Saudi Arabia accuses Lebanon of being ‘kidnapped’ by Hezbollah & ‘declaring war’ on Riyadh

Riyadh has accused Lebanon of “declaring war” on Saudi Arabia by allowing Hezbollah “aggression” against the Gulf Kingdom. Earlier, the Lebanese militant group accused the Saudis of forcing Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri out of office.
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Hariri unexpectedly announced his resignation on Saturday in a televised statement recorded in Saudi Arabia. In his resignation speech, Hariri accused Iran and Hezbollah of a “desire to destroy the Arab world.” The next day, the leader of the Lebanese Hezbollah, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, accused Saudi Arabia of forcing the premier out of office and writing his resignation statement for him. Tehran meanwhile firmly rejected Hariri’s accusations, saying that Iran only seeks “peace and stability” and pointing out its “excellent” relationship with Beirut.

Amid the political uncertainty, on Monday the Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya news network reported that King Salman had met with Hariri in Riyadh, where the monarch shared the details of Hezbollah’s alleged aggression against Saudi Arabia.

According to the Saudi Minister of State for Gulf Affairs, Thamer al-Sabhan, Hezbollah is accused of smuggling drugs and providing terrorist training to Saudi youngsters. During the meeting, King Salman allegedly accused the Lebanese militant group of being involved in “every terrorist act that threatens Saudi Arabia,” Al-Arabiya reported. The ruler of the kingdom also allegedly vowed to use “all political and other means” to confront Hezbollah, which he called the “Party of Satan.”

“We will treat the government of Lebanon as a government declaring war because of Hezbollah militias,” Al-Sabhan told al-Arabiya. “Lebanon is kidnapped by the militias of Hezbollah and behind it is Iran.”

“We expect the Lebanese government to act to deter Hezbollah,” the minister said. “The Lebanese must all know these risks and work to fix matters before they reach the point of no return.”

READ MORE: Saudi Arabia blames Iran for missile launched from Yemen, warns it could be considered ‘act of war’

Al-Sabhan did not clarify what actions Saudi Arabia might take against Lebanon. There was also no immediate reaction from Beirut, where Lebanese President Michel Aoun is yet to accept the prime minister’s resignation. Aoun plans to decide on the issue after Hariri returns to Lebanon from Saudi Arabia, presidential spokesman Nabih Berri told reporters Monday.

Russian and American troops are within ‘hand-grenade range’ of each other in Syria as they overlap while fighting ISIS, warn US commanders

 

  • Russian and US troops are working with Kurdish YPG fighters to combat ISIS
  • A defense expert warns that ‘escalation is bound to happen’ between troops
  • US Central Command said, however, that military commanders are working together to avoid accidental casualties and inadvertently striking one another 
  • Russia wants an ‘alliance’ with the US and to be ‘recognized as an equal partner’ 
  • During the first two weeks of March, the troops worked together to stop the Turkish army from entering Manbij, a town in the Aleppo region of Syria

Archive

Russian troops are within ‘hand-grenade range’ of American forces in parts of Syria, sparking fears of escalated tension in the region.

The two nations are working together with Kurdish YPG fighters in the country to combat ISIS in Syria and neighboring Iraq.

Though the countries’ commanders are in contact, the Pentagon stopped military-to-military cooperation following Russia’s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula.

Recently the forces ‘have converged literally within hand-grenade range of one another’, warned Army Lt. Gen. Steven Townsend, the commander of Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve.

US and Russian troops are working together with Kurdish YPG fighters in the country to combat ISIS in Syria and neighboring Iraq. Pictured above, American army vehicles drive north of Manbij city, in Aleppo Governorate, Syria
US and Russian troops are working together with Kurdish YPG fighters in the country to combat ISIS in Syria and neighboring Iraq. Pictured above, American army vehicles drive north of Manbij city, in Aleppo Governorate, Syria.

‘Escalation is bound to happen,’ Andreas Krieg, a professor at the Defense Studies Department at King’s College London, told NBC News.

US Central Command said, however, that military commanders are working together to avoid accidental casualties and inadvertently striking one another.

Russia wants ‘an alliance between Russia and the United States in fighting terrorism, and to be recognized as an equal partner with the United States’, Igor Sutyagin, a senior research fellow at London’s Royal United Services Institute, told NBC.

