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Jirov on a Kazakhstani postage stamp
|Real name||Vassiliy Valeryevich Jirov|
|Height||1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)|
|Reach||188 cm (74 in)|
|Born||4 April 1974|
Balkhash, Kazakh SSR, Soviet Union (now Kazakhstan)
|Wins by KO||32|
Vassiliy Valeryevich Jirov (Russian : Васи́лий Вале́рьевич Жи́ров; born 4 April 1974), sometimes known as Vasily Zhirov, is a Kazakhstani former professional boxer who competed from 1997 to 2009, and held the IBF cruiserweight title from 1999 to 2003. As an amateur he won a gold medal at the 1996 Olympics, as well as consecutive bronzes at the 1993 and 1995 World Championships, all in the light heavyweight division.
Jirov took up boxing in 1986 when he was 12, studying at the Balkhash Technical School. His first coach was Alexander Apachinsky (Merited Trainer of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Master of Sports of the USSR). Jirov later recalled that:
I came to boxing after seeing the movie " Rocky ", I was eager to be like Rocky. The first time in the ring was painful, I welcomed punches, there were bruises. I said that I will go through it, after all it's not so painful, not so sad, it could make life better. My first coach Alexander Ivanovich Apachinsky wanted me to grow up not just a boxer, but to grow up a man. He helped me doing that. He was a tough man, but if you look at life, at that energy of life, its pressure would simply eat you up. He taught me to go all the way, no matter what.
From 1989 to 1991, he became the champion of the Kazakh SSR three times in a row. In 1990 he became the champion of the All-Union Spartakiad of Young Students (4 fights, 4 victories, Moscow,) and also won the USSR Youth Championship (4 fights, 4 victories, Donetsk,) received a degree of Master of Sports of the USSR in boxing.
In 1991, Jirov, who was yet at the junior age class, didn't win the USSR Championship in Saratov (4 fights, 3 wins, 2nd place,) however he received an invitation to the USSR youth team.
In 1994, Vassiliy moved to the light heavyweight division (up to 81 kg.)
In December 1996, Jirov travelled to the United States, where he signed a contract with boxing promoter Bob Arum and began his career as a professional boxer.
European Junior Championships (Middleweight), Edinburgh, Scotland, April 1992:
Chemistry Cup (Light heavyweight), Halle, Germany, March 1995:
Sweden Open (Light heavyweight), Stockholm, Sweden, 1996:
Korean Open (Light heavyweight), Seoul, South Korea, 1995:
Moscow Open (Light heavyweight), Moscow, Russia, October 1995:
Chemistry Cup (Light heavyweight), Halle, Germany, February–March 1996:
Jirov was awarded the Val Barker Trophy for outstanding performance at the 1996 Summer Olympics.
He finished his amateur career having 217 fights under his belt, with a record of 207 wins, 10 losses (no stoppages.)
Jirov made his debut as a professional on 18 January 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 5 May 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 5 December he once again fought in Ukrainian territory. In his first fight as a professional in Ukraine, he beat Alexander Vasiliev in Kyiv by decision in eight rounds.
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 18 September, 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 6 February 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 Álex González. He won three more fights that year, one a world title affair against Julian Letterlough (knockout win in 8).
In 2002 Jirov, then managed by the Sugar Ray Leonard promotion company, defended his crown once that year, beating former world Middleweight champion Jorge Castro of Argentina by a 12-round decision on 1 February 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 26 April 2003, and Jirov suffered his first career defeat, when he lost the IBF cruiserweight title to Toney by a 12-round unanimous decision. On 9 August Jirov came back, beating fringe contender Ernest Mateen by knockout in seven rounds.
On 6 November 2003 he won the NABO regional cruiserweight title with a six-round knockout of Joseph Kiwanuka in Phoenix. Jirov's next fight was against ex-heavyweight champion, Michael Moorer. Jirov was beaten by Moorer via TKO in the ninth round. Over the next six months, Jirov defeated Forrest Neal by knockout in round 3 and defeated Troy Beats by unanimous decision. His next fight was against former heavyweight and cruiserweight contender Orlin Norris. Jirov and Norris fought to a draw.
