Russian kickboxer looks to avenge friend’s injury
Despite there being no belts on the line, there is still plenty at stake in the bout between Russian kickboxing prospect Vladimir Mineev and his French rival David Radeff, known as “The Machine”.
Mineev is very serious about becoming aiming Russia's next Tiger on the canvas. The 22-year-old heavyweight kickboxer has already collected all the major titles in his homeland, along with capturing a selection of European and World Championship belts.
In March 2011, at the Fight Nights showdown in Moscow, Mineev knocked out Abdeslam Narjiss. But it was just a warm-up clash, as the top-of-the-bill event featured fearsome Russian star Batu Khasikov and K-1 legend, Albert Kraus.
A year on, Mineev is set to play the lead as he will take to the ring for the main event of Fight Nights 6.
On Thursday, the man from the banks of the Volga River will face a force from France – David "the Machine" Radeff.
“I would say there are just a few fighters from all over the world in this weight class, who have what it takes to go up against Mineev,” promoter Kamil Gadzhiev said. “David Radeff is one of them. And that's what makes the fight so intriguing.”
Both fighters could have brought a lot to the table. Radeff won the WBKF world crown in 2010, while Mineev wrapped the WAKO-pro championship belt around his waist in 2009.
But Moscow will not see a title bout, just a good old fashioned scrap with a few scores to settle.
Especially, after Radeff kicked Mineev's good friend Evgeny Ganin after the bell, handing the Russian a serious knee injury back in October 2010. “You need to always be in control,” Mineev told RT. “Emotions can help, but you should keep them in check and make them work positively for you.”
There is plenty of build-up for the grudge match, though. Ahead of the fight, Radeff remains as cool as a proverbial cucumber.
“I fight 90 per cent of my fights abroad,” he said. “I had some great fights in France, but not so often. I can say, and I think it's simple to understand, that pressure is on him. You know what I mean – he's a champ, he comes from Russia, all the Russian people will expect a great fight from him. So… sorry.”
“Sometimes you think the guy is really, really tough, and he's not so tough. Sometimes you expect the guy to be just average, and it’s just ‘wow!’ It depends,” he added.
Meanwhile, Mineev has an ace in his pack – Batu Khasikov – the man, who made headlines last year defeating two K-1 giants Albert Kraus and Mike Zambidis.
“Of course, Batu helps me a lot," Mineev stressed. “We are team mates. You want to know the advice he's sharing with me? I'm not telling you! That's confidential.”
Only Thursday’s action will now tell whether Khasikov’s guidance worked or not.