He said an alliance would strengthen its ‘international standing as a power and its position with its own people’.

Kreig added that US and Russian interests in the Middle East are ‘overlapping to a huge extent’.

‘Fighting ISIS and fighting the jihadis is absolutely the first priority of the [Donald] Trump administration,’ he told NBC News. ‘This is why [Defense Secretary James] Mattis is going so hardcore after ISIS. And almost everything goes as long as they are fighting jihadis at the same time.’

As of last month, there were approximately 1,000 US troops fighting on the ground, while there are between 1,600 and 4,500 Russian troops in the same area.

US commanders are weighing the possibility of deploying hundreds more troops, and the Pentagon this week announced it had provided artillery support and choppered local forces behind enemy lines in a bid to seize a strategic dam.

During the first two weeks of March, the troops worked together to stop the Turkish army from entering Manbij, a town in the Aleppo region of Syria.

A witness told NBC that he saw Russian, Syrian and US troops all within three miles from one another at separate bases near the town on March 12.

Before teaming up with Kurdish fighters, US and Russian troops were on different sides of the Syrian civil war.

Russia has been a main backer of Syrian President Bashar Assad and played a key role in turning the tide of war in his favor.

Observers have called into question whether the Pentagon is allowing civilian casualties to mount.

Military officials vehemently deny this and stress that civilian safety is a top priority in approving any strike.

Airwars, a London-based collective of journalists and researchers, said Friday it had become so overwhelmed tracking civilian deaths allegedly caused by US and coalition planes that it has stopped tracking Russian strikes.

Airwars, a London-based collective of journalists and researchers, said Friday it had become so overwhelmed tracking civilian deaths allegedly caused by US and coalition planes that it has stopped tracking Russian strikes. Pictured above, Members of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), made up of an alliance of Arab and Kurdish fighters

Airwars, a London-based collective of journalists and researchers, said Friday it had become so overwhelmed tracking civilian deaths allegedly caused by US and coalition planes that it has stopped tracking Russian strikes. Pictured above, Members of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), made up of an alliance of Arab and Kurdish fighters

‘The decision to temporarily suspend our Russia strike assessments has been a very difficult one to take,’ Airwars director Chris Woods said.

‘Moscow is still reportedly killing hundreds of civilians in Syria every month. But with coalition casualty claims escalating so steeply – and with very limited Airwars resources – we believe our key focus at present needs to be on the US-led alliance.’

The Pentagon has acknowledged at least 220 civilians have been unintentionally killed since operations to defeat IS began in late summer 2014. Airwars estimates the real number to be more than 10 times that.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said a coalition air strike early Tuesday killed 33 displaced civilians near the town of Al-Mansura west of Raqa.

A US defense official stressed that any extra deaths are a result of fighting occurring in more densely packed urban areas, such as Mosul in Iraq and around Raqa in Syria.

Syrian forces now control of territory up to 16 kilometers (13 miles) around the historic town of Palmyra, and they have recently seized control of high ground held by IS along a highway connecting Palmyra and the capital, Damascus.

Syrian troops fully recaptured Palmyra earlier this month after a push that saw the IS’s defenses crumble and their fighters flee in the face of artillery fire and intense Russia-backed airstrikes.

The Syrian government had seized the town from Islamic State militants last March, only to lose it again ten months later.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4359594/Russian-troops-Syria-hand-grenade-range.html#ixzz4xizkDzV5

 

Russia may keep its bases in Syria after terrorists defeated

The Russian military has said its military operation in Syria is coming to a conclusion as more than 90 percent of the territory of the war-torn country had been freed from terrorists.

The scale of withdrawal of Russian troops from Syria after the defeat of Daesh terrorists will depend on the situation, but both Russian military bases will most likely stay in the country, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Oleg Syromolotov told Sputnik.

Syromolotov added that Daesh still controls some 10 percent of the territory it used to control, while the Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (formerly known as Nusra Front, a terrorist group banned in Russia) is still active, and the fight against it continues. Apart from that, there are numerous separate groups in Syria that sometimes fight under the flags of larger organizations, and sometimes act on their own, the deputy foreign minister added.

“Sometimes, very unexpected actors join the fight, ones that were not represented on the field, and then they appeared and the situation changes drastically,” Syromolotov explained.

