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Can Ignashov make a comeback?

Tale of a sleeping giant
Written by BOA   Rogue Magazine
Sunday, 06 July 2008

Alexei Ignashov and whether he can ever be back?


He's a human kicking (and punching) machine. Taught to stalk. Trained to win, programmed to destroy. He played by "their" rules-until now. That was an adaptation we took from Dolph Lundgreen's Red Scorpion movie trailer into Alexei Ignashov's present situation. He is a sleeping giant at the moment, which needs to wake up and fight the good fight.

Training at Balmoral Lee Gar, leading a humble life away from the liquid dangers of Belarus in quiet Auckland town, Alexei as always is positive. "I am ready to fight and want to fight". Ignashov who was contracted by KO World Series (which is no more) was looking good for a clean run top of this year. Sadly even before things could get to second gear, it all fell apart, leaving Alexei in a spot of bother.

With the exit of KO World Series, who had Ignashov as their marquee fighter-so much so, he was their logo. Lining up super fight after super fight on every event of the KO calendar, it was more a case of being sure that he would win Auckland and advance to the finals. That didn't happen as Gregory Tony upstaged his party and took the win to book a place on a final which will not happen now. That was how KO WS script went for him and how it stands at present.

Alexei is now under trainer Lollo Heimuli, who also trains New Zealand's most prodigious and house hold name in pro boxing, Shane Cameron: clearly needs to get some ring time. That being said not just any ring time but serious competition which can actually test him in bigger leagues. Fighting no names and "tough" sorts who are hand picked will do him no favours. His last fight against a Korean opponent who kept coming forward was heartening but "coming forward" and getting hit, being able to handle the punishment is a far cry from skilled, crafty ring technicians. Those are the fighters he needs to be fighting but obviously there are difficulties for him to get a fight.

On Christmas eve in 2007 he was scheduled to fight Jason Reti, a promising youngster from Auckland but in reality such opponents for Alexei aren't good enough. In any which way the fight didn't happen and I am not going to reiterate something which we have documented at length. 

This was and now is, largely thanks to the well publicised and highly acrimonious departure from his ex-manager Igor Jushko. It is alleged that Jushko misrepresented his contract with Ignashov and was getting a raw deal. That prompted the fighter to sign up with Serge Sonkin after some turbulent to and fro, a New Zealand based businessman and finally now, a free agent. But we all know that freedom is never free: it always comes at a price. Ignashov cutting ties with Jushko and K1 effectively meant he was guaranteed zero fights with FEG (Fight Entertainment Group). So Dixon McIver and KO WS signed him up for good and sadly the whole series has come to nothing. To add insult to injury, Ignashov was well beaten by Frenchman Gregory Tony in his comeback, when they fought on KO WS Auckland event in February.

Some critics argue that Ignashov should go back to Jushko and find some fights on K1 circuit. That might sound easier said than done, especially after what transpired in public, where plenty of dirty linen was washed online and on print media. Even if he did go back to K1 via Jushko, has he got the same form to battle a new generation of fighters who seem to be getting better by the day. Take Badir Hari for example that has demolished every plausible opponent and now looks to be the one true hopeful who can dethrone Semmy Schilt. So what makes anyone think Ignashov, who hasn't had one decent fight in a long time be able to cut it in the big league?

The answer, which is thinning in justification by the day, is class and experience. Like I said though, it is thinning rather fast.

So what does Ignashov have to do in order to get back in business? For starters he needs to fight and fight regularly. Problem with New Zealand is that the quality and quantity of heavy weights are a bare minimum. To add to that not everyone wants to fight each other because the purses on offer don't match their demands. Ignashov is a big name and quite frankly if it's the money, New Zealand is the wrong place to fight. He will never draw what he wants, unless someone is very charitable. Therefore his next best option is overseas in the closer regions. Japan is not that far away, be it on lesser shows than K1 is a positive start. Of course there is Australia and that's only a skip across the Tasman Sea. Avoiding hand picked, sacrificial "lambs" is a must. He has to; he needs to fight credible contenders to get back the reputation of the "Red Scorpion". The risk however is his record and on any given day, Ignashov is beatable if the wrong sort of Alexei turns up.

Take Yodseanklai Fairtex for example. He opens doors for himself and let's his fighting do the talking. Yod made an appearance on Auckland's KO WS show and demolished his opponents with frightening ease. Does appearing on KO WS mean that K1 will ostracise him? I don't think so. It would be phenomenally stupid to deny such a talented and lovable "darling" of spectators because of an appearance on a black sheep's promotion. Ignashov needs to understand that his fighting needs to speak the loudest. That talk has to happen now and not a moment later.

