By Jake Collins (@MelancholyFolly)
If you know much about the boxing amateur scene on an international level, then you’ll know who Matvey Korobov is. An outstanding amateur, Korobov hasn’t quite had the same success in the pro ranks as of yet but he’s looking to change that in 2018. He cites wins over now big named fighters as his greatest achievement “So in the amateurs I beat all the big names: Jacobs, Kovalev, Derevyanchenko. Anytime you beat guys of that calibre it’s tough and a big accomplishment.”. Indeed, on top of that Korobov also owns a very impressive win over current Cruiserweight champion Usyk. He left those ranks with a record of 311-11.
After dispatching Jose Uzcatequi in 2014 (a win that has looked better with age), Korobov was awarded the chance to fight against Andy Lee for the vacant WBO World Title. It wasn’t a barnstormer of a fight but Korobov’s sharp southpaw jab was doing enough to win the fight on the cards. Then in the 6th round, Andy Lee does what Andy Lee does best. He caught the Russian with a wonderfully timed right hook that he just couldn’t recover from. A loss isn’t always a bad thing and a good fighter can rebuild from that if this is treated as a lesson, which is exactly what Korobov is doing ” Of course I learned many things. I got cocky and strayed from my game plan and he capitalise on that. If I could go back I would have took a knee and rested a bit to stay in the fight”. To his credit, he finished on his feet and he feels that he could have perhaps continued. All the same, he respects Lee’s power “But I am not taking anything away from Andy’s power. He has a hell of a hook!”
Korobov has picked up 3 wins since then, the most recent one toward the end of 2016. He is however eager to return to the scene ASAP and has been intensely training for that very moment. He is also open to fighting at either Middleweight or Super Middleweight but does he have a preference? “Both, I am willing to fight any of the top fighters in both weight classes”. To his credit, he has been very active on social media in trying to call out the top guys there. But if he could have any fighter in 2018? “Jacobs I won by TKO in the amateurs and I think it’s more of the same in the pros. Close seconds would be Lemieux, Saunders, Ramirez and after I beat any one of those guys I would be in prime position to take out GGG”. It has to be said, they’re all very interesting fights.
Such is his willingness to fight, Korobov applied for the 168 WBSS. Even the least observant would have of course noticed the absence of his name. Did they accept his application? “No they didn’t. I am an the 1st alternate but I don’t think I will get a chance to fight” and I agree, I don’t think he will get his chance in this brilliant tournament. The two divisions have really opened up recently and they have a much more marketable appeal than in recent times. With this in mind and some names already established in both divisions, it may be tough for Korobov to force himself into the bigger fights. He’s a dangerous opponent without the alluring world title to his name.
Of course, fighting at the same weight and actually having fought against GGG in the amateurs, I thought it would be rude not to catch Korobov’s thoughts on the fight “First fight was good, I thought GGG won. Both fighters are great and I respect them. Too close to call the 2nd one”. We will be sure to update you on Korobov’s next fight.by