At the age of 30, Egidijus – Egis for short – is a five-year pro. A rising contender at 147 pounds, he is a former amateur standout who competed at the elite level of international competition: he represented Lithuania in the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games and the 2007, 2009, and 2011 World Championships. He won a World Championships bronze medal in 2011.
He is a stablemate of two-division world champion three-division world champion and rising young superstar Vasiliy Lomachenko, who was voted the “2017 Fighter of the Year” by the Boxing Writers Association of America, light heavyweight contender Oleksandr Gvozdyk, welterweight prospect Alexander Besputin, and super lightweight prospect Maxim Dadashev. All are managed by Egis Klimas, the Boxing Writers Association of America’s “Manager of the Year” in 2016 and 2017, and promoted by Top Rank.
Egis stayed active in the ring with five fights in 2014, two in 2015, four in 2016, and three in 2017, and made good progress. He has a high-pressure style and good punching power – he has given impressive performances and scored several spectacular knockouts.
In his last fight on July 7 in Fresno, California, he won a 10-round unanimous decision against Juan Abreu.
The Ring’s Francisco Salazar reported [excerpts]: Kavaliauskas won a 10-round unanimous decision over Juan Carlos Abreu at the Save Mart Center in Fresno, California.
The fight was originally scheduled to be the opening bout on the ESPN telecast, but was elevated to main event status when the WBC junior welterweight title bout between Jose Ramirez and Danny O’Connor was cancelled.
From the opening bell, Kavaliauskas worked the center of the ring, walking down Abreu. Midway through the round, an accidental clash of heads opened a cut over the right eye of Kavaliauskas. The cut was a non-factor the rest of the fight, which did not alter Kavaliauskas’ offense.
Abreu looked to land one counter punch at a time. Anytime Kavaliauskas was able to get within punching distance, Abreu threw a flurry of punches, most of which missed or hit Kavaliauskas in the arms.
With about a minute left in round five, another accidental clash of heads opened a cut over Kavaliauskas’ left eye.
The cuts over both of Kavaliauskas’ eyes had little effect on him, especially in the later rounds. Kavaliauskas continued to walk Abreu down, but Abreu was able to land an occasional lead right hand to Kavaliauskas’ head.
Scores were 97-93, 97-93, and 96-94 for Kavaliauskas. [End Salazar item]
Egidijus scored his career-best win in his previous fight on February 16 in Reno, Nevada, a sixth-round TKO against former WBA welterweight world champion David Avanesyan.
In an earlier interview, Egis said, “When I come here to USA, I found my style, what I like to do – I like to fight, take pressure to the guy! In amateurs, I was fighting like a real amateur, a way different style. No pressure boxer, I was like, counter-boxer.
“I met Egis Klimas before the 2011 World Championships, I think. At that point, I wasn’t already qualified for the Olympics in London. My goal was to get to the Olympics and get the medal. After the World Championships – I was a bronze medalist – Egis invited me to California to train for the Olympics. But my national team’s staff didn’t let me come. They say I need to stay with my team and train at home.
“After the Olympics – they weren’t so successful for me – I don’t see opportunities to go much further so Egis took me to USA to become pro. Here, boxing is the top. I knew the team would be good and I would get stronger.
“Everything is different training here compared to home. There, we prepared for three rounds and everything goes fast. Here, it’s more rounds and the coaches work with you personally, like on the mitts, and strong guys come here to spar. Every day here, sparring is like a fight – you need to be ready 100 percent for sparring.”
Regarding his nickname, he said, “My nickname makes it easier for Americans to remember me. My friend Evgeny Gradovich – The Mexican Russian – he gave the nickname to me. I think it’s from a movie called ‘Mean Machine,’ something like that. I was in the gym preparing for a fight, losing weight. Every fighter, when he’s losing weight, is mean and I was super mean. I don’t want to talk with nobody, and Evgeny called me ‘mean machine.’ Everybody liked it.”