In Lollo Heimuli he has the best possible trainer, mentor and friend. Things between the two are like father and son. Also with Lollo's professional experience and astute planning, he is most definitely in the right hands. Ignashov who was well known for being a party man has reformed under Heimuli and his regime-so any doubts over the camp he is with is rubbish. If the right door opens for both these men, the results will be instant. Lollo is exceptional at motivating and putting together plans, when executed they give the right results. Take Shane Cameron's last fight for example. It was the near perfect fight for a guy who can be a very entertaining pro boxer and world champion (yes another one, under Heimuli). Alexei must learn from that and take it to heart, not that we have to remind him but these times are such that it is easy to over look basics. If any doors are to open, Ignashov when he fights, ahs to come up with a special performance so everyone takes note.

Maybe Planet Battle or Evolution in Australia is a focal point. Fighting another Jason Reti or a Charlie Smiler in New Zealand is futile. Maybe Andrew Peck or someone in Europe?. He is scheduled to make an appearance in Holland, October on the KO Events super card (no connection to KO WS)-- also a fight towards early December is palnned with NZ strong man and giant 6"10 Reuben De Jong. However, between now and then lots could happen. Just like the much hyped Ignashov V Tomas Horan fight which never happened in Macau.

There are no immediate fights lined up at the moment, we do not see this change unless something pops up out of the blue. The man who was once dubbed "the next best thing" in kick boxing is finding hard to get fights. If everything happened the way it is supposed to, fights for him would come easily. There is more to it than what meets the eye. Present political situation in K1 and foreign fight policy which is dictated by the right "senators" on the "oligarchy" of influential managerial networks are responsible for this-allegedly. We hope that "democracy" prevails and someone like general Maximus can free "Rome" of its corruption, just like in the movie "Gladiator". That however is a movie and Alexei is dealing with real life drama, a glass ceiling which can be shattered if the right moves are played.

Let's not forget one thing, after all it is Ignashov who quite devastatingly KO'd Semmy Schilt back in 2004. It was nasty and clinical so to speak. That was four years ago and quite a bit has happened between then and now. It's difficult and if not improbable; what worked may not work now, especially in an openly professional era with a hybrid generation of fighters. Some use technology, better training methods and the odd idiot who does steroids (only to get busted but allowed to fight!). Things for guys like Iggy are that much harder-making a successful comeback will therefore be that sweeter.

Time however is running out, something has to give. It would be magical to see the Red-scorpion of the old and not a fighter who will have to end a career losing, picking up pieces of what could have been.


Post new comment
waldo (68 posts)
Posted: 2008-07-07 at: 01:52
he's past his best.
Pablo (795 posts)
Posted: 2008-07-08 at: 10:02
little chance of a succeeding comeback
Daniel, Sweden reporter (2501 posts)
Posted: 2008-07-08 at: 11:06
From what i have heard Ignashov Isent planing any comeback, and i think that his preformence at the KOWS half a year ago proved that he hasen`t got any ambitions to once again become a top fighter. This is in my eyes verry sad since i always loved watching Ignashov`s fights, there has always been some what of an magic auroa around him and his fighting technic is beautiful.
Pablo (795 posts)
Posted: 2008-07-08 at: 04:11
so this allure about his fightstyle (which was, as I recall it, a really personal one) will be confined to the corner of memories
Sidekick (492 posts)
Posted: 2008-07-09 at: 07:25
Unfotunately, my friends, I guess you are right that Ignashov will have little chance of coming back to the top. As much as I would love to see Alexei sparkle in the ring again, smashing his opponents with explosive kicks and destructive knee strikes....if he lost the hunger to fight...Well we all know what that means....
D-rop, Video editor (2420 posts)
Posted: 2008-07-09 at: 10:52
Well, now he´s on the fightcard of the ´Tough is not enough´-event, against Bregy.
Let´s keep our fingers crossed that he can put on a good performance ... I´m still hoping to see the ´old´ Ignashov again.
Pablo (795 posts)
Posted: 2008-07-09 at: 12:05
some people would think Bregy isn't too great a challenge, what do u think, pals?
D-rop, Video editor (2420 posts)
Posted: 2008-07-09 at: 12:40
Well Pablo, I´m not too fond of Bregy either, but Ignashov has to start somewhere.
I say: first fight Bregy, 1R KO
next fight against Slowinski, 2R TKO
then take on LeBanner, DEC
in 2009 in the WGP Final against Schilt, 2R KO

Daniel, Sweden reporter (2501 posts)
Posted: 2008-07-09 at: 08:30
Lol i would love to see that D-rop =),,

Anyway great too see that he actually is planning to fight again!
If Ignashov comes on good shape, both physical and mental i belive he will crush Bregy, but i sadly i rather doubt it.
But i will keep my fingers crossed for Iggy..
Sidekick (492 posts)
Posted: 2008-07-10 at: 06:30
I really hope that Iggy willl comeback in a good way too!
I am not fond of Bregy too (although I do respect every fighter).
I just don't think Bregy has it in him to fight in this league.
Against Bregy I think Iggy will either win by KO of a knee strike, or by TKO of lowkicks. Against Pavel Slowinsky, I believe that, IF he wins, he will win by a knee strike. (but I don't know, since Pavel is doing also great lately). And against LeBanner, I think it shall be a knee strike again.
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