While fans were eagerly awaiting the championship boxing match between Wladimir Klitschko and Anthony Joshua, the Tatneft Cup in Kazan, Russia, was making news of its own which overshadowed for a week most of the news not only in martial arts, but in all aspects of life.
The reason of this is Kyrgyzstan fighter Dastan Sharsheev, club mate of Alim Nabiev. On April 22 at Tatneft Cup, Sharsheev had a short-notice fight with Russian kickboxer Anton Kalinin. Despite a dominant three rounds for Sharsheev, who also appeared to win the the extra round, the judges gave the unanimous decision to Kalinin. A frustrated Sharsheev refused to leave the ring. The referee tried to frighten Sharsheev by warning him about the possibility of deportation or imprisonment. Sharsheev lost his mind, grabbed the microphone from the ring announcer and started to speak to the crowd about justice, honor, respect and skin color.
Now, two weeks after the accident, Sharsheev speaks to Combat Press about the controversial decision, its aftermath and his future plans.
You planned to take part in the IFMA World Championship in Minsk. What spoiled your plans?
Yes, I was planning it. But I got an injury — dislocation in my knee. During my training process, sparring, I dislocated my knee. But nothing serious, I will be back to training soon.
Are you planning to continue to compete in the amateur and professional ring?
You know, I will do both, if it will not damage professional sport. I feel comfortable in both rings. My trainer will decide. I should look for self development in different directions.
Your trainer, Ruslan Krivusha, said that your professional record is 30 fights. Before the fight with Ramazan Razakov in May 2016, promoters showed your record as 14 fights, 14 wins. What’s your true record?
I don’t know why they showed it like this. They even didn’t ask about my record. You know, Ramazan Razakov is my most respectful opponent. We are friends now. We train in the same gym and spar with each other every day. Walk around together. He was my opponent once, and now he is like a relative to me.
If promoters offer you to fight each other again, would you accept the fight?
No comments. If it happens, it will be a great event.
Who would you like to fight?
I would like to fight Vlad Tuynov. Stas Kazantsev. I would like to have revenge with Ruslan Bikhmenov — I won that fight. Everybody knows that I won.
In a recent interview, representative of the Muay Thai Federation of Kyrgyzstan Elena Shevchenko said that you lost to Anton Kalinin according to kickboxing rules. What do you think about her words?
You know, it disappointed me a lot. I don’t know what Elena Shevchenko meant. I know her for a long time. And there are more experienced trainers in Kyrgyzstan. Syrgak Aytaliev, the president of IFMA Muay Thai Federation, for example. The president of Kickboxing Federation of Kyrgyzstan. Those people can watch my fight and say who lost. And Elena Shevchenko doesn’t have such credentials. She even doesn’t have a judge’s license. I don’t know why she is speaking like she knows something about this sport.
Do you mean she is even not a national category judge?
No, she is not. We are countrymen with her. She didn’t paint herself in a positive light with such words, she looked negative. I didn’t talk about her before, but now decided to speak. We respect women in Kyrgyzstan, and she is an old woman. We respect old people, too.
Your fight with Kalinin became, probably, the most discussed kickboxing fight of April amongst Russian martial-arts fans. The buzz you created with your emotional outburst is the main reason. What would you advise to young athletes who could also face unfair judgment?
Don’t leave the decision to the judges.
Of course, it is always better, but not always possible.
My advice: never surrender and insist on your position. Insistence makes a man a man.
But if every athlete who thinks he won rebels against possible unfair judgment, it can transform to permanent trash talk.
Look, I didn’t plan it in advance. I just got emotional. And if someone would just want to make PR, he should remember about insistence. An insistent man would not allow himself such actions. You should be able to accept the loss. To walk away from the ring fairly is also a man’s decision.
Your indignation was understandable, especially after the referee’s words about deportation.
You know, those words were the exact reason of my anger. And not only me, but all migrants in Russia. Russia is a great country with many nationalities. If he wants to say sorry, I would say to him: “Don’t speak to me, but ask for forgiveness of all the migrants in Russia that were disappointed by your words.”
If he would accept his failure and decide to publicly apologize for what he said, would you accept such an apology?
I don’t keep anger. I am just disappointed that the referee said such things. He didn’t touch me; he touched everyone. My soul is hurt.
I hope that wide support of people gives you motivation to come back even stronger for the next fight.
Yes! I want to thank everyone who supported me! I’m deeply thankful for this support.
Do you feel the rise of your popularity in your casual life? Do people recognize you?
Yes! A lot!
Are you even fed up with it a bit?
Well, this is normal for us. We are not schizophrenics or megalomaniacs. Muhammad Ali is our example.
What is your next fight? Revenge with Anton Kalinin?
The organization offered this fight. I would like to make it. I will have time for preparation and a training camp. As they say, don’t shake your fists after the fight, but I didn’t have enough time for preparation. I took this fight as a reserve fighter on eight days’ notice. I was cutting the weight all eight days.
But my nation never surrenders. I have never declined a fight, because I am a real man and I am responsible for my words. A man should stay a man. The offered revenge, I accepted it. This time I will be prepared. And we all with Vityaz Fight Club team — my coach, Ruslan Krivusha, all together with my nation and my parents — will achieve justice. We will answer and prove that Kyrgyz people are power!
Do your parents watch your fights and come to the tournaments, or do they support you mentally more?
They watch fights. In Asia, from Genghis Khan times, Kyrgyz people are the best warriors. We are hot-blooded. We never surrender. And my parents understand that. They always support me. They say, “Train hard, eat good, achieve your goals.” My parents are pure gold. They are even more than only parents — they are my friends.
Do they attend your fights?
My father does. My mother watches on TV. When my father watches my fight, I feel responsibility, because my father’s pride inspires me. And I would like to provide for my son.
Do you want your son to become an athlete?
Yes, but he will decide for himself.
Where do you see your development as a fighter?
I am very interested in European promotions, but I don’t think that I am ready for Europe now. I am 26 years old and I think I have five bright years, at least, to show myself in the professional ring. I will have time to enter and make good fights, and fight the top fighter in the lightweight division in Europe.
Who do you recognize as the best in this category?
There are a lot of them — Marat Grigorian, Josh Jauncey, Davit Kiria. I watch their fights and read about them. They are especially pleasant as personalities.
Who is better, Buakaw or Sitthichai?
I respect them both. They were and they will remain legends. They don’t need to fight each other. What for?
For public. People like to see the best fight each other.
Let the best stay the best.