- © RIA Novosti. Vladimir Astapkovich
© RIA Novosti. Vladimir Astapkovich
KRASNODAR, Russia, November 5 (R-Sport) - Former WBO middleweight boxing champion Dmitry Pirog has not given up home of resurrecting his career as he struggles against a debilitating back injury, promoter Nikolai Baklanov told R-Sport on Tuesday.
The Russian puncher, nicknamed “The Grandmaster,” last fought in May 2012, defending his belt with a unanimous points win over Japan’s Nobuhiro Ishida in Moscow, before a recurring back injury scotched plans for further bouts.
“Officially, he hasn’t finished yet, he hopes to return,” said Baklanov, who is the vice-president of the company representing Pirog, but admitted he couldn’t say “when it will be or if it will happen at all ... Personally, he wants to box. It's his favorite thing."
The most recent recurrence of the injury in February could be a career-ender, Baklanov admitted.
“We planned earlier for him to return, but there was a recurrence of the injury, which was too serious to be sure if he could overcome it and get to that champion’s level,” he said.
“A person could live in peace with an injury like that, do sport, but champion-level athletes experience maximum stress.”
Pirog was stripped of his WBO belt in September 2012 when he defied the sanctioning body by arranging a unification bout with WBA and IBO champion Gennady Golovkin instead of the WBO’s mandatory challenger Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam.
The Pirog-Golovkin fight was cancelled because of Pirog’s injury.