Kronk’s Alexey Zubov in toughest test this weekend
As a kid growing up in Magnitogorsk, Russia, cruiserweight Alexey Zubov heard stories about the fabled Kronk Gym and the late legendary trainer Emanuel Steward, but never thought he’d have a chance to join the team. But then one day, the former amateur champion was asked to come to Detroit to spar with Kronk’s Johnathon Banks … and the rest is history.
This Friday, April 15, the undefeated Zubov (10-0, 6 KOs) will face Mandilesti, Moldova’s Constantin Bejenaru (10-0, 4 KOs, WSB: 0-1-1) in the eight-round opener of an internationally televised ShoBox: The New Generation live on SHOWTME (10 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast) at the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York.
Presented by Salita Promotions in association with AASHA Record Breakers,the main event will feature IBF No. 10-ranked bantamweight Nikolay Potapov (14-0, 6 KOs), of Podolsk, Russia, taking on Stephon Young (14-0-2, 6 KOs), of St. Louis, Missouri in a 10-round bout. In the co-main event, Eudy Bernardo (21-0, 15 KOs) of the Dominican Republic faces Mason “Rock Hard Mighty” Menard (30-1-0, 22 KOs), of Rayne, Louisiana, in an eight-round battle.
Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased at the Turning Stone Resort Casino Box Office, by calling 877.833.SHOW, or online at Ticketmaster.com. They are priced at $60 for ringside seats, $35 and $25.
“I’ve been in Detroit for the last two months and I am so happy; I want to stay here, train here and live here,” said Zubov. “Every Russian fighter knows about Kronk Gym and Emanuel Steward.”
Zubov is currently winding down camp with his trainer and Steward’s nephew Javan “Sugar” Hill at the resurgent Kronk Gym. “I like Javan’s style,” said Zubov, “and I’ve learned so much about hand speed and footwork and about using intelligence in the ring – how you need to think when you’re in a fight.”
“Alexey is able to learn a lot and absorb boxing knowledge easily,” said Hill. “He barely speaks English and yet he soaks it in. It’s amazing. I brought him in to spar with Banks and when we were training, Alexey just sat on the side and watched. Later, he was sparring with Johnathon and I told him to stop. I said ‘listen here. I’m training Jonathon Banks and you’re doing everything I told him to do. What’s wrong with you?’ Then I laughed and said ‘I like that. Keep watching. I’ll teach you everything you want to know.’ “
Hill says this camp with Zubov was a transition for the fighter. “We are moving into the championship level where you train for a specific fighter. A lot of it is strategy and planning. The only thing I worry about is him being too excited. He’s very high-strung and wants to prove things. I have to control him and keep him from getting over-excited. That’s what we’ve been working on. He gets antsy when he’s excited.”
“Training was prefect. I am 100 percent ready,” said Zubov. “I know Bejenaru is a southpaw and he is a short guy with a good record. It’s my first time on SHOWTIME and I am so happy to be showing the world what I can do.”