EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT ‘EL ZAR’

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Glynn Evans surfs the net to extract titbits on the seriously chiselled Russian who has designs on toppling our WBO lightweight king at Manchester Arena on April 8th.

Petrov was born in Ryazan, an oil refining city and electronics hub, 120 miles south-east of Moscow in March 1983. He will be 34 this year. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the area was terrorised by the infamous OPG mafia gang and blighted by racketeering and contract killings.

At the age of 12, the Petrov family moved to Madrid, Spain for commercial reasons. Petr is fluent in Russian and Spanish and speaks some English.

After nominal amateur experience, Petr turned professional in November 2000. He was just 17 at the time. His initial 19 gigs took place on Spanish territories (one in Tenerife).

A 5ft 6in orthodox fighter with a 70in reach (southpaw Flanagan is three and a half inches taller), Petrov is nicknamed ‘El Zar’ (The Tsar).

In his ninth outing, aged 20, Petrov conceded his unbeaten tag, suffering a six round split decision to Columbia’s Ubadel Soto in Madrid.

However, over the ensuing 13 ½ years, he has lost just three times, all to world champions, each time in the opponent’s yard.

In October 2007, Germany’s future WBC super-feather boss Vitali Tajbert unanimously outpointed Petrov over eight in Halle. In September 2011, monster hitting Argie Marcos Maidana put him out for the full count in a WBA title challenge up at light-welter, in Buenos Aires. Nineteen months later, over in Montenegro, local hero Dejan Zlaticanin (the future WBC lightweight king) outpointed him on all cards over 12.

Post Zlaticanin, Petrov has been aligned with Artie Pellulo’s Philadelphia-based Banner Promotions. He resides in southern California with his wife Carolina and is trained and managed by Danny Zamora in Santa Fe Springs. Jerry Arias helps out with strength and conditioning duties while Petr’s brother coaches him whenever he is back in Spain.

His last six gigs (all wins, four early) have all taken place on US soil against opposition with combined stats of 135 wins, 24 losses, five draws. In May 2014, the Russian native captured the ESPN Friday Night Fights prestigious Boxcino lightweight title. Additionally, he has hovered up WBO and WBA regional titles plus the NABF crown at 135lbs.

Having outpointed Mexico’s former WBC Super-Feather boss Gamaliel Diaz over 10 the previous April, Petrov was scheduled to box in the UK in October 2015. However, his WBO eliminator with Cromer’s Liam Walsh was pulled after the unbeaten Norfolk switch hitter withdrew with a hand injury.

Potent Petr secured his shot at the ‘Turbo’ by forcing Golden Boy’s highly touted Michael Perez (just one loss in 27) to retire on his stool after six rounds of an eliminator in Indio, California last September. The Robert Garcia trained starlet from New Jersey was dumped and sliced in round two prior to raising the white flag.

Mandatory contender with both the WBA and WBO, the Russian hard case presently sports a 38-4-2 slate with exactly half of his victims failing to pass the finish post.

Terry Flanagan vs. Petr Petrov tops an unmissable evening of action at the Manchester Arena on April 8; Super-Welterweight rivals Liam Smith and Liam Williams clash in one of the most anticipated domestic dust-ups in recent times; Slick South African Zolani Tete faces Arthur Villanueva in a final eliminator for the WBO World Bantamweight strap; double Olympic Gold Medallist and women’s boxing icon Nicola Adams OBE fights for the first time as a professional and former Team GB Heavyweight monster Daniel Dubois makes his highly-anticipated professional debut along with a talent packed undercard.

Tickets for April 8 priced £50, £70, £100, £150, £200, £300 and VIP £500 are available from eventim at www.eventim.co.uk and 0844 249 1000 and the Manchester Arena at www.manchester-arena.com and 0844 847 8000.


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