In his first return bout to the cruiserweight division (April 20, 2006) he defeated Luke Munsen in a unanimous decision.
On 14 July 2007 Jirov defeated Kenny 'The Raven' Craven by TKO in second round of 10 round scheduled bout.
As a heavyweight, Jirov also lost to Joe Mesi by unanimous decision, after throwing a blow to Mesi that resulted in subdural bleeding near the fight's end. It also marked the downturn in Jirov's fighting career, and after a few more fights, he retired in 2009.
Jirov lives in Arizona and works at the Scottsdale Boxing Club as a coach. Reflecting on his time as a fighter, Jirov said: “I travelled the world, got paid and kicked some ass.”
|42 fights||38 wins||3 losses|
|42||Win||38–3–1||Jonathan Williams||TKO||2 (10), 2:52||17 Oct 2009||Celebrity Theatre, Phoenix, Arizona, US|
|41||Win||37–3–1||Kenny Craven||TKO||2 (10), 2:18||14 Jul 2007||4 Bears Casino & Lodge, New Town, North Dakota, US|
|40||Win||36–3–1||Luke Munsen||UD||10||20 Apr 2006||Coeur d'Alene Casino Resort Hotel, Worley, Idaho, US|
|39||Draw||35–3–1||Orlin Norris||MD||8||21 Jul 2005||Palace Indian Gaming Center, Lemoore, California, US|
|38||Win||35–3||Troy Beets||UD||10||14 May 2005||Coushatta Casino Resort, Kinder, Louisiana, US|
|37||Win||34–3||Forrest Neal||TKO||3 (10), 1:10||7 Apr 2005||Pechanga Resort & Casino, Temecula, California, US|
|36||Loss||33–3||Michael Moorer||TKO||9 (12), 2:08||9 Dec 2004||Pechanga Resort & Casino, Temecula, California, US||For vacant WBA North American, WBA–NABA, and WBC Continental Americas heavyweight titles|
|35||Loss||33–2||Joe Mesi||UD||10||13 Mar 2004||Mandalay Bay Events Center, Paradise, Nevada, US|
|34||Win||33–1||Joseph Kiwanuka||RTD||6 (12), 3:00||6 Nov 2003||Celebrity Theatre, Phoenix, Arizona, US||Won vacant WBO–NABO cruiserweight title|
|33||Win||32–1||Ernest Mateen||TKO||7 (10), 1:09||7 Aug 2003||Pechanga Resort & Casino, Temecula, California, US|
|32||Loss||31–1||James Toney||UD||12||26 Apr 2003||Foxwoods Resort Casino, Ledyard, Connecticut, US||Lost IBF cruiserweight title|
|31||Win||31–0||Jorge Castro||UD||12||1 Feb 2002||Celebrity Theatre, Phoenix, Arizona, US||Retained IBF cruiserweight title|
|30||Win||30–0||Julian Letterlough||TKO||8 (12), 1:24||8 Sep 2001||Lawlor Events Center, Reno, Nevada, US||Retained IBF cruiserweight title|
|29||Win||29–0||Adolpho Washington||UD||10||20 Jul 2001||Memorial Civic Center, Canton, Ohio, US|
|28||Win||28–0||Terry McGroom||KO||1 (12), 1:22||24 Mar 2001||MGM Grand Garden Arena, Paradise, Nevada, US||Retained IBF cruiserweight title|
|27||Win||27–0||Alex Gonzales||KO||1 (12), 1:35||6 Feb 2001||Baluan Sholak Sports Palace, Almaty, Kazakhstan||Retained IBF cruiserweight title|
|26||Win||26–0||Earl Butler||TKO||2 (10), 2:35||29 Jul 2000||Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Phoenix, Arizona, US|
|25||Win||25–0||Esteban Pizzarro||KO||2 (10), 2:59||19 May 2000||Playboy Mansion, Los Angeles, California, US|
|24||Win||24–0||Don Normand||TKO||1||25 Mar 2000||Seven Feathers Casino Resort, Canyonville, Oregon, US|
