Umar Sadiq vows to shock former world champion Fedor Chudinov after travelling to Russia for late notice fight

Tony Mogan
·3-min read
London's Sadiq is looking to shoot up the rankings after accepting a tough fight away from home: Getty Images
London's Sadiq is looking to shoot up the rankings after accepting a tough fight away from home: Getty Images

Umar Sadiq will find himself a long way from home Friday night as the Londoner takes the chance of a lifetime against former world champion Fedor Chudinov in Russia.

The Ilford super-middleweight has made the 1800-mile journey on short notice to challenge for Chudinov’s WBA Gold title – a significant step up for the 32-year-old who had been preparing for a British title shot against Lerrone Richards this summer.

With that domestic dust-up pushed back, talk of fighting Chudinov initially emerged in mid-August but it was only two weeks ago when the fight became official, sparking a rush to secure a visa, accommodation and sparring ahead of the big night.

But after a relatively smooth fight week, Sadiq is plotting a remarkable snatch-and-grab in Moscow that he hopes will accelerate him into the world title picture.

“It was an easy decision,” Sadiq told Standard Sport. “I looked at him [Chudinov], my coaches looked at him and we decided this is a guy who is made for me. The rewards made it a lot easier to say yes to. Winning this fight will put me in the top three with the WBA, so I’m officially a world level fighter after winning it.

Sadiq is 10-1 looking for the biggest win of his career to date. (Getty Images)
Sadiq is 10-1 looking for the biggest win of his career to date. (Getty Images)

“It opens up a lot of opportunities. Lets face it, we box for glory but we also box to secure our families’ future and at world level, it makes those things possible. It put me in a position to maximise the rewards from the work I’ve done over all these years.”

Sadiq arrived in the Russian capital as part of a tight team of four this week, undergoing Covid-19 testing before and after making the trip. He comes in off a hugely busy 2019 that saw him fight six times before scoring the biggest victory of his career to date when he outpointed Kody Davies at York Hall in February this year.

It would be fair to say the Londoner was nowhere on Chudinov’s radar until a few weeks ago when his team reached our to Sadiq’s promoter Frank Warren, looking for an opponent.

32-year-old Chudinov held the WBA ‘Super’ title back in 2015, challenging for the belt a second time in 2017 against George Groves – the night the Hammersmith man was fourth time lucky and became a world champion for the first time.

Chudinov is undefeated since that night at Bramall Lane and is pushing for a mandatory title challenge against current WBA king Callum Smith. But Sadiq is confident of springing a surprise.

“What we are sure of, he definitely wasn’t thinking he would be fighting me. You look at my experience - in all likelihood, when they made the call and asked Frank for an opponent, they have looked at me and thought of me as an easy victory, a tick-over fight. But like Kody found out, it's a big mistake to think that of me.

Chudinov is a former WBA 'Super' champion. (Getty Images)
Chudinov is a former WBA 'Super' champion. (Getty Images)

“There are going to be a lot of other things they didn’t realise come fight night. It’s a big mistake they have made. That’s on them to learn from.”

Sadiq’s fellow east Londoner Anthony Yarde made the same trip to Russia last August, coming close to shocking Segey Kovalev in his WBO light heavyweight showdown in the champion’s hometown of Chelyabinsk.

While it’s an inspiring comparison on paper, Sadiq can only focus on his own journey for now.

“Anthony is a good friend, we grew up in the same area and had the same amateur coach. But I have to focus on myself and my journey and avoid getting carried away with fantasies and stories that could be nice.

“My only focus is to get in that ring, perform the best I can and come out with a victory. Afterwards, I can talk about what I might have drawn from it, maybe subconsciously there is something in there. But I can only focus on myself for now.”

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