He added that the elections in Iraqi Kurdistan, both presidential and parliamentary, set for July 2018, could also affect further development of the situation in the region.

“Therefore it is pointless right now to guarantee [something] and set time frames,” Syromolotov concluded.

Russia has two bases in Syria, namely the Hmeimim airbase and the naval facility in Tartus. Apart from them, the Reconciliation Center of the Russian Defense Ministry is also working in Syria.

Massive 13 million page leak called “Paradise Papers” will soon expose many celebrities and politicians offshore financial affairs

A little bit of background to the Paradise Papers.

The papers are a huge batch of leaked documents mostly from offshore law firm Appleby, along with corporate registries in 19 tax jurisdictions, which reveal the financial dealings of politicians, celebrities, corporate giants and business leaders.

The 13.4 million documents were passed to German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung and then shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). Panorama has led research for the BBC as part of a global investigation involving nearly 100 other media organisations, including the Guardian, in 67 countries.

The BBC does not know the identity of the source.

More info:

http://www.bbc.com/news/live/world-41879690?ns_mchannel=social&ns_campaign=bbc_breaking&ns_source=twitter&ns_linkname=news_central

http://truepundit.com/paradise-papers-leak-reveals-secrets-of-world-elites-hidden-wealth/

Justin Trudeau’s chief fundraiser, who helped him rise to power, moved millions of dollars into offshore tax haven, Paradise Papers reveal.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5053865/Justin-Trudeau-s-chief-fundraiser-Paradise-Papers-link.html

GOVERNMENT SPYING AND NSA

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LATER, CLAPPER ADMITTED HE LIED TO CONGRESS UNDER OATH (A CRIME) — US GOV’T IS ILLEGALLY SPYING ON EVERY AMERICAN (A CRIME) — YET NOTHING HAS BEEN DONE TO CLAPPER AND THE US SPY APPARATUSSO NOW IT’S CLEAR, THE US GOVERNMENT IS A CRIME ORGANISATION THAT CANNOT BE TRUSTED

PROGRESSIVES + SOCIALISTS + COMMUNISTS = LEFT-WING RADICALS

 ANTI-CAPITALISTS = UN-AMERICAN

JUDGE: NSA IS A CRIMINAL ORGANIZATION

2nd Judge Agrees

Snowden Vindicated

Rand Paul Applauds

Journalists Rip 60 Minutes for ‘Embarrassing’, Uncritical NSA Report

NSA Director Alexander has to Ask Permission to Answer a Question

EU businesses say goodbye to UK suppliers and key relationships

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Nearly two-thirds of EU businesses to move their supply chain out of the UK

Nearly two-thirds (63 per cent) of EU businesses who work with UK suppliers expect to move some of their supply chain out of the UK as a result of Brexit according to a survey from the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS). This is a dramatic shift from May, when just 44 per cent of EU businesses were expecting to move out of the UK.

The survey of 1,118 supply chain managers in the UK and Europe also finds that two fifths (40 per cent) of UK businesses with EU suppliers have begun the search for domestic suppliers to replace their EU partners, up from 31 per cent in May. Just over a quarter (26 per cent), however, are taking the opposite approach and investing more time to strengthen their relationship with valuable suppliers on the Continent.

The shift comes as the Brexit negotiations appear to be deadlocked with half of UK businesses saying they are becoming less confident that the UK and EU will secure a deal which continues to offer ‘free and frictionless trade’, while 35 per cent of UK businesses feel unable to prepare due to the lack of progress on a future trade relationship.

This uncertainty has meant that one in five (20 per cent) UK businesses with EU suppliers have found it difficult to secure contracts that run after March 2019. Indeed, despite a formal separation still being some time away, nearly one in ten (eight per cent) of UK businesses said their organisation has already lost contracts as a result of Brexit with 14 per cent believing part or all of their organisation’s operations will no longer be viable.

Supply chain managers are clear where the Government should focus as the next phase of the negotiations begin with 73 per cent saying keeping tariffs and quotas between the UK and Europe to a minimum should be the main priority for the negotiations.

A quarter (25 per cent) of UK businesses with more than 250 employees have already spent at least £100,000 preparing their supply chain for the split. These costs come in addition to the daily impact of currency fluctuation with 64 per cent of UK businesses saying this has made their supply chains more expensive to manage. Businesses are still not doing enough to adequately prepare however. Only 14 per cent of UK businesses with EU suppliers feel like they are sufficiently prepared for Brexit.

