Andrei - Nick Depree
Undefeated New Zealand middleweight Andrei “Renegade” Mikhailovich (8-0) makes his anticipated return to the ring this Saturday, 18 May, at Auckland’s ABA Stadium.
The Russian-born boxer will take on Dunedin’s Chase Haley (6-3-1) in a six-round super middleweight contest on the undercard of the David Light – Mark Flanagan WBO Oriental Cruiserweight Title fight.
Since turning professional in April of 2018, Mikhailovich has developed a reputation as one of the countries brightest boxing prospects. The 21-year-old’s crowd captivating style of boxing has earned him praise from fans and pundits.
Fighting out of West Auckland’s Peach Boxing gym, Mikhailovich looks to be in career-best shape and is happy with the work him and his team have put in during the lead-up to Saturday’s bout.
“We are at the end of camp. I am feeling really sharp. We did well; it’s been a mean camp,” Mikhailovich said speaking to Newsie.
“I have sparred with the likes of Bowyn Morgan, did 36 rounds with him, did a little bit of sparing with David [Light] and Jerome [Pampellone] as well. Mose [Auimatagi Jnr], I did a little bit of sparring with him.
“It’s good; each fighter has different qualities, so I get the work in. Dave has a great jab, Jerome has a good right hand, Mose is very powerful, Bowyn comes forward. We have covered all bases in this camp, and this is the fittest I have been so far since I turned pro.”
Mikhailovich has also had several important developments occur in his life outside of the ring.
“I have a baby on the way, I moved out of my parents’ home, finally flatting with my partner. It’s been very exciting; life is exciting at the moment, and I am looking forward to the challenge of this fight. It’s just another fight for me, another opponent out of the way,” Mikhailovich said.
Mikhailovich’s steely determination comes from a desire to improve his life as opposed to any personal animosity towards his opponents.
“He is just trying to do what I am trying to do and win the fight,” Mikhailovich said.
“His goal is to beat me, and my goal is beat him, and that’s it. I have nothing against him. I don’t even know him. I think sometimes people think that boxing is a hate-fuelled sport when it’s not. You are in there trying to make money for yourself and better yourself, and he is doing the same.
“I see it as he is he is trying to take the bread away from my baby, and so it gives me extra motivation.”
Chase Hayley In Action - David Ash for Ringstar Sports.
Training under the guidance of former New Zealand Super Middleweight Champion Isaac Peach, Mikhailovich is aware that his natural talent will only take him to a certain point in the ultra-competitive world of boxing.
“When I first started training with Peach, it was very hard for me to do activities that I did not want to do, like running I hated it but I have got to the point know when even If you don’t like it I know how to focus and relax and breathe and just get through it.
“If you want to be a boxer which is one of the hardest sports in the world you have to completely commit yourself to everything about boxing whether that be the running, the technical drills, sparring, you have to be completely focused. If you are not, you are not going to make it very far.”
However, Mikhailovich’s passion for the sport runs deeper than just a desire for financial security or the joys of competition.
“I express myself in my truest form when the lights are on, and the pressure is on, that is me expressing myself, and you see my true colours,” he added.
“My goal is to be the middleweight champion of the world and defend that title that is my goal. Let’s get one thing straight; I don’t want to the New Zealand Champion, I don’t want to be the Oceania Champion I want to be a world champion and compete at that level.”
If an athlete seeks to become a world champion, a word class mind-set is a must. Thankfully Mikhailovich, despite his young age, looks to have the mind-set and the talent to help take him where he wants to go.
Sky Sports 4 will screen the entire Light V Flanagan card this Saturday. Event Coverage starts at 7:30 PM