'I want to feel his power!' Russian KO king Davtaev tells RT Sport he'll ‘most likely’ be Tyson Fury’s sparring partner for Wilder
“In Chechnya, we have only one rule: get in the ring and fight,” the bearded, unbeaten heavyweight Apti Davtaev says. The 31-year-old is considered an extremely dangerous, but still up-and-coming, fighter, and for good reason.
The six-foot-five orthodox fighter has recorded an impressive 19 knockouts from his 21 paid outings since turning professional in 2013, with a solitary draw the only blemish on his currently perfect record.
Davtaev trains under Javan ‘SugarHill’ Steward, the current coach of Fury and the nephew of the late Kronk Gym icon Emmanuel Steward. SugarHill will prepare ‘The Gypsy King’ for the third installment of his thrilling rivalry with American Wilder.
Given the fact that the two both train under the tutelage of Steward when stateside, it has been mooted that the Russian will be chosen to replicate the concussive punching power of Wilder in his role as Fury’s main sparring partner.
“Most likely yes, it’s definite. Right now I can’t say anything officially, but most likely it’s definite,” Davatev says when quizzed about the rumors over his role in Fury-Wilder III preparations, admitting that he is looking forward to learning under the unbeaten champion.
“I expect [Fury] to move around a lot. I want to feel his power but I also want to learn. The main thing for me is to learn. I want to test myself. Without question Tyson Fury is the best heavyweight in the world. Wilder doesn’t have a chance in the rematch.”
Devout Muslim Davtaev has acquired the lightly-regarded WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental and WBA Asia heavyweight titles so far in his career, and has fought four times in the US, including three times on the undercard of women’s world champion Claressa Shields.
His beginnings in the sport date back to a childhood in the mountains of Chechnya, and he one day dreams of returning to the States to box for a world title, completing a journey from rural Russia to the bright lights of boxing’s Mecca.
“I’ve been interested in sport since I was a kid. In our republic, everyone is and it’s not surprising that I chose the career of a professional athlete. I started training 19-20 years ago, right now I’m training at home,” Davtaev says.
“I’ve had four fights in the States, it was good, I liked it there. I can learn out there, there’s a lot of sparring partners. They have good conditions for training over there.”
Davtaev admits he is looking to emulate the career of fellow Chechnyan fighter Artur Beterbiev, himself a knockout specialist, in becoming a world champion. Although they share heritage and heavy hands, Davtaev says their fighting capabilities are down to another similarity – the Chechen mentality.
“In Chechnya we have one rule - you get in the ring and you fight. I think it’s down to our mentality, we are taught character from early childhood and we don’t surrender to anyone,” Davtaev explains, going on to admit that despite the high KO ratio, he never aims to end a fight early.
“I don’t plan on knocking out anyone. My goal is to win, the knockout isn’t the main thing. The same as if I try to imitate anyone in the ring, it will always end badly.”
Australian former WBA champion Lucas Browne was slated as Davtaev’s opponent earlier this year before the Covid-19 outbreak, but the Russian says that the fight will most likely be rescheduled for the end of the year.
“I’m ready to fight anyone, it’s important to get closer to the title. In this fight, we will see a difference in experience and my style. Brown is a great boxer, a victory over him will get me closer to a title,” Davtaev says.
Browne, who knocked out Ruslan Chagaev to become champion in 2016, would provide the first real test in his career. Davtaev is aiming big and doesn’t rule out fighting again in America but this time for a title, and possibly against the man he will likely prepare for his own title fight in the near future.
“I don’t care where I fight. I’ll go anywhere, here, in the States, I don’t care. Wherever they give me a fight I will go. Against Fury? I don’t care. Maybe at the moment it’s a little early to talk about Fury,” Davtaev says with a wry smile.