Vassiliy Jirov

From Academic Kids

Vassiliy Valeryvich Jirov (born April 4, 1974), better known in the boxing world plainly as Vassiliy Jirov, is a boxer who was born in Balgash, Kazakhstan, then still part of the Soviet Union. Jirov is proud of being from Kazakhstan: He has made sure to clarify that he is a Kazak, not a Russian, many times when interviewed in television.

Jirov won the Olympic gold medal at Atlanta in 1996.

Soon after, he moved to the United States, settling in Scottsdale, Arizona, where he married and began to train at the SAR Club's boxing gym.

Jirov made his debut as a professional on January 18, 1997, with a two round knockout of Vince Brown in Las Vegas. He won eleven fights that first year, all by knockout, including wins over Exum Speight and Art Jimmerson. In 1998, he won eight fights, six before the final bell. On May 5, he won the WBC's regional Cruiserweight title with a 12 round decision over Rich La Montaigne, who became the first boxer to last the full distance against Jirov. On December 5, he once again fought in Russian territory. In his first fight as a professional in Russia, he beat Alex Vassilev in Kiev by decision in eight.

In 1999, Jirov was given his first world title try: In front of an HBO Boxing audience, he beat IBF world Cruiserweight champion Arthur Williams by a knockout in seven rounds at Biloxi, Mississippi, to become that organization's world Cruiserweight champion.

For his first defense, he fought at the main supportive event at the Felix Trinidad-Oscar De La Hoya undercard on September 18, retaining the crown with a ten round knockout of Canadian Dale Brown.

In 2000, he beat Saul Montana by knockout in round nine to retain the world title on an Univision televised fight, and won two non-title bouts, including one over Esteban Pizarro at the Playboy mansion.

On February 6, 2001, Jirov went to Kazakhstan to defend his crown in his home-country for the first time. There, he retained the title with a first round knockout of Alex Gonzalez. He won three more fights that year, one a world title affair against Julian Letterlough (knockout win in 10).

In 2002 Jirov, by then managed by the Sugar Ray Leonard promotion company, had begun to have career problems, and he was able to defend his crown once that year, beating former world Middleweight champion Jorge Castro of Argentina by a 12 round decision on February 1 at the Celebrity Theater in Phoenix. Talks had begun about a fight of his against former multiple division world champion James Toney. However, negotiations took long and Jirov spent more than one year outside the ring, time in which the IBF threatened to take away recognition of Jirov as world champion if he did not defend his crown soon. As a result of these managerial problems, Jirov also moved from the SAR club gym, favored by his management, to Joe Diaz's Gym, near Downtown Phoenix.

Jirov and Toney finally met on April 26 of 2003, and Jirov suffered his first career defeat, when he lost the IBF's world Cruiserweight title to Toney by a 12 round unanimous decision. On August 9, Jirov came back, beating fringe contender Ernest Mateen by knockout in seven rounds.

On November 6, he won the NABO regional Cruiserweight title with a six round knockout of Joseph Kiwanuka in Phoenix, at a card where former world champion Willie Jorrin also boxed.

Despite dropping his next rival, Joe Mesi, three times in the last two rounds, Jirov lost a ten round unanimous decision to Mesi during his Heavyweight debut, on March 13, 2004, at Las Vegas.

Jirov is in the middle of a lawsuit against Leonard's company.

His record stands at 33 wins and 2 losses, with 29 wins by knockout


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