Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Guram is NOT Coming, Expect US Debut Later This Year

Yes, you did read the title correctly... No Guram, for now.

The world's top heavyweight prospect, Guram Gugenishvili, was expected to fight on American soil for the first time on Friday, July 8. He was scheduled to face Pat Bennett at M-1 Challenge XXVI in Costa Mesa, California to defend the M-1 Heavyweight Title. However, a training injury to the left arm and wrist have sidelined Gugenishvili. Now Pat Bennett will face Kenny Garner. Garner defeated Bennett last September for the M-1 Selection Americas Heavyweight Champion. It should also be noted that Gugenishvili defeated Kenny Garner via second round guillotine choke to claim the M-1 Global Heavyweight Title.

M-1 Global Director of Operations, Evgeni Kogan offered the following statement in a recent M-1 article:

“As unfortunate as late training injuries are, they’re part of the sport. No one is more disappointed about the change in circumstances than Guram himself; as the Champion and a patriot to his country, he had been doing everything possible to prepare for a successful title defense. He was absolutely gutted when breaking the news to us. We hope Guram makes a swift recovery so he can return to action as soon as possible.”

In a follow-up interview on the M-1 website, Guram shared his thoughts:

"I wish I were ‘The Terminator’ and I could fix my own hand like he does in the movie J. If what the doctors say is true, then I will get back to training in 1-2 months and be in ‘fighting shape’ shape by the end August. I truly hope that’s what happens and I’ll be able to defend my belt in the fall. Where and when this takes place is up to the M-1 Global executives. Right now the only thing I’m thinking about is healing my hand and get back to training...

"It’s not that I wanted to withdraw; it’s an injury and I have to heal and recover. I’m hoping that the fight is rescheduled as soon as possible. I was so excited about my first American fight and so were all of my fans in Georgia and Ukraine, but what can I do – injuries happen. It only means that my debut will happen later. We all know that to make God laugh you have to tell him about your plans."
Guram Gugenishvili will likely face the winner of the Bennett-Garner bout. This could mean rematch with Garner. Either way, expect Guram to make his post-injury return in a US debut on Showtime as originally planned. I don't see M-1 or Showtime wasting the opportunity to showcase a rising heavyweight, if they can help it.

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