By Kim Francesca Martinez
They were standing fist-to-fist and face-to-face, separated by a mere wide-screen projector and thousands of miles.
In May, Selcuk Aydin and Gilroy, Calif. native Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero exchanged not-so-friendly fire via Skype during the Silicon Valley-based press conference heralding their upcoming bout. The latter, rehabilitating from a shoulder injury, professed his intent to deliver a strong performance against his visiting opponent; Aydin, who hails from Trabzon, Turkey, donned a Ghostbusters t-shirt and, with jocular menace, promised to inflict more significant bodily damage.
On Friday, they nearly traded blows at the official weigh-in.
Come later today, however, the man known as “Mini Tyson” will enter hostile waters as he contests hometown favorite Guerrero for the WBC Interim Welterweight title at San Jose, Calif.’s HP Pavilion, dubbed by locals the “Shark Tank” for its namesake hockey team.
Despite this, the unbeaten Turk seems impervious to nerves. At Joe Amato’s San Jose Fitness & Boxing, the nearby facility in which Aydin and his team [head trainer Conny Mittemeir; assistant trainer Cahit Sme, who also trained Selcuk for 20 years as an amateur; and friend Fatih Usta, Turkish action star who will appear in the American cinematic vehicle “The Expendables II”) have been quietly and steadfastly preparing for the past few weeks – said an awed Amato, “These guys are in here twice a day” – Aydin was all steel and laser focus (but not without a hint of characteristic hubris). Though entrenched in training, the power puncher was gracious enough to lend his time for an interview—here are some of his thoughts on the fight, as relayed by interpreter Emrah Unzunyakup.
BoxingScene.com: It’s your first time fighting [in the States] since defending your WBC International Welterweight Title against Said Ouali in 2009. So far, how has your experience been in the Bay Area? Do you get recognized often, or have you been trying to stay below the radar?
Selcuk Aydin: First of all, thank you for the interview… I would like to thank Joey [Amato] and everybody at San Jose Boxing & Fitness… we feel at home in the San Jose gym… I think I’m not so popular in America, because I haven’t had many fights here, but after the 28th, everybody who watches the fight will know me.
BoxingScene.com: You’re originally from Turkey, although you train out of Germany. You’re now in the final preparations for the fight here in San Jose, essentially Robert Guerrero’s hometown. If it goes the distance, how concerned are you that the judges will… be objective in their decision?
Selcuk Aydin: [with a smirk] The fight could go twelve rounds, but I don’t think it will be twelve rounds.
BoxingScene.com: Your stance is orthodox as opposed to Guerrero’s southpaw. How have your past victories over other southpaw fighters, such as Ouali and Jo Jo Dan, helped prepare you for this match; what have you been working on in training camp to neutralize Guerrero’s boxing skills?
Selcuk Aydin: That’s normal. My last fights were against southpaws, and I know how to fight against them, it’s no problem… my coach [Conny Mittermeir] is perfect for his job, he can analyze the fighters and train me as necessary.
BoxingScene.com: Now, Guerrero is also moving up two divisions from 135. As his light welterweight debut against Marcos Maidana was derailed by injury, he’s never fought at 140, much less 147. On the other hand, you’ve fought your entire career at welterweight—how much do you think the size advantage will come into play?
Selcuk Aydin: Both fighters are in the ring at 147 pounds, there is no advantage or disadvantage for either or them. Both are professionals—there is no advantage or disadvantage.
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