Friday Night Fights: Vladimir Shishkin vs. Ulises Sierra
By Robert Ecksel on January 17, 2020
“My uncle brought me to the boxing. I was 11 years old, there was only soccer and boxing."
In a fight televised live this Friday night on ShoBox from WinnaVegas Casino & Resort in Sloan, Iowa, super middleweight prospects Vladimir Shishkin (9-0, 6 KOs), the 28-year-old “fringe contender” from Detroit by way of Stepnoe, Russia, will get it on with 30-year-old Ulises Sierra (15-0-2, 9 KOs), the undefeated boxer-puncher from San Diego, California, in a scheduled 10-rounder.
Both men are undefeated. Both men welcome the exposure. Each man has everything to gain and nothing to lose.
Shishkin punched his way out of a bleak Russian whistle-stop. His mother Anna works as a nurse at a local hospital. His father is an oil driller. It is always cold. Boxing is an escape from that toil.
“My uncle brought me to the boxing,” he told NY Fights. “I was 11 years old, there was only soccer and boxing in the village, the choice was obvious. There in Russia it’s still tough and there is danger, especially in the villages, so I had to stand up for myself. Also girls in Russia choose the strongest boy and I like girls!”
Like most professionals from the former Eastern bloc countries, Shishkin has an amateur background.
“My amateur career was difficult, I did all the competition at my own expense,” he said. "My family was very poor, there was no money, I could not go abroad, I did not go outside the Saratov region to train. Despite that I became the champion of Russia under the age of 19.”
He was a talented boxer from deep on the outskirts of nowhere, and like many others in a similar situation believes he got stiffed along the way.
“I dreamed of getting to the Olympic Games, but when faced with amateur boxing I realized that everything was corrupt there. I don’t want to talk too much about it,” Shishkin said. “Over time, the desire left me. But I looked at the American stars, like Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, Roy Jones, Floyd Mayweather, but it seemed to me an (unlikely) dream.”
Promoted by Salita Promotions, Shishkin has a solid team behind him. He’s working with Sugar Hill Steward in Detroit at the Kronk in Detroit and he’s convinced it’s making a difference.
“Training at Kronk with Sugar Hill, every training session revealed something new to me," he told Ring TV. "I took a little bit of everything, I understand everything tactically, but I can’t put it into practice yet, I need to work more with Hill—learn, develop. I am very excited about coming back and training for my next fight.”
ShoBox’s Steve Farhood has called Shishkin a “fringe contender,” but a fringe contender who is “certainly one to watch.”
“I’ve faced every type of fighter there is already, so nothing is surprising for me in the ring,” Shishkin said. “It doesn’t matter what type of fight he wants to have. I will definitely be victorious Friday night and I’ll be going for the knockout to give the fans what they want.”
Shishkin has the pulse of the crowd. He has big aspirations.
“I looked at the American stars in Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, Roy Jones Jr., and Floyd Mayweather Jr. growing up and they are who I model myself after.”
All that stands in Shishkin’s way is Ulises Sierra.
Sierra served as a sparring partner in three Canelo camps. He has sparred with Andre Ward, Jermell Charlo, WBC super middleweight champ David Benavidez, and future hall-of-famer Sergey Kovalev four times.
“We had good sessions,” said Sierra. “Kovalev dubbed me the next champion. I’ve sparred with a lot of champions. But I’m not a sparring partner. I don’t have that mentality. I figure if I’m going to spar with someone it might as well be with the best.”
But he first needs to get by Shishkin.
“I know he’s a real aggressive guy,” Sierra said, “and I’m going to use his aggressiveness against him. I see holes in his defense. I’m going to present something in the ring he’s never seen before.”
“Every fight needs to be a statement. Shishkin hasn’t lost yet and will be in for a tough test for me. He’s a long-range fighter and has length. I can fight on the inside and the outside. I’ll do a little bit of everything.
“I like being an underdog, but I love it because I have something to prove. I want the boxing world to know I’m here and I’m willing to fight anyone. This is a great opportunity for me. I never get the calls for shows like this, and I don’t know why that is. Give me a call. Give me a chance. I’m ready to fight. I just want to fight.”