“I don’t look like a fighter at all” How a chess player and philosopher came to fist fights and amazed everyone with knockouts

Alexander Sidorenko – perhaps the most unusual fighter in Russian fistfights. He is considered a tough knockout artist, while leading a chess club at school, studying in graduate school in the philosophy department and playing two musical instruments. talked with Sidorenko about his attitude towards trash talk and pop MMA, the choice between TOP DOG and Hardcore promotions, as well as the difficulties of adapting to Moscow.

“I don’t tell the kids in the chess section that I fight in TOP DOG.” Tell us how you got into TOP DOG.

Alexander Sidorenko:: I had interesting offers in boxing, but I was injured and couldn’t train for six months. When I started to get into shape again, those offers began to fall away: at first they found an opponent for a fight, but then everything was canceled, then something else, and I realized that I had become less interesting. Then I decided to try my hand at fist fighting. I sent an application to TOP DOG, it was considered within two weeks, then an offer was received to come to Moscow and fight on the avenue, everyone liked it. It so happened that my first opponent in TOP DOG withdrew, and they called me and offered to come to Moscow within a couple of hours. I said, “Okay, got it, I’m getting on the train and leaving.”

Why did you choose TOP DOG? This is not the only fist fighting promotion in Russia.

I only considered TOP DOG and Hardcore – two leagues that are at the forefront. Besides, I have a lot of friends in Hardcore. Why didn’t you go to them? The fact is that it will be difficult there for people like me, the guys there are more aggressive, they need more shows, more media exposure, and this is not about me. I don’t really like this. I like to fight, win and enjoy it. TOP DOG is closer to sports, and if we look at the Hardcore conferences, we will see a lot of acting there.

Photo courtesy of TOP DOG

I read that you teach chess in a school club. Do any of your players know that you fight in TOP DOG? And if so, how do they react to it?

I don’t tell the children in the chess section that I fight in TOP DOG, because they are still small, they are from five to ten years old. Sooner or later, of course, they will find out, because children now begin to use gadgets very early and very skillfully. As for the management of the school where I teach children, they know about my career in TOP DOG, because sometimes I have to ask for time off for competitions. At first I said that I went to chess tournaments, but one time I returned with a small black eye, they asked me: “Did they hit you with a chessboard?” We laughed together, and then I told them everything. The surprise was very strong, because I don’t look like a fighter at all.

But there was no negativity, because the management knows how I teach, how I work, and what people do in their free time is everyone’s personal business

Your closest rival in TOP DOG is Samir Mursaliev. Why is he dangerous?

He is a tall left-hander, anthropometrically impressive, assertive, with character – this can crush him. But my past opponents, it seems to me, were even more serious, because Samir lacks technique. Due to this, we will catch him. Maybe someone thinks that technique is not needed in fist fights, but I want to upset such people: this is one of the key aspects. So it will be hard for Mursaliev. There are, of course, some fights when they win due to pressure, but in the long term, all good fist fighters are former boxers, hand-to-hand fighters, those who have a technical base.

Which TOP DOG fighter impresses you the most technically? And who would you like to fight?

I like Shisha, he is very technically equipped, with interesting movements, Cantemir works well, his record shows this, Serge Bavarian Sniper Michel is German. If we talk about the desired opponent, now a left-hander from Uzbekistan, if I’m not mistaken. He will soon fight with my friend Ronaldo Gubiyanov, it will be interesting to watch their confrontation. This left-hander from Uzbekistan scored a victory by knockout in the fourth tournament, first throwing his opponent through the body and then finishing him off. It would be interesting to fight with him someday.

Photo courtesy of TOP DOG

How many more fights do you think you need to fight to get the TOP DOG championship ring?

I was told that according to the TOP DOG rules, you can fight for the ring after four successful fights. I will have a third fight soon, and hopefully a fourth in December. Therefore, if everything goes well, I can compete for the ring next year. This is the plan.

Which of your three fights, including the prospect, do you consider the most difficult for yourself in TOP DOG?

