Ljubljana, July 22nd 2015 - It's been an exciting year for Dejan Zavec so far, but the reigning WBF superwelterweight world champion and the former IBF welterweight world champion believes the best is yet to come. After defeating Sasha Yengoyan (now 32-2-1) in epic brave-heart bout in full packed arena in Maribor in April, Zavec has new doors opened for him.
The bout against the Armenian-Belgian »Beast from the East« was special in many ways. Not only has Zavec proved his worth once again, he also managed to win with UD although he suffered a severe cut over his right eye as early as the first round. »I apologise for all the blood that was needed to win,« Zavec said in his style to his fans right after the fight that is in contention for the WBF fight of the year.
Today, almost four months after the bout, he is well aware of the positive effect of this 35th professional victory: »It's not very common to get a chance to fight for the world title for the second time at a late stage of your career. But I always believed I have a place among the best in the world. Although I may not be the youngest, I feel absolutely great. The results of my physical test prove that I am still on the rise. Having started my professional career quite late, I think I am still more than capable to compete against the younger guns. Yengoyan was a very good opponent, but I know I could offer even much more if it wasn't for the early and very inconvenient injury. I had to fight a very tactical fight,« said Zavec, who is actively enjoying summer to gain extra energy for the next big fight which should happen sometime in late autumn.
»I have huge respect for all the super welterweight world champions, but I am sure that I could challenge them, offer an exciting fight and come from the bout victorious. There is no question about me wanting to fight them. Let’s see what the future brings ...« stated Mr Sympaticus. Current world champion title holders are Cornelius Bundrage (IBF), Erislandy Lara (WBA), Demetrius Andrade (WBO) and also Floyd Mayweather Jr. (WBC).
»I did never hide from the opponents, went to South Africa to claim the IBF title and went to US to defend it later, risk was never the word I would hide from ... I have also never been down in my career, my only really justified defeat was on points against Keith Thurman - I wish him all the best. I believe I have the place among elite and want to add to my legacy and hope the other world champions will not hide in front of me, but will accept my challenge. My motive and goal is the next world champion title,« said the Slovenian hero, boxing ambassador and idol for many people in his country.
Rumours about Mayweather Jr. fighting with Andre Berto, who stripped Zavec of his IBF welterweight world champion title in 2011 with a stop after head-butt cut, still bring up questions »what if« with experts and fans that followed the bout, but the WBF world champion believes that everything happens with a reason and you have to move on. While Zavec still believes he was en-route to victory in the Battle in Biloxi, he is aware that the boxing world is unpredictable and firmly believes in his own path, now in super welterweight division as WBF world champion.
»I believe I will know my next opponent in August. I can't wait for my next ring walk-in!« concluded Zavec and didn’t forget to thank his loyal fans for the constant support.
Maribor, April 11th 2015 –The best Slovenian boxer Dejan Zavec won, based on his words, the toughest fight of his professional boxing career against a 10 year younger opponent Sasha Yengoyan. After 12 rounds the judges unanimously decided (115-114, 117-112, 118-112) that Mr. Sympatikus became the new superwelterweight WBF World Champion.
In front of a vocal crowd in a sold-out Tabor hall in Maribor Zavec had to play a very risky game after getting a cut as early as in the first round, when Yengoyan’s head-butt opened his skin above the right eye. This meant a significant change of plans for the former IBF welterweight World Champion, but he had no bigger problems in controlling the opponent. »I was risking a very dangerous injury, but luckily my risk paid off. You have to risk more to gain more,« said Zavec, who confirmed that the similar incident, that happened to him against Andre Berto, when he couldn’t continue the defence of his World Champion belt due to a similar injury, came into his subconscience. But his desire and determination helped him to calm down and continue in style; his braveheart display was there in spite of the early injury that was clearly a setback.
Although Zavec was surely wishing to end the fight with a knock-out – he came close with getting Yengoyan off his feet in the 5th round, but the Belgian proved to be a tough fighter – he also had no bigger problems with ending it after 12 rounds. He used all his rich experience to outbox Yengoyan, who tried hard, but was never given a real chance to end the bout in his favour. »Sasha was defeated both psychologically and physically. He tried to hit me but missed, which led him to become nervous and unstable. The energy of the crowd also helped things to go in my direction, as this was something new for Sasha. He lost because you could see that he tried to make a hole through me no matter what,« said Zavec, who saw rounds 3-5 as crucial. It’s then when Yengoyan’s dominos started to collapse and he just couldn’t get them standing again.
Zavec didn’t want to make any big announcements after the bout: he will thoroughly think about who and where to face next. The WBF World Champion belt opens new doors to him – doors that were almost shut until Saturday. He has already progressed for more than 20 places in the Boxrec superwelterweight ranking, where he is now 15th. Saul Alvarez, the former WBC World Champion who lost his belt to Floyd Mayweather jr. in 2013, is on top. Yengoyan, who Zavec believes has a very good career in front of him, fell from 16th to 28th.
The bout, broadcast by TV Slovenija 2, had a great TV-rating. The average audience was around 270.000 (13,76 AMR %), while at the peak the broadcast reached 317.000 TV-viewers (16,24 AMR %).
Maribor, April 7th 2015 – The tension before the upcoming bout between Dejan Zavec and Sasha Yengoyan has risen. This Saturday (April 11th) Dejan will – in front of his fans in Dvorana Tabor (Maribor) – fight for the WBF World Champion title in the superwelterweight category (up to 69,85 kg) against Sasha Yengoyan. Then 30 year-old Armenian fighter, who lives in Belgium, is ranked 12th the BoxRec chart.
