the Kazakh’s number.
“I’d fight Golovkin at whatever weight he wants,” said Saunders. “I could show people how easily I could beat him and out-box him. I could do a better job than Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez.”
Cynics would say any type of win over Golovkin, 39-1-1 (35), would trump the controversial decision Alvarez achieved last September, but that’s by the by.