'I'll face Barthelemy-Relikh winner for WBA title’ – Former world champion Troyanovsky

Former IBF light welterweight champion Eduard Troyanovsky has confirmed to RT Sport he is expecting to fight the winner of the WBA title fight between Rances Barthelemy and Kiryl Relikh.

The WBA strap is currently vacant since undisputed champion Terence Crawford’s move to welterweight, leaving the door open for Barthelemy and Relikh, rated number one and two by the organisation respectively, to contest the belt. That fight will be a rematch of their May 20 fight, which Barthelemy won by unanimous decision.

Troyanovsky, ranked behind the duo in number 3 spot, will be mandatory challenger to the winner of that fight.

One year on from his stunning first-round KO loss to Namibian outsider Julius Indongo, Troyanovsky is finally positioned to challenge for major honours. That seemed like a long way away just 12 months ago.

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© Marcel Thomas / Global Look Press

In December 2016, Troyanovsky was champion. His target, Scottish fighter and WBA champion Ricky Burns was in the Russian’s crosshairs and only a routine defence against Indongo stood in the way of a shot at unifying two world belts.

That routine defence lasted 40 seconds, until one swing of Indongo’s spindly frame ended the night. The African detonated a long straight left onto the Russian’s jaw, landing him flat on his back, and truncating his reign was world champion.

Indongo then went on to dethrone veteran champ Burns in the Scotsman’s own Glasgow backyard – fulfilling one of Troyanovsky’s goals to unify the belts – before traveling stateside to fight pound for pound king Terence Crawford.

That Indongo lost that fight with Crawford was secondary. In just three bouts, his legacy and financial future were secured; two world titles and a US payday all in nine months was an impressive return for the part-time police officer.

For Troyanovsky, he set out on a journey to rebuild. Since beginning his comeback trail, he has recorded two wins inside schedule – bringing his record to 24 KOs from 27 wins and cementing his status as one of the division’s most dangerous fighters.

Speaking at the first ever professional boxing tournament in the Russian Republic of Ingushetia, held in the capital of Magas and at which he was guest of honor, ‘Troya’ told RT Sport about his ambition to once again climb to the summit of the sport.

RT: Eduard, good evening, here we are in Ingushetia at the first ever professional boxing show held in the Republic. How do you rate the event here in Ingushetia today?

Eduard Troyanovsky: The tournament is really great. Right now we have the final, main fight of the evening. I wanted to watch it, but it turned out that I’m standing with my back to the fight! In actual fact, everything [at the tournament] is of the highest standard. It’s really great.

RT: How important is it for the development of sport in the Republic of Ingushetia to hold a professional tournament?

ET: Actually it’s important to hold different kinds of tournaments for the popularization of the sport. Therefore, amateur boxing is just as essential as professional boxing.

RT: We know you regularly hold your training camps in Thailand. How do you rate your training camp for your last fight?

ET: I would give the training camp a 5-star rating. We executed everything and did everything we needed to do.

RT: Ring magazine rates you at number 6 in the light welterweight division. Your countryman Sergey Lipinets is rated one place behind you in number 7, Julius Indongo is rated above you at 5. Who would you want to meet in the ring?

ET: With whomever I can fight for a world title would be the best fight. We have twice offered Indongo the rematch and he has refused, he said ‘guys I have different plans’. With Lipinets, that’s a little bit of a different story; he has a fight with someone else in the works, so with him it’s not really possible. I’m going down the mandatory route with the WBA, so I can’t realistically say I can be able to box with him (Lipinets).

RT: There are many potential opponents for your next fight. Which of those are you most likely to face?

ET: Of course right now I can say that at the end of January, Kiryl Relikh and [Rances] Barthelemy will fight for the WBA world title – I should have a fight with the winner, the world champion.

RT: You have an excellent KO percentage. Do you consider yourself as maybe one of the most dangerous fighters in the division?

ET: I don’t see it that way. I am just lucky.

RT: What can you learn from your last defeat, when you lost your title against Indongo?

ET: There are a lot of reasons actually, but it’s not worth talking about them. We draw conclusions [from it] and we try hard not to make the same mistakes in the future.

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