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SERGEI KHARITONOV: "IT WOULD LOOK LIKE AN EASY VICTORY FOR ME"

By Percy Crawford | December 22, 2008
SERGEI KHARITONOV:

"The best world-class fighters are all in the K-1 and MMA system. The beauty of their art is broadcast worldwide and every event causes enormous interest. UFC is an American system. At DREAM.6, I had a fight with their representative Jimmy Ambriz and knocked him out. In fact, it does not matter for me whether I fight in K-1 or the UFC," stated heavyweight mixed martial artist Sergei Kharitonov as he talked about the possibility of fighting in the UFC. Check out what he had to say about his cancelled fight with Alistair Overeem, his thoughts on Mirko Cro Cop and much more.

PC: How are you doing Sergei?

SK: Perfect, thanks!

PC: You were preparing for a 3rd fight with Alistair Overeem on New Year's Eve. What prompted the cancellation?

SK: This fight was planned for the Dynamite Tournament and I was training hard for it. I wanted to please my fans and all of the people in the audience with my next victory. Unfortunately, I came down with a severe flu. I've had a high fever for two weeks so I had to stop training.

PC: Sorry to hear that. I was truly looking forward to you getting back in there. So just to be clear, the fight is off, correct?

SK: Yes, the fight has been canceled because of my illness.

PC: You guys share 1st round KOs over one another. What do you think would have been the difference in determining a winner in the rubbermatch?

SK: We met twice already. Unfortunately, I badly damaged my shoulder in the first fight and the referee had to stop it. It took me half a year to recover. Well, you have seen the result of the second fight. A few minutes were enough for me to put an end to it. And if there is a third fight, I believe it will be exactly the same scenario as in the second one.

PC: It appeared on more than one occasion that you would be fighting Mirko Cro Cop, but it hasn't happened yet. Is that a fight you would like to have in the near future?

SK: As for Mirko Cro Cop, after Mighty Mo canceled the fight with me at the DREAM.6 Tournament, Mirko offered to fight me right after Alistair. I told him I did not need a fight like that 'cause there was still a question on how the fight with Alistair would turn out and 'cause Mirko would be tired after the fight; it would look like an easy victory for me.

PC: Where do you rank yourself amongst the heavyweights in the world?

SK: I think I'm one of the top three in the world.

PC: What do you see as Overeem's weaknesses and what do you feel are his strengths?

SK: First of all, we both represent Golden Glory. We are good friends. Sport-wise, I would say he's an A-class fighter. He is a good puncher and his wrestling techniques are good as well.

PC: A lot of fans and media alike feel like a fighter isn't valid unless they're in the UFC. I disagree with that, but can we possibly see you in the UFC in the future?

SK: In my mind, the best world-class fighters are all in the K-1 and MMA system. The beauty of their art is broadcast worldwide and every event causes enormous interest. UFC is an American system. At DREAM.6, I had a fight with their representative Jimmy Ambriz and knocked him out. In fact, it does not matter for me whether I fight in K-1 or the UFC. You determine who is the strongest in the ring.

PC: What do you think of Brock Lesnar as a fighter and what are your thoughts of him being the UFC heavyweight champion?

SK: No comments. I do not know him.

PC: You've fought a ton of great fighters and you're only 28 years old. Who would you say was your toughest fight so far in your career?

SK: As far as the physical aspect, the toughest was Semmy Schilt, but the most artful and cunning was Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. He is technically very strong and possesses great powers of endurance.

PC: All but one of your 16 wins have come by some type of stoppage. Do you feel like your killer instinct is something that other heavyweights are lacking?

SK: Yes, I think so. As you have noticed, I make my entrances in an Airborne uniform. That is their code: "Death before dishonor" and "Nobody but us". For me, it's not just killer instinct, but the spirit of a winner; the thing they teach you in Airborne.

PC: You've only had one other fight this year. Would you like to become more active in 2009?

SK: No doubt. In 2009, I start fighting in two versions: K-1 and MMA. To fight in K-1, one needs special training in Muay Thai technique. That is why I am doing my training in Thailand with the best expert, Mr. Yodthong, "Papa". The King of Thailand awarded him last year with the title of Academician. Papa is Papa, whether this is America or Brazil, and for us, he is Papa too. This is a very strong team who are doing my training in Thailand. Among them is Mr. Samart Payakarun, the legendary Muay Thai champion. In Moscow, another very strong team is also working with me, Mr. Mike Sidorov and Mr. Mike Akimov. In Holland, my good friends are taking care of me too, Cor Hemmers, who, by the way, trained one of the best champions in Ramon "Diamond" Dekkers, Ron and Bas Boon. With the help of this team, I hope to bring joy to all my fans with lots of bright victories. 

PC: I would love to see a fight between you and Fedor Emelianenko. Is that a fight that interests you?

SK: Sure, it interests me.

PC: Thanks for your time Sergei. Good luck on New Year's Eve. Is there anything you would like to say in closing?

SK: I hope that my final accomplishment in 2009 will be the Champion's title in both versions. I am glad to use this opportunity to send regards to all my fans and my teachers. Happy New Year to everybody! At my fans' desire, my nickname now is simply Khariton.



[ Follow Percy Crawford on Twitter @MrLouis1ana ]

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