InstantBoxing.com caught up with undefeated WBC lightweight contender Dejan Zlaticanin (20-0, 13KO’s) this week, and questioned him on his boxing career to date, the boxing situation in Montenegro, and his plans for 2015. Check the Q&A out below!
IB) First of all, what have you been doing since the Ricky Burns victory? Nobody in the UK or USA has heard from you since that massive win?
On day of the fight [with Ricky Burns] my wife gave birth to my daughter Sofia and I dedicated the fight to both of them. After some time I started preparing for my next fight that happened in October against Ecuador’s Alex Bone and I won every round of that fight and sent him to the floor twice. To be heard about, you must fight popular fighters. It’s not up to me but my team can give me a chance to box with the best.
IB) A lot of fighters go over to a foreign country knowing they will pick up good money for a fight, but not really believing they can win, did you fully believe before the Ricky Burns fight that you could go to Scotland and pick up the victory?
I went to fight with Ricky Burns but not for good money! The purse received was very weak for that fight so I go to Glasgow to win and to show everyone how much I was worth and what I could do!
IB) Have you had any offers from Matchroom to come back to the UK and box again?
No I haven’t had any offers from Matchroom but we met in Las Vegas [Eddie Hearn] and he told me the UK – Montenegro is 1-1 now because my colleague Nikola Sjekloca lost to Callum Smith and he said, “Who is next?” I answered Kevin Mitchell. The UK audience is great, I really like the UK.
IB) With the win you picked up the WBC International lightweight title and the #3 ranking; were you a little annoyed this week when the WBC declared Kevin Mitchell the mandatory challenger to Jorge Linares after beating Daniel Estrada at the weekend? Do you feel like the WBC have ignored you? [Note: Prior to Mitchell beating Estrada at the weekend, Mitchell was ranked #7, Estrada #6 and Zlaticanin #3]
I have owned the WBC international title really since 2011. I think the WBC know what their job is and I respect their decision. I must say that your position in a sanctioning body doesn’t depend on the quality of the boxer, but [the quality] of the manager and promoter.
IB) How would you handle Jorge Linares right now? Do you feel you could beat him?
Of course. Me and my trainer would have good tactics and I feel this would be an easier fight than Ricky Burns because Burns’ is like a rock!
IB) Do you feel like you are being avoided in the lightweight division at the moment?
Yes for sure. I’m very hard to win against because my chin is strong and my punches are strong. I’ve never been knocked down in my career. It makes people frightened.
IB) Who do you feel is the best lightweight in the world right now?
I think Terrence Crawford has had some good wins but he is to go up in weight. I think I am the best at lightweight right now.
IB) What is boxing like in Montenegro? Are there many promoters? Who is currently promoting you?
In Montenegro we don’t have promoters and we don’t have developed professional boxing. Montenegro has four active pro boxers: Nikola Sjekloca, Predrag Radosevic, Milorad Zizic and myself. I don’t currently have a promoter. I will fight anybody.
IB) After the victory against Burns in Scotland, you rose up the rankings, have you had any offers from promoters in UK/USA or Europe?
I have some offers from promoters in the United States but they were not acceptable so I declined them.
IB) Have you ever thought about moving to another country to pursue your boxing career further?
Of course I have but I am Montenegrin, I fight for the flag and want to remain based here.
IB) What made you first start boxing and at what age did you start?
From childhood I had the talent to fight. My father was a boxer and he sent me to a boxing gym. Miodrag Perunovic – was our great fighter [From Montenegro]; when I was 13 years old I started training boxing and when I was 14, I became champion of Yugoslavia in my weight competition.
IB) What are your plans for 2015?
I hope I will be the one who fights [Jorge] Linares for the title but I apparently must wait some more time. So I will have a fight to defend my International title. I will fight anyone in the lightweight division.
IB) You are 30, do you feel in a hurry to progress with your career?
No, I’m in no hurry. I’m 30, my body and my head is in the best shape of my career. I’m ready for big fights and age in boxing is specific to the individual, one finish career at 25, some finish career at 45.
IB) What is your training situation?
I’m always in training. I train in my town Podgorica with my trainer Slobodan Andjelic. I am always ready to fight.
IB) What do you hope to have achieved by the time your career is over?
I hope I will achieved my childhood dream and become a WORLD CHAMPION.
IB) Do you watch much boxing yourself? Who are your favourite fighters at the moment?
Of course. I watch many fights to learn where I made mistakes and to learn not to make the same [mistake] next time. My favorite fighters are Juan Manuel Marquez, Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather and Ruslan Provodnikov – I love watching them.
IB) If a promoter could secure you any fight in the world right now, who would you want that to be against?
Now I would like to fight Jorge Linares for the WBC world title, more than anything.
IB) What is your favourite ever boxing match?
My favorite boxing fight was Prince Naseem Hamed vs Marco Antonio Barrera.
Follow the career of WBC ranked #3 contender Dejan Zlaticanin: