by Johnny Walker
Canadian heavyweight champion Neven “No Surrender” Pajkic (16-1-0) gave rising Anglo-Irish star Tyson Fury a mighty scare late last year, knocking him flat in the second round of their Commonwealth title fight before losing via a very questionable stoppage in the third.
Pajkic, 34, lost when referee Phil Edwards inexplicably stopped the fight with only 17 seconds left in round three, with the fighters in the middle of an exchange. This came after Pajkic had knocked Fury down for the first time in the latter man’s career in the previous round, and had hammered Fury until that round came to a close.
Now, the Canadian champ, who has taken some time off to re-evaluate things in the wake of the disappointing first loss of his career, has revealed to Boxing Insider that he was seriously ill from food poisoning the night before the fight — and suspects that foul play may have been involved.
On the eve of his bout with Fury in Manchester, England, Pajkic ordered a meal from room service, and that’s when his troubles began.
“I made biggest mistake having a meal in the hotel night before the fight,” Pajkic says.
“I had cold sweats all night and [diarrhea] all night long — I didn’t sleep a wink! 30 times on the toilet!”
Pajkic is a proud warrior, and says he didn’t admit what happened until now because it sounds like “a sore loser’s excuse.”
But the truth is the truth, and given the circumstances, it seems amazing that the severely dehydrated Canadian champion even made it into the ring at all.
Though he claims he fought at about “25%” that night and still managed to deck Tyson Fury, Pajkic characteristically blames himself for the events that took place more than anyone else.
“They did it, I know,” Pajkic says of Fury’s camp, who he says were alarmed when he showed up for the fight in magnificent condition, while their fighter looked exactly the opposite.
“I didn’t cover all the aspects of the game,” Pajkic adds, blaming himself and his camp for naiveté in their first big overseas encounter.
“It’s my fault — I learned the hard way.
“Next time I cook my own food.”
TURNED DOWN ADAMEK
Pajkic also reveals that Main Events promotions recently offered him the next shot at Polish star Tomasz Adamek in New Jersey, but he turned it down (the spot instead went to Travis Walker).
“I’d whoop him easy, but I need 10-12 weeks” to get ready instead of four, says Pajkic. “And the money [they offered] was a slap in the face.”
Pajkic says still wants to fight Adamek, but under the right circumstances.
“Yeah I’ll whoop him real good — we can make it in Chicago [with] lots of seats and crazy Pollacks,” Pajkic laughs. “And crazier Serbs!”
In the meantime, Pajkic expects the hard-hitting veteran Walker to give Adamek some trouble.
“Walker is still dangerous — he’s a puncher, man” says the champ.
COVERT AFFAIRS IN TORONTO
On a lighter note, Pajkic tells Boxing Insider that he has been working on the set of the USA network drama Covert Affairs, which stars sultry Piper Perabo as CIA spy Annie Walker.
“I taught them boxing for the boxing scenes, and I played a ‘Russian cage fighter'” says Pajkic, who had the show’s cast over at his home recently in Toronto when they were shooting scenes in the area.
Pajkic says he was impressed with the “down to earth” personalities of Perabo, producer Steven Kay (“coolest cat ever”) and indeed of the entire cast.
“I worked on many shows and these are by far coolest people,” says the Canadian champ, whose past screen credits include the films A History of Violence and Against The Ropes.
Pajkic, a Serbian-Canadian, is now headed back to his homeland for a visit “after ten years.”
“I miss back home all of the sudden,” he says.
Then it’s a title bout against Ali Mansour (8-0-0) late this year in Windsor, Ontario.
After that, aside from Adamek, Pajkic still longs to get another shot at Tyson Fury, who promised him a rematch in the aftermath of their first encounter. And then a shot at world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko.
“Revenge and retirement,” Pajkic laughs.