Aleksander Miroshnichenko died tragically in Kustanai, Kazakhstan on may 19th 2003. According to officials his death was the result of serious skull and brain trauma, suffered as a result of a fall down the length of 9 flights of stairs, from the hallway area in front of his apartment. Early reports indicated that Miroshnichenko returned home from a friend’s place, in a drunken state, and was lured by habit to have a smoke in the hallway of the 9th floor, where fate cruelly sent him to his death.
At the time, Aleksander was a witness in a case involving his long time acquaintance, and former boxer, Sapabek Mukashev. Mukashev was being charged with the murder of yet another boxer named Sevastyanov. The trial ended three days before Miroshnichenko’s death.
The trial was a closed one, even though the sentencing was not as severe as it would seem: only five and a half years behind bars. The prosecution was looking to give Mukashev nine years, but did not protest with the verdict.
Now it is unlikely that they might change their mind, after all, the main witness is dead.
So who was Miroshnichenko for Soviet boxing?
Miroshnichenko won a bronze at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul Korea, captured the world title twice, was European champ twice, and finally was champion of the USSR three times. “Miron” was his nickname among his teammates on the national team. One of his best wins was against future heavyweight champ Lennox Lewis in the amateurs.
He did lose to the great Cuban fighter Robert Ballad, but managed to go one and one, with another future heavyweight champ in Riddick Bowe.
In the book of famous Russian heavyweight, Vyacheslav Yakovlev, Miroshnichenko’s success is attributed to his trainer Yuri Tzhai. There were claims that Aleksander also provided gifts for the head coach of the Soviet team, Artem Lavrov, in exchange for a spot on the strong Soviet boxing contingent of the time.
It is possible that this was the case, but claims that have been made about Miroshnichenko’s physcological state in international tournaments do not bear much significance, considering his success.
Unfortunately, Miroshnichenko was not able to reach the same success in the professional ranks as he did in the amateurs. The main reason was that he was a professional Soviet fighter fighting out of the Soviet Union and later Kazakhstan, and at the time there was virtually no opportunity to get decent opponents or fights. His brightest moment was a stoppage win over the now durable journeyman Ross Purrity in his third pro fight, but in retrospect, that win had no real significance since Purrity was a novice professional fighter as well.
After 21 wins against opponents that only a limited promotional team can provide, Miroshnichenko lost what would be his final professional bout, to a young Oleg Maskaev. Although his team claimed “Miron” boxed with a broken hand, and could not overcome Maskaev with limited firepower, the crushing defeat affected him to such a degree that he never stepped into a boxing ring as a fighter again.
Soon after, Aleksander turned to coaching and training the youth in Kostanai (Kazakhstan), in order to give back to the sport he loved. He had his own school of boxing, which local kids flocked to the instance they heard his name associated with it. Aleksander was also named Director of the School of Eastern Unarmed Combat at the Kostanai State University. It seemed only right at that at Miroshnichenko’s memorial tournament held 1 year after his death, his student and countryman, Aleksander Moskovsky, claimed best boxer honors.
That is who Miroshnichenko was, and who he could have been in representing the Soviet and Kazakh schools of boxing of the 1980’s.