Gerry Walsh, Group CEO, CIPS said: “The Brexit negotiating teams promise that progress will be made soon, but it is already too late for scores of businesses who look like they will be deserted by their European partners. British businesses simply cannot put their suppliers and customers on hold while the negotiators get their act together.

“While the TV cameras are fixed on Brussels, the deals which will determine the future prosperity of Britain and Europe are being struck behind closed doors in businesses large and small. The lack of clarity coming from both sides is already shaping the British economy of the future – and it does not fill businesses with confidence.

“The success of the negotiations should not be measured on the final deal only but on how quickly both sides can provide certainty. The clock is ticking.”

The supply chain cost of Brexit

UK businesses suffering extra costs as a result of currency fluctuation 64 per cent

EU businesses who plan to move their supply chains out of the UK 63 per cent

UK businesses struggling to secure contracts that run until after March 2019 20 per cent

UK businesses that have postponed or cancelled contracts due to the uncertainty created

15 per cent Large*

UK businesses who have spent more than £100,000 preparing for Brexit 25 per cent

 

Ilyushin 76 plane with servicemen, equipment and food on board was shot down at Lugansk airport

Archive~article quite old , but provides insight

 

SLAVYANSK, June 14 (ITAR-TASS). Ukrainian armed forces opened artillery fire on central Slavyansk, the Donetsk region, a local militia source told Itar-Tass on Saturday.

An area near a hospital was under fire. Shells hit several buildings near the hospital, the source said.

According to reports not confirmed yet, several shells hit a school.

Meanwhile, defenders (militia) in the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic launched a counteroffensive to free the town of Schastye (“happiness”) earlier seized by Ukrainian forces, the press service of the republic said on Saturday.

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According to earlier reports, a column of armoured vehicles of the Ukrainian Armed Forces was moving toward Lugansk from Schastye. “Preparations are underway to defend the city,” one of the republic’s leaders said. There was no information about the strength of the Ukrainian force that was on the way to Lugansk.

A militia source said that defenders had to retreat to Lugansk during the assault against Schastye, when Kiev’s forces used combat helicopters. The defenders regrouped. Militia sources also said Ukrainian troops lost eight people in fighting near Schastye.

One of militiamen also said that when they retreated under the assault of Ukrainian armoured forces, members of the Ukrainian National Guards shot dead six-seven wounded militiamen.

The press service of the Donetsk People’s Republic told Itar-Tass that defenders shot down a Su-24 bomber of the Ukrainian Armed Forces near Gorlovka, the Donetsk region.

Two Su-24s attacked the police department building in Gorlovka with cluster bombs. One of the planes was shot down from a portable antiaircraft gun, a source said. The plane fell outside the city. The pilot bailed out. Groups of defenders went to search for the pilot.

The shelling of the police building, the headquarters of the local militia (self defence force), killed one and injured five people. One of them is in heavy condition.

A military transport plane with 49 people on board was shot down at Lugansk airport overnight.

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“About 01:10 on June 14, 2014, when landing at Lugansk airport, an Il-76 military transport plane of the Ukrainian Armed Forces was downed by a shot from an antiaircraft missile system. On board the plane, aside from nine crewmembers, were 40 servicemen. All died,” the press service of the prosecutor’s office said.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has declared mourning for June 15 over the crash of the Ilyushin-76 military transport plane at Lugansk airport.

The president also ordered to call a meeting of the Council of National Security and Defence in connection with the latest developments in the east of the country.

“I declare Sunday a day of mourning for our military. It is a heavy loss not only for the families, but for the entire country,” he said in a statement on his website.

Poroshenko ordered the Council of National Security and Defence to meet and pledged to give an adequate response in connection with the latest developments in eastern Ukraine.

The Ukrainian Defence Ministry earlier confirmed that an Il-76 plane with servicemen, equipment and food on board was shot down at Lugansk airport overnight. Later, the Ukrainian prosecutor’s office confirmed that 49 servicemen died in the crash.

