Boxer Pajkic fears no man

STEVE BUFFERY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:24 PM ET

TORONTO - You don’t have to smack Neven Pajkic upside the head to get a message across. But that approach has been known to work.

In his last fight against American bruiser Raphael Butler, on Sept. 4 at the Royal York Hotel, Pajkic, the Canadian heavyweight boxing champion, was nailed with an uppercut early in the bout — a punch that opened up the old blood taps in his nose.

“He grazed the tip of my nose and made a little tear inside and the blood started pouring,” said Pajkic, at a news conference this week to trumpet his fight on Saturday at Casino Rama against former German champion Andreas Sidon. “It was pouring inside of my mouth and that’s what bothered me. I was spitting and swallowing it. It was a little bit uncomfortable.”

But in fighting back to earn a unanimous decision over the hard-punching Butler, 35-9 28KOs, Pajkic demonstrated a tremendous heart — one of the gutsiest performances by a Canadian fighter in years.

The experienced Butler nailed Pajkic with uppercuts for much of the fight and, afterwards, it dawned on the Serbian-Canadian brawler that the uppercut, a punch he certainly never considered a trademark of his own, would be a valuable weapon in his arsenal. And so he and his trainer, Peter Wylie, made it a point to work on the punch in training for his fight against Sidon, 34-9.

“It suits my style amazingly,” said Pajkic, who is undefeated in 14 pro bouts. “It was so efficient for him, I tried it in sparring, and it’s a killer.”

Uppercuts are a punch that Pajkic has had trouble with before.

“I got hit one time harder than the one Bulter threw, when I was amateur,” said the personable fighter. “I was actually out on my feet for a couple of seconds. But I kept fighting, even though I was sleeping for a little bit.

“But look, you can’t break it,” he said, tugging on his very flexible schnoz. “It’s like a piece of rubber. I was born with this soft tissue (on my nose), so I guess I was born to be a fighter.”

Pajkic, 33, was a relative latecomer to boxing, but has quickly established himself as a fighter on the rise. He’s hoping a win over Sidon on Saturday will bring him a step closer to a world top 10 ranking, and hopefully one day, a world title shot.

“That’s why I got into boxing,” he said. “I fear no man. I never did.

I said this before and I’ll say it again, everybody is just human. You keep punching and eventually they’re going to go down.”

Pajkic is not the biggest puncher in the world, but he almost always out-works his opponents, and that’s his game plan against Sidon.

“I’m going to rush in and maul him,” said the 6-foot-3, 233 pound fighter. “I’ll maul him and won’t let him breath with constant pressure. That’s what I do.”

steve.buffery@sunmedia.ca


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