Probably the very first fight, because I suddenly found out about it and started cutting weight just a week and a half before it. I had to lose weight from 70 kilograms to 64, which didn’t seem like much, but it was unusual for me at that time. Therefore, due to weight gain in combination with other factors, it was the debut match that was the most difficult.

“My mother watches my fights, so far she reacts normally”

You said that your mother watches your fights. Recorded or live? How does she cope with all this?

Oh, pah-pah, so far I haven’t had such fights that I actually bled to death or missed very heavy blows. That’s why mom reacts normally. I hope that a fight with great damage will not happen to me soon.

In an interview with, TOP DOG founder Danil Rugby Aleev said that boxing is more dangerous than fist fights due to severe injuries. Do you agree with this opinion?

If we consider the brain, then yes, boxing is more harmful. The fact is that in the fist the fighting time is shorter, and the number of missed blows on average, accordingly, is also less. Fist fights cause more surgical damage, it just looks worse – cuts and the like, but the brain is still more important.

Photo courtesy of TOP DOG

You behave atypically for a fighter – you do not participate in trash talk, you are very respectful of your opponents. Does TOP DOG management require more fire from you?

Sometimes we are told: you have airtime in which you need to say or do something to be remembered, so that everyone will take their breath away. I understand the organizers, but this is not my thing; I cannot and do not want to overstep myself in this sense. I will stick to my course and behave in a way that makes me comfortable.

How do you feel about the pop MMA industry? Would you agree to perform there for a good fee?

It depends on who they offer as an opponent. If there is some interesting person, then why not. I don’t have a categorical attitude towards this. There is, of course, the Epic Fighting Show, but I definitely wouldn’t go there; I have a normal attitude towards other pop MMA promotions.

“It’s very difficult for me mentally in Moscow”

You are a graduate student at the Faculty of Philosophy. Which university, if not a secret, and why did you choose such an unusual specialty?

I live in two cities – Moscow and Belgorod, I study at Belgorod State University. To be honest, I chose it because there was an opportunity to enter the budget department there. Why philosophy? Why not? I have been interested in this science for a long time, now I decided to try it. It’s quite difficult to combine it with sports, you have to write scientific articles, prepare, and after a couple of missed hits to the head, something can be forgotten. So I try to miss as little as possible. In general, I am an economist by profession; I received my higher education in this field. After university, I worked as an insurance agent, but I realized that this was not my thing – it was too sedentary. Some people like to talk to clients and sell something, but that didn’t suit me.

Photo courtesy of TOP DOG

You said that you now live in two cities – Belgorod and Moscow. Where do you like best, where do you plan to settle?

Of course, I prefer Belgorod, I spent a lot of time there, there are so many people I know there, I’ve experienced so much. But I need to grow in terms of sports, and Moscow is better in this sense, there are more sparring partners. In addition, the situation in Belgorod right now is not very good, some kind of shell may arrive, but I want to live. In Moscow it is very noisy, you always have to go down the metro and go somewhere for a long time. You know, this is not for everyone, it’s very difficult for me mentally. I now rented an apartment specifically near the gym, because I have two training sessions a day, and I don’t know how I would cope if I had to travel to them.

were you born in Vorkuta. When you started playing sports, was it difficult to find something suitable for yourself in the city?

To be honest, there was a choice. In Vorkuta everything is fine with sports. At first I was involved in swimming for seven or eight years, we had excellent coaches. Then I got tired of swimming, and I decided to switch to boxing, where I also had very strong mentors. If I’m not mistaken, hockey is also well developed in Vorkuta.

Tell us about your passion for music. What instrument do you play? Are there any plans to develop in this area?

I started with the guitar, then switched to the piano, now I play these two instruments, trying to improve. My plans are to learn to play the electric guitar; I want to play some cool rocking riffs. But for now, I think I’ll stick to a regular guitar for a bit, because there are also a lot of interesting things you can play there. I still have to study and study.

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