More:
http://tass.com/world/736054

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UKRAINIAN ARMED FORCES OPEN HEAVY ARTILLERY FIRE ON DPR FORCES IN REGION OF DONBASS

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The Armed Forces of Ukraine reactivated in Donetsk by opening fire at Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) army positions and towns near the front on November 5, according to Anna-news. Two children and one adult were injured, one child killed. A high number of civilians was evacuated.

82mm and 120mm mortars, 122mm and 152mm howitzers, and BM-21 Grad multiple rocket launchers are reported to have been used.  “2126 shots have been fired by Armed Forces of Ukraine at Donetsk People’s Republic in 24 hours,” DPR representative in the Joint Control and Coordination Center, Ruslan Yakubov, said.

DPR forces have retaliated, destroying two howitzer batteries, according to DPR leader Alexander Zakharchenko. He also added that Ukraine may have attacked because of a possible meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Vietnam this week.

The north of Donetsk and 22 towns near the front were caught in the fire. Eight houses and a car were damaged. Donetsk water purification installation was also damaged due to the attack. One adult was injured. Three children were heavily injured while playing in the playground, with one dying in a hospital. Thousands of civilians were evacuated from Donetsk.

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DPR’s command stated that the reason for escalation in Donbass is possibly connected with Ukrainian forces trying to cover up the real reason behind the Opitniy munition depots explosions, reported to have happened on the day of the attack, according to DPR’s operative commander deputy Eduard Basurin.

“We do not rule out the escalation may be due to an attempt of the Ukrainian forces to conceal the real reason behind the Opitniy munition depots going up in flames, which are the overloading the depots with ammo, poor storage conditions of explosives and violations of the storage norms,” Basurin said.

Ukrainian forces allegedly tried to provoke return fire, so that it can be blamed for “their own mistakes resulting in them losing their ammunition near Opitniy,” he said.

A vice admiral of Ukrainian Naval Forces Igor Voronchenko has established a new award named the Iron Cross. It is dedicated to 25th anniversary of the Ukrainian Navy. The weird thing is that the medal is reported to has been “made out of the weaponry that our enemies used in battle against [Ukrainian] navy forces,” and the report did not elaborate which battles exactly “provided” the weaponry in question.

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ALLAH BE PRAISED !ISIS “CALIPHATE” IS WITNESSING ITS LAST DAYS IN SYRIA AND IRAQ

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Happily the self-proclaimed evil caliphate of ISIS has suffered a double blow in Syria and Iraq. While US-backed forces were democratically negotiating with ISIS-linked Arab tribes in the Omar oil fields and nearby areas, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) Tiger Forces and the Republican Guard supported by the Russian Aerospace Forces undemocratically crushed the ISIS defense inside Deir Ezzor city. On November 3, Syrian forces liberated Deir Ezzor after they had retaken all neighborhoods which were controlled by ISIS terrorists in the northern part of the city. On November 4, the SAA secured Kati’ Island north of Deir Ezzor and secured the recent gains.

The SAA lifted the three-years long ISIS siege from Deir Ezzor city on September 5 and from Deir Ezzor Airport on September 10. Government troops needed less than a month to liberate the entire area.

Meanwhile, the Iraqi Army and the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) often referred by the mainstream media as “Iranian proxies” broke the ISIS defense in the al-Qaim countryside. Iraqi forces liberated the town on November 3.

Thus, al-Bukamal remained the only major town controlled by ISIS on the highway between Deir Ezzor and Baghdad. As soon as the Syrian part of highway is liberated by the SAA and its allies, Iraq and Syria will establish a constant major supply line between two countries. Thus, the last gap in a land route linking Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon will be filled.

Furthermore, a Russian-made T-90 battle tank and a Shilka vehicle equipped with the Syrian-made Sarab-1 active protection were spotted near al-Qaim inside Iraq. The both equipment pieces were operated under the flag of Kata’ib Hezbollah. Kata’ib Hezbollah is an Iranian-backed Iraqi Shia militia. It’s a part of the PMU and operates in both Syria and Iraq. In Syria, the group actively supports military operations of the Damascus government.

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ISIS and their cruel “retribution”, just a murderous horrible bunch

This is a clear evidence that Damascus, Baghdad, Tehran and Moscow coordinate their efforts against ISIS in the Syrian-Iraqi border area.

