British fight fans will have been disappointed that George Groves was unsuccessful in his recent challenge for the WBC Super-Middleweight title against Badou Jack in Las Vegas, but perhaps not as disappointed as fellow Briton, Frank Buglioni (17-1-1, 13 KOs) who will challenge Fedor Chudinov (13-0, 10 KOs) for the WBA Super-Middleweight title, at Wembley Arena on Saturday the 26th September.
Buglioni has been dreaming of world titles and unification fights in the Super-Middleweight division against fellow Britons; IBF champion James DeGale and George Groves, had he been victorious in Las Vegas.
The popular Londoner told Boxing News Magazine, “Once I pick up a world title belt all those big domestic clashes open up for me. I see myself on a level with those guys and a win against Chudinov will prove that.”
Nicknamed “The Wise Guy,” in a nod to his Italian heritage, the articulate Buglioni has all the right characteristics to be a star in boxing. His work as a model and actor undermine his boxing acumen, he was 60-10 as an amateur winning many of those fights by stoppage along the way to picking up two national titles. He was also selected to train with the GB Boxing team in 2010 but opted to join the professional ranks in 2011.
Since then he has built a reputation as a hard hitting Super-Middleweight but Fedor Chudinov remains the biggest test of his career.
The Russian also enjoys a reputation as a ferocious puncher and cannot be underestimated. He arrived on the world stage with back to back stoppages of hard punching undefeated prospects; Andy Perez and Ben McCulloch.
In his last fight he beat former world middleweight champion Felix Strum in Germany by split decision to win the vacant WBA title.
There was a time when it would have been impossible to beat Strum in his native Germany on points, but Chudinov’s speed, power and ability to adapt over the twelve rounds was enough to impress the judges. It’s true that at thirty-six years of age that Strum’s best years are behind him but he still remains a formidable fighter especially in Germany.
This will be a stiff test for Buglioni. The only blemishes on his record are a stoppage loss to Sergy Khomitsky in April 2014 and a draw with Lee Markham in May 2015.
Khomitsky has a reputation for being one of the hardest men in boxing and is considered a gatekeeper for aspiring world champions having mixed it up with Ryan Rhodes, Martin Murray (twice), Robert Stieglitz and Gennady Golovkin. When he fought Buglioni he stalked him around the ring having particular success landing overhand rights. When Khomitsky piled on the pressure in the sixth he hurt Buglioni and the fight was stopped by the Londoners corner. Buglioni bounced back with four wins in a row, three by stoppage before his draw with Lee Markham which was an absolute barnstormer and a fight of the year candidate.
Since his sole loss to Khomitsky, Buglioni has enlisted the help of former world champion Steve Collins and his brother Paschal as his new training team and moved his camp to Dublin. He has stopped four of his last six opponents, but it should be noted those opponents have each lost four of their last six fights.
The difference in this one may come down to quality. The slightly more experienced Buglioni enjoys height and reach advantages over Chudinov, but the blueprint for beating the Londoner may lie in the Khomitsky fight. Buglioni remains too easy a target for his opponents to hit. The early stages of the fight will tell us if the Collins brothers will have been able to make a difference but it is hard to see how Buglioni can adjust to the speed, power and pressure of Chudinov. As a of interest it is worth noting that Chudinov is currently trained by Roy Jones Jr. who in recent years was suggested as an opponent for Steve Collins in a proposed comeback fight.
Considering all that, Buglioni can still take inspiration from previous Super-Middleweight champions such as Nigel Benn and his trainer Steve Collins who overcame setbacks early in their careers to go on and win world titles. This should be an entertaining fight and is indicative of the strength and depth of talent within the Super-Middleweight division both domestically and on the world scene.