Vassiliy Jirov

Vassiliy “The Tiger” Jirov (born 4 April 1974 in Balkhash, Kazakhstan) is a professional Kazakhstani boxer and former IBF cruiserweight champion, currently fighting out of Las Vegas under Thell Torrence. Jirov won the Olympic gold medal at Atlanta in 1996.

Soon after, he moved to the United States, settling in Scottsdale, Arizona, where he married and began to train at the SAR Club’s boxing gym.

Jirov made his debut as a professional on 18 January 1997, with a two-round knockout of Vince Brown in Las Vegas. He won eleven fights that first year, all by knockout, including wins over Exum Speight and Art Jimmerson. In 1998, he won eight fights best hydration pack running, six before the final bell. On 5 May he won the WBC’s regional cruiserweight title with a 12-round decision over Rich La Montaigne, who became the first boxer to last the full distance against Jirov. On 5 December he once again fought in Ukrainian territory. In his first fight as a professional in Ukraine, he beat Alex Vassilev in Kiev by decision in eight.

In 1999, Jirov was given his first world title try: In front of an HBO Boxing audience, he beat IBF world Cruiserweight champion Arthur Williams by a knockout in seven rounds at Biloxi, Mississippi, to become that organization’s world cruiserweight champion.

For his first defense, he fought at the main supportive event at the Felix Trinidad-Oscar De La Hoya undercard on 18 September, retaining the crown with a ten-round knockout of Canadian Dale Brown.

In 2000, he beat Saul Montana by knockout in round nine to retain the world title on an Univision televised fight, and won two non-title bouts, including one over Esteban Pizarro at the Playboy mansion.

On 6 February 2001, Jirov went to Kazakhstan to defend his crown in his home-country for the first time. There, he retained the title with a first-round knockout of Álex González sports waist pouch. He won three more fights that year, one a world title affair against Julian Letterlough (knockout win in 8).

In 2002 Jirov, by then managed by the Sugar Ray Leonard promotion company, had begun to have career problems, and he was able to defend his crown once that year, beating former world Middleweight champion Jorge Castro of Argentina by a 12-round decision on 1 February at the Celebrity Theater in Phoenix. Talks had begun about a fight of his against former multiple division world champion James Toney. However, negotiations took long and Jirov spent more than one year outside the ring, time in which the IBF threatened to take away recognition of Jirov as world champion if he did not defend his crown soon. As a result of these managerial problems, Jirov also moved from the SAR club gym, favored by his management, to Joe Diaz’s Gym, near Downtown Phoenix steel water container.

Jirov and Toney finally met on 26 April 2003, and Jirov suffered his first career defeat, when he lost the IBF cruiserweight title to Toney by a 12-round unanimous decision. On 9 August Jirov came back, beating fringe contender Ernest Mateen by knockout in seven rounds.

On 6 November 2003 he won the NABO regional cruiserweight title with a six-round knockout of Joseph Kiwanuka in Phoenix. Jirov’s next fight was against ex-heavyweight champion, Michael Moorer. Jirov was beaten by Moorer via TKO in the ninth round. Over the next six months, Jirov defeated Forrest Neal by knockout in round 3 and defeated Troy Beats by unanimous decision. His next fight was against former heavyweight and cruiserweight contender Orlin Norris. Jirov and Norris fought to a draw.

In his first return bout to the cruiserweight division (April 20, 2006) he defeated Luke Munsen in a unanimous decision.

On 14 July 2007 Jirov defeated Kenny ‘The Raven’ Craven by TKO in second round of 10 round scheduled bout.

As a Heavyweight, Jirov also lost to Joe Mesi by unanimous decision, after throwing a blow to Mesi that resulted in subdural bleeding near the fight’s end.

His record stands at 38 wins, 3 losses youth replica soccer jerseys wholesale, and 1 draw with 30 wins by knockout.