Hanan out to put fellow Kiwi in his place

Sweet Hands versus the Russian Rocky — the tale of two New Zealand super-welterweights.

Alex Hanan
Alex Hanan
Dunedin’s Alex "Sweet Hands" Hanan will step up for the biggest bout of his career when he fights Andrei Mikhailovich, the glamour boy of New Zealand boxing.

The pair are on the undercard of the fight between NRL great Paul Gallen and Australian heavyweight Justis Huni in Sydney on June 16.

Mikhailovich’s resemblance with fictional character Captain Ivan Drago from the Rocky series has not gone unnoticed. His steely good looks, silky skills and potty mouth have helped keep him in the headlines.

The 23-year-old also has an interesting back story which is far more compelling than the plot of the various Rocky films.

He and his twin brother were adopted from an orphanage in St Petersburg when they were 18 months old.

Andrei had some serious wobbles in his early teens. He turned to alcohol and synthetic cannabis. But he discovered boxing and turned his life around.

He is 15-0 and seemingly destined for great things in the ring if you buy into the hype.

Hanan does not buy into the hype.

"He is a dude I’ve never fought because of the draw. But we would be at the nationals together and I’d come away with the titles," Hanan said.

The 22-year-old was born and raised in Dunedin. He moved to Australia four years ago to pursue his boxing career.

He is unbeaten in 13 professional bouts. His exploits are not as well known as his more high-profile opponent.

But he has been featuring in various articles in the Otago Daily Times since he won the New Zealand Golden Gloves junior lightweight title in 2014 as a 15-year-old.

Back then he was dubbed a young white Sugar Ray Robinson by his coach.

He first professional fight in April, 2017 lasted just 28 seconds. He dispatched his Thailand opponent, Fahmongkol Liangprasert, with a cracking body shot.

Hanan has collected seven wins by knockout and the other six wins have all been by unanimous decision.

It is fair to say the calibre of his opponents has not been great.

His last fight was against veteran southpaw Aswin Cabuy last month. Cabuy (46) made his debut in 2001 and has a record of 19 wins, 74 losses and four draws.

Mikhailovich has had a rather gentle run as well, with the exception of his last fight against Shay Brock.

The pair fought for the New Zealand super-welterweight title in Auckland last month. Mikhailovich got the knockout win in the ninth round.

"It is easy to be No1 in New Zealand and that is why we came over to Australia,"Hanan said.

"We wanted to test ourselves. I’ve been chasing this fight for about three years and now it is here, I’m over the moon.

"You have to respect everyone you get in the ring with but he has never fought anyone like me.

"He has not had the calibre of training partners and coaches that I’ve had, so I’m confident in my ability. We’ll get the job done."

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