On November 1, November 2, November 3 and November 4, Russian Tu-22M3 strategic bombers conducted massive strikes on ISIS weapons depots, fortified positions and command posts near al-Bukamal. Russia’s attack submarine Kolpino also launched six Kalibr cruise missiles on ISIS positions in the area on November 3.

These strikes took place amid the ongoing Syrian advance on al-Bukamal. The SAA and Hezbollah are advancing on the town from the T2 pumping station direction and the Tiger Forces are advancing from the direction of al-Mayadin. According to local sources, ISIS members are in disarray in the town. So, it will not take many time from Syrian forces to liberate it.

As soon as al-Bukamal and Rawah, the ISIS-held Iraqi town on the eastern bank of Euphrates, are liberated, ISIS’ Caliphate will be officially defeated in Syria and Iraq. ISIS will become a common terrorist group without a unified control over territory and governing bodies.

According to local sources, right now a large number of ISIS members, especially foreigners, are fleeing Syria and Iraq. The former ISIS members will soon appear in their countries of origin across Europe, North Africa, Asia and Middle East. The ISIS leadership may also make attempt to use some African or Asian countries, like Libya, Egypt, Somalia, Malaysia, Philippines, Afghanistan and others, to establish new rear bases and training camps. However, without an independent source of revenue, like illegal oil trading, this effort will be unsuccessful without an additional support of some powers interested in spreading instability in the particular regions.

ISIS, in form of a terrorist state, is witnessing its last days. However, this does not mean that Syria and Iraq will face calm soon. There are still lots of ISIS sleeper cells and former ISIS supporters in these countries, a Syrian al-Qaeda branch (now known as Hayat Tahrir al-Sham) controls Idlib, and the Kurdish-Arab tensions are smoldering in northern Syria and Iraq. These issues cannot be ignored and will become an important part of the post-ISIS standoff in the region.

‘Only a bad soldier doesn’t dream of being a general’ – Russian boxing world champ Dmitry Bivol

Russian boxing world champion Dmitry Bivol is fast becoming one of the most talked-about fighters not only within hardcore boxing circles, but around the world.
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With a relaxed and humble demeanor, maturity, and solid boxing skills, the 26-year-old Bivol has quickly established a solid fanbase, which is rapidly growing in size and fervor.

In short, more and more people are paying to see the Kyrgyz-born, St. Petersburg-based fighter practice his trade.

Following a standout stint in the amateurs, Bivol has been carving out a path for himself in the paid ranks, where he currently holds an unbeaten 11-0 record. He has thus far been guided by Russian-American manager Vadim Kornilov, and has consequently fought in his home country and stateside, picking up the World Boxing Association (WBA) interim title on along the way.

Last month, Bivol was elevated to full WBA champ, joining only countrymen Murat Gassiev and Denis Lebedev as Russian world title holders. With his career is still very much in its fledgling stages, Bivol holds the distinction of having won a light heavyweight world title with the fewest fights.

READ MORE: Russian boxer Bivol gets Australian test in Monaco for WBA light heavyweight world title

Saturday’s fight, under the bright lights of Monaco, against Trent Broadhurst, the challenger from Australia with a solid but not spectacular 20-1 record, will be his first voluntary defense of the title he won outside the ring.

Speaking from his training base in Monte Carlo, Bivol talked to RT Sport about his idols, ambitions, newfound cult favorite status, and will to dominate the division for years to come.

RT Sport: Right now, there is only Murat Gassiev and Denis Lebedev from Russia who have world championship belts. How much of an honor would it be for you to join their company?

Dmitry Bivol: In actual fact, I don’t really dwell on such things as how many champions we have in Russia. I don’t worry about it. For me, it’s important to just be champion – that in itself is great. And to criticize us for how many of us there are I don’t really dwell on.

RT: How would you rate your progress since moving out to the United States?

DB: I haven’t moved to the States, but our last training camp took place there. I think it really has its own benefits because we have extremely good sparring with some really good boxers.

RT: What has helped your development most of all by training in America?

DB: I always say in interviews and I always say that in America, the training is good because there are really good sparring partners there and it helps a boxer’s development. The best training for a boxer is of course sparring. There you can test all that you have worked on with your trainer on the pads, on the bags. To test is the main thing, and then you can make some more improvements. In a word, sparring.

RT: Do you see perhaps yourself and Gassiev as the next generation of Russia boxers?

