World Championships and Olympic bronze medallist from Russia Imam Khataev is to face World Champion, 2-time Olympic champion Arlen Lopez Cardona in a 5-round pro-style fight at the IBA Champions’ Night on 15 July in Phuket, Thailand. Both boxers have professional experience, and this fight will become a rematch after Khataev defeated the Cuban at the beginning of the year in the finals of the WBT Golden Belt Series in Morocco.
‘I feel well and am ready to go through all 5 rounds, but if I can win before that, it would be even better. I am looking forward to fighting in professional gloves, which are more appealing to me,’ Khataev said.
He was preparing for the fight with his coach Anton Kadushin and had sparring in several gyms with strong opponents to be in shape for the IBA Champions’ Night.
Speaking about his strategy, the boxer mentioned, ‘I am not going to play with him and adjust to Arlen’s style, I will put a lot of pressure on him and punch hard. I do not know what to expect from my rival tomorrow, as he is a very experienced boxer and can be unpredictable. That said, I am prepared for all possible scenarios in this fight.’
‘This is great when the best can face each other in the ring as it happens in boxing. I wish the champions of our sport were more well-known worldwide as they deserve it,’ Khataev added.
He sees his future in professional boxing following many years at the IBA tournaments.
‘I have given 15 years to the sport, and it’s high time I switched to professional boxing,’ Khataev mentioned. ‘I want to win champions’ belts and it’s the best age. I am very proud of my achievements in boxing.’
‘In boxing, I was forged completely as I went through many issues and overcame them. I had nearly 300 bouts during my career, and I believe many things from boxing would help me in my professional career. I have my goals and know further steps, I will reveal them as soon as the time comes,’ Khataev concluded.