Opponents had their face-off in spectacular fashion in hotel Habakuk, Maribor. The Slovenian champion is focused to reach the top of the world again. »Training and winning this fight is in the centre of my attention. Eleven years ago I couldn't dream about this happening and today my dreams are coming true. I'm sure that the visitors of Saturday's bout will witness the highest level of boxing in Slovenia so far. All roads lead to the top. To become world champion again!« Zavec won the IBF World Champion belt in welterweight in 2009 and successfully defended it three times before losing to Andre Berto in a controversial fight in Biloxi in autumn 2011.
Sasha Yengoyan – The Beast from the East, as he is nicknamed – didn't say much in front of the audience. »I feel very good in Maribor. I expect a very good and spectacular fight from which I will bring the world champion title back home.« As well as Yengoyan, his coach Juan Ignacio Neuberger also expects a win on Saturday. He explained that his protégé is maximally prepared and knows all about Dejan's level of boxing. »We have been preparing for this fight for eight weeks and of course we expect Sasha to win!«
»I believe that the venue will be too small for everyone who will want to be part of this magnificent event,« said even organizer Tomaž Barada, who is proud of the fact that this match is happening in Maribor: in this city where Dejan's had his first professional fight in Slovenia and where a lot of very devoted Dejan's fans live. Barada is sure that there is no doubt: »Dejan will win the title!«
»Sasha is the favourite, but Dejan will win,« said Dejan's second coach Stanislav Milutinovič and his present coach Dirk Dzemski added: »Dejan can never lose in Slovenia!«
The event was organised on the highest level, with amazing musicians Perpetuum Jazzile spicing up the atmosphere with their a capella songs Titanium, Footloose and Jump.
Ljubljana, February 24th 2015 – The Slovenian boxing champion Dejan Zavec has announced his next bout. He will be fighting against Sasha Yengoyan (33 bouts, 31 wins, 1 draw, 1 loss), »The Beast from the East«, for the WBF World Champion title in the superwelterweight category (up to 69,85 kg) on April 11th in Dvorana Tabor in Maribor.
»I chose the strongest possible opponent,« said the European WBO Champion Zavec (37 bouts, 34 wins, 3 losses) at the press conference. His opponent will be the WBF world champion: 29-year old Armenian-born Belgium boxer Yengoyan, who lives in Gent, Belgium. »The Beast from the East« is ranked high on 12th place on the BoxRec chart, 29 places above Zavec.
But Dejan isn't afraid of statistics – his are also impressing – although he of course extremely respects the opponent. »I didn’t notice that he would have some weak spot or boxing element. He is very unpredictable and bold, his quality is undisputable. Height (Yengoyan is 11 cm taller) shouldn’t be a problem, because I will be prepared for it. I will try to be cunning. In any case it will be necessary to give my maximum effort to win,« said Zavec.
Tomaž Barada, the event organizer, also expressed his joy about Dejan’s opportunity to once again fight for the world champion title. As well as Zavec, he also believes that Yengoyan was the best choice: a challenge that can bring Dejan to even bigger challenges. »There were plenty of names in the game, but I decided for one with undisputed quality. He doesn't come from West, but the East – the cradle of boxing. I am extremely happy and pleased to get another shot at the world champion title,« added 39-year old from Ptuj. He will start his preparation on Monday, when he will travel to Germany to team up with his coach Dirk Dzemski.
Tickets for April's bout will be available on Monday, March 2nd 2015, on Petrol gas stations all over Slovenia and Eventim's outlets. The event will be broadcasted live on TV Slovenia, which is also a media sponsor of the event. The Olympic Committee of Slovenia has also joined the event as a partner.
Maribor, 17th October – Dejan Zavec only needed a couple of second to show the crowd that his lengthy preparation for the bout against Hungarian champion Ferenc Hafner was very successful. The former IBF World Champion returned to the ring after almost a year with an easy 7th round TKO win. This brought him the title of the WBO junior middleweight (up to 69,85 kg) European Champion.
This was Zavec's 34th victory in his career, 19th with a knock-out and the first in this weight category. He remains undefeated in Maribor and in Slovenia.
Even though Hafner was the underdog on paper, Zavec didn't underestimate him. The Hungarian came to Maribor to fight, but he wasn't good enough for the Slovenian champion who was in top shape, looking fresh and relaxed, and had loud support of a packed arena.
»Congratulations to Dejan for a very good fight. He showed that he is a better boxer than me. Our plan was to finish all 10 rounds,« said Hafner at the press conference. Hafner was praised by Zavec for his fair play and attitude during the bout.
Zavec and his team are already focusing on next fight. »We will see what the time will bring. We won’t be rushing in any direction. But my wish is clear: either going to the USA again or having a big bout here in Europe. What weight category? Doesn’t matter: welterweight or junior middleweight, I am willing and able in both,« said Zavec and continued: »I'm very satisfied about easily controlling the fight against Hafner from the very beginning. I have shown everyone that my I have bounced back after the injury and that despite my age I still have a lot to offer. I think everyone saw that I feel great! I began the fight without any injuries and that remained so until the end. My story goes on.«
Just recently, Dejan has agreed collaboration with American boxing promoter Lou DiBella, who has already started work on finding Zavec an opponent over the Atlantic.
It has been almost one year since Dejan’s previous about, when he won against Frenchman Sebastian Allais in Leipzig. Dejan believes that his next fight will come in a much shorter period of time. »I hope thatearly spring 2015 is the latest possible date for my next bout. I hope I will be able to tell you more about against whom, where and when soon. Let us all wait a bit. I believe good things come to those who wait,« said Zavec, who was extremely happy and excited about the reception that he got in Maribor's Dvorana Tabor.