|23||Win||23–0||Saúl Montana||TKO||9 (12), 2:55||12 Feb 2000||Bank of America Centre, Boise, Idaho, US||Retained IBF cruiserweight title|
|22||Win||22–0||Dale Brown||KO||10 (12), 2:52||18 Sep 1999||Mandalay Bay Events Center, Paradise, Nevada, US|
|21||Win||21–0||Arthur Williams||TKO||7 (12), 1:59||5 Jun 1999||Grand Casino, Biloxi, Mississippi, US||Won IBF cruiserweight title|
|20||Win||20–0||Onebo Maxime||KO||5 (12), 2:48||22 Apr 1999||Hilton Anatole, Dallas, Texas, US||Won vacant WBC Continental Americas cruiserweight title|
|19||Win||19–0||Cesar Rendon||KO||1 (8), 0:25||6 Mar 1999||Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, Indio, California, US|
|18||Win||18–0||Alexander Vasiliev||UD||8||5 Dec 1998||Palace of Sports, Kyiv, Ukraine|
|17||Win||17–0||John Kiser||TKO||8 (10), 0:43||3 Oct 1998||Las Vegas Hilton, Winchester, Nevada, US|
|16||Win||16–0||Cliff Nellon||TKO||3 (8), 2:22||6 Aug 1998||Grand Casino Avoyelles, Marksville, Louisiana, US|
|15||Win||15–0||Rich LaMontagne||UD||12||5 May 1998||Grand Casino, Biloxi, Mississippi, US||Won vacant WBC International cruiserweight title|
|14||Win||14–0||Jason Waller||TKO||1, 2:00||14 Mar 1998||Etess Arena, Atlantic City, New Jersey, US|
|13||Win||13–0||Trent Surratt||TKO||2 (8), 2:58||10 Feb 1998||Midnight Rodeo, Phoenix, Arizona, US|
|12||Win||12–0||Jason Nicholson||TKO||2 (10), 2:37||23 Jan 1998||Grand Casino, Tunica, Mississippi, US|
|11||Win||11–0||Art Jimmerson||TKO||2 (10), 2:55||6 Dec 1997||Circus Maximus Showroom, Atlantic City, New Jersey, US|
|10||Win||10–0||Quinton Osgood||TKO||1 (8), 2:15||18 Oct 1997||Star of the Desert Arena, Primm, Nevada, US|
|9||Win||9–0||Calvin Combs||TKO||2 (8), 1:17||12 Sep 1997||Caesars Palace, Paradise, Nevada, US|
|8||Win||8–0||Dennis Matthews||TKO||4 (6), 1:47||5 Jul 1997||Isle of Capri Casino, Lake Charles, Louisiana, US|
|7||Win||7–0||Gesses Mesgana||TKO||2 (8), 2:23||31 May 1998||Etess Arena, Atlantic City, New Jersey, US|
|6||Win||6–0||Tyrone Armstead||RTD||4 (6), 3:00||12 Apr 1997||Tropicana Las Vegas, Paradise, Nevada, US|
|5||Win||5–0||Calvin Smith||TKO||1 (4)||30 Mar 1997||Mohegan Sun Arena, Montville, Connecticut, US|
|4||Win||4–0||Aljenon DeBose||TKO||3 (6), 2:54||8 Mar 1997||Convention Center, Albuquerque, New Mexico, US|
|3||Win||3–0||Chuck Miller||TKO||4, 2:38||12 Feb 1997||The Theater at Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, US|
|2||Win||2–0||Exum Speight||TKO||3 (6), 2:00||28 Jan 1997||Club Rio, Tempe, Arizona, US|
|1||Win||1–0||Vincent Brown||TKO||2 (6), 1:29||18 Jan 1997||Thomas & Mack Center, Paradise, Nevada, US|
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|Regional boxing titles|
Title last held byJuan Carlos Gómez
| WBC International|
5 May 1998 – 22 April 1999
Won Continental Americas title
Title next held byWayne Braithwaite
Title last held byElieser Castillo
| WBC Continental Americas|
22 April 1999 – June 1999
Title next held byJason Robinson
Title last held byRavea Springs
| WBO–NABO |
6 November 2003 – December 2003
Title next held byJermell Barnes
|World boxing titles|
| IBF cruiserweight champion |
5 June 1999 – 26 April 2003