WAMMA heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko announced Friday through a press release issued by M-1 Global that he has canceled a planned press tour in order to begin his training camp for his upcoming fight on Jan. 24 at Affliction’s “Day of Reckoning” vs. former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski.
Emelianenko, 28-1, had been scheduled to make stops in New York, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles in early December during a trip designed to help promote the Jan. 24 pay-per-view event that is scheduled to emanate from the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif.
In the release, Emelianenko attributed his loss to Bulgarian competitor Blagoi Ivanov during the semifinals of the 2008 World Sambo Championships earlier this month as a primary reason for canceling the tour in order to begin his preparations for Arlovski sooner than anticipated.
“My trainers, Vladimir Voronov and Alexander Michkov, met with me in Russia after the World Sambo Championships and we decided that the Arlovski confrontation is too important to delay a comprehensive training camp in exchange for press tour obligations on the other side of the world,” Emelianenko is quoted as saying in a press release. “Andrei Arlovski is a dangerous fighter and has looked in prime condition and at the top of his game in his last few fights. He is one of the top three heavyweights in the world. This is not a fighter I will defeat if I am taking shortcuts in training.”
Emelianenko has not competed since winning the then-vacant WAMMA crown from former UFC heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia during Affliction’s first-ever event, entitled “Banned,” on July 19 in Anaheim. Fedor needed just 36 seconds to finish the 6’7” Sylvia after flooring him with a punch and forcing the early stoppage courtesy of a rear naked choke submission.
The former PRIDE heavyweight champion had been scheduled to face Arlovski during a planned Affliction event in Las Vegas in October but he pulled off the show in August due to a hand injury and was replaced by former UFC heavyweight champion Josh Barnett. “Day of Reckoning” was eventually postponed from Oct. 11 to Jan. 24 over reported poor ticket sales.
Emelianenko’s loss to Ivanov marked the first time since 2000 that he had not won the championship. However, Emelianenko states in the release that he feels the loss to Ivanov bears little impact in the world of MMA.
“Sambo is my hobby and I enjoy very much participating in these tournaments to honor my country and use Sambo as the best training format for MMA,” Emelianenko is quoted. “But MMA is my job and I certainly approach my preparation differently. I had a nice run of Sambo victories since 2000 but I have lost in a Sambo match before this match as well. I think a lot of MMA fans have never seen Sambo before so I guess you can say I am happy that the recent loss has made some people pay attention to the sport and see the differences between Sambo and MMA.”