DB: I think you could say that and not just me and Murat. There are a lot of talented young Russian boxers, who can also soon become champions.

RT: Which boxers did you idolize when growing up, from Russia and around the world?

DB: Initially, when I was little, there was a lot of talk about Mike Tyson’s name, not being into boxing and watching his fights you thought, ‘Wow, he’s such a strong fighter, with incredibly big powerful arms, I also want to be like him.’ I also really liked such boxers as Muhammad Ali, of course – he’s an idol of boxing. Then Roy Jones Jr, he was a huge name in the early 2000s, I would eagerly await each one of his fights. Then I became acquainted with the skills of Sugar Ray Leonard. I still think of him as my favorite boxer, whose fights I love to watch on repeat a few dozen times – I admire his speed and footwork.

RT: You have quite a cult following, especially among UK boxing fans. Did you know you were something of a cult favorite?

DB: In my last two fights, yeah, my fanbase has increased beyond Russia. They are the guys who are always in the gym in America, let’s say, and whichever gym we go to there will be at least one guy who will come up and say, ‘Oh, I saw your fight on the Kovalev-Ward undercard,’ or, ‘I saw your fight on ShowTime’ against Samuel Clarkson. Also, here, in Monaco, guys from the English promotional company Matchroom said they’ve seen my fights and they were amazing, they loved them. So yeah, I’ve noticed it.

Read more

Dmitry Bivol

RT: Andre Ward retired a month ago. How did you react to that?

DB: There’s of course a lot to say about Ward’s retirement. First, I want to say that I really respect him as a boxer, because he is a very good champion and a talent. And I will tell you why: because there have been many times where we haven’t believed in him, starting in the amateurs when we thought our Russian boxer, [Evgeny] Makarenko, would beat him in the Olympic Games. In reality, Ward beat Makarenko and went on to become Olympic champion. It was as if it was a one-off. Then there was the ‘Super Six’ super middleweight tournament. Nobody imagined that Andre Ward would win – he won that tournament easily. Then the fights with Kovalev – he won those fights, too. Yes, the first is very debatable, and probably Kovalev even won, that’s what I thought. But in the second fight, he was able to adjust, he was able to professionally move forward, and he did so much for the victory. All said and done, he is a very good boxer, who is still actually quite young and could give the public a few more entertaining fights. Naturally, with such a master boxer, a lot of people who have sparred with him tell me he is a unique fighter. I, myself, would like to test my skills in the ring with a boxer like Ward. We reacted to the news that he’d retired a little surprised of course, but really it’s understandable. He explained it perfectly that his body isn’t following along. You can understand that because you can see how he goes into every fight so well, even if the fight went easy. A boxer’s body and wellbeing becomes damaged from the training sessions for these kind of fights, rather than the fights themselves. The training camps are brutal.

RT: Is it your goal to emulate him, not only in the light-heavyweight division, but in his outstanding career?

DB: You know, it’s not really a goal to outdo or emulate Ward’s or anybody else’s achievements. The goal is to become just one of the best. I want to be the best, and only with that mindset you can become the best. You will never become the best boxer, or a good boxer, if you don’t have some kind of high goal as your most important [one]. You need to want the maximum all the time. Only a bad soldier doesn’t dream about becoming the general – you can explain it like that.

RT: You are quite a humble guy, how are you looking forward to boxing in the glitz and glamour of Monaco?

DB: I don’t think humility and boxing in Monaco contradict each other at all. You are going into a square ring, that’s the same everywhere. It is a ring and you have an opponent in front of you and you need to just box. You don’t need to dwell on where you are boxing, in Monaco or Moscow or Las Vegas or Nizhny Tagil, where I have boxed. For me generally there isn’t any significant difference, it doesn’t really eat away at me. The most important thing is there is an opponent, there are passionate people that want to see the fight.

RT: How do you rate your opponent, Australian Trent Broadhurst, and what message would you want to send him?

DB: I rate him highly. He isn’t really well known, but he has a very high level of knowledge, good movement, he can come forward, he can press, he hits well to the body, he’s fast, he is a boxer who can practically do everything. He’s just not that well known. I am preparing seriously for the fight, because you can never underestimate Broadhurst. A message for him? I don’t have a message for him. Any message to him will be after the fight.

by Danny Armstrong for RT Sport

 

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