Enriko Gogokia: I must take the Championship belt back to Odessa
-Enriko, now that you are one of the “Legend” tournament Big 4, what are your feelings about it? How did it all come about?
-I was boxing in Milan and didn't know that Zambidis had withdrawn from the contest. My trainer and I just fancied how nice it would be to box in this tournament – in fact, it's kind of a CIS championship: Kyshenko, Bessmertny and Askerov.
All of them are my former fellow countrymen, except Zambidis. On coming back to Odessa, we had a call from Moscow with an offer to replace Zambidis, since he had suffered an injury. The contract was signed within 24 hours. I'm glad to take part in the “Legend” tournament.
-How are you preparing for the fight with Dzhabar Askerov?
-I've been preparing for the fight with Dzhabar for 3 weeks now. I'm not sparing myself during training sessions, working in earnest. We met when I was 19, and I didn't even know then that I was going to box with him. It was also a contest for four, and I had no idea we would be in the final together, but by drawing of lots I immediately had a fight scheduled with him. And, in fact, I was not ready then. Now I am a totally different athlete. And now, 2 years later, I do have enough experience.
-You are familiar with his technique. What will you focus on?
-The trainer and I do have a strategy, but I would prefer not to discuss it. You will see it all on the ring!
-What are your predictions for the Kyshenko vs Bessmertny fight?
-Kyshenko is more experienced than Bessmertny. But Yury is nobody's bargain, and I think Artur is going to have a hard time with him. Kickboxing is so unpredictable that I find it difficult to foretell.
-If you win, whom would you like to meet in the final?
-I have no preference, my aim is to win this tournament. I must show what I am capable of, what I'm worth, I must go through the 4, and take the Championship belt back to Odessa.
-What do you think of the tournament? Your expectations?
-The tournament is a serious one, the organizers have got together good fighters: Badr Hari, Alexander Emelianenko - a contest of this level is going to be the first ever experience for me. I've fought in a lot of places, know a lot of promotion tournaments, but this one is much higher in level than others. I'm very much looking forward to May 25th.
-A couple of words for your fans.
-Thank you all for your support. I'll make a present to all the fans with all my heart – and that's a beautiful fight; I'll show all I'm capable of. I'd like thank in advance all those who will come on May 25 to the “Legend” tournament and will root for me.