ABERDEEN may lie in the shadows of Edinburgh and Glasgow as Scotland’s third city, but it boasts a rich boxing history.
The football team under the guidance of Sir Alex Ferguson previously conquered the giants of Europe but that was nearly 30 years ago, now it is time for a light-welterweight boxer to put Aberdeen back on the map.
Nearly a decade into his professional career, “The Aberdeen Assasin” LEE MCALLISTER’S shot at the big time has arrived in the shape of Russian warrior, DENIS SHAFIKOV, who he will face this Saturday at the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre for the European Light-Welterweight crown.
However, McAllister has a monumental task ahead of him as Shafikov is unbeaten in 28 fights with one draw and 16 wins. Shafikov may only be 5ft 5ins tall (four inches shorter than McAllister) but he is a very dangerous southpaw with clinical punching precision.
Shafikov turned pro at 18 in 2003 and has only ever fought in his native land or in Finland, which may suggest that he is underestimating McAllister. It was in Helsinki in September that he won the the vacant EBU Light-Welterweight title, forcing Italian veteran Giussepe Lauri to retire after eight rounds.
McAllister has only lost twice in 36 fights, but has been carefully managed under the watchful eye of legendary Scots promoter, Tommy Gilmour, who is co-promoting the fight with Frank Maloney.
Incredibly, McAllister was backed by Sir Alex Ferguson himself to beat Shafikov in a recent article in the Daily Record and McAllister says that he hopes to get the locals excited for Saturday.
“It’s been a long time since Aberdeen has had such a big sporting event, so hopefully it will be a brilliant night of boxing,” he said
“I was actually overwhelmed by the whole situation (being mentioned by Ferguson). Having a full page in the national press with him talking about me took me aback.
“He had the glory days here and he’s backing me to bring the glory days back, which I will do.”
McAllister has stated that he is not afraid of the 26-year-old Russian and has vowed to end Saturday night with the European belt in his grasp.
“Hopefully he is underestimating me,” McAllister said. “That way he’ll probably underestimate my punch power and my speed and my strength, and he’ll get a shock when my right hand’s in his jaw and he’ll drop.
“He’s undefeated, he’s got the title and I’m only interested in that belt. Every time I go to bed dreaming about it; it’s my title and it’s my time to shine.”
McAllister has high hopes of eventually fighting at the home of his beloved Aberdeen FC, Pittodrie, and already has a couple of opponents in his sight.
“If all goes to plan on February 25th, my dream one day is to be fighting at Pittodrie and get a big name like Erik Morales or Amir Khan – if he beats Lamont Peterson.
“Hopefully I can take them to Aberdeen and do a number on them.”
If Denis Shafikov lives up to his fearsome reputation , then realistically he should outhustle the valiant Scot and retain the belt on a points decision. McAllister will need all of his raucous home support for this fight, not just in his home city, but from his entire country in what will certainly be the toughest test of his career.