By Alexey Sukachev
Following some recent reports about a tournament, proposed by the International Boxing Federation†in the†middleweight division, BoxingScene got on phone with former IBF light middleweight champion Roman Karmazin (40-4-2, 26 KOs), who reportedly announced his retirement from boxing several months ago but is still being mentioned as a vital part of the IBF elimination tourney.
Aside from†IBF #8 Karmazin, a possible roster of the participants include: #3 and former IBF champion Sebastian Sylvester (34-4-1, 16 KOs), #4 and former two-time WBA super middleweight titlist Anthony Mundine (42-4, 25 KOs), #5 and former undisputed welterweight beltholder Cory Spinks (37-6, 11 KOs), #7 Peter Manfredo Jr. (37-6, 20 KOs), #10 Sam Soliman (39-11, 17 KOs) and #11 Osumana Adama (19-2, 14 KOs) of Ghana. IBF #6 Darren Barker is scheduled to fight middleweight stalwart Sergio Gabriel Martinez next, while #9 Benjamin Simon is reportedly recovering after an injury. The latest mentioned scheme of the elimination includes two semifinals: Sylvester vs. Soliman and Karmazin vs. Adama. The winner of the final will face current IBF middleweight king Daniel Geale (24-1, 15 KOs).
- Roman, what is the latest and greatest?
- Hi, Alexey. I'm seriously considering a†comeback from†retirement pretty soon. Nothing is solid yet, but if the money is right, Iíll try to wrestle the title back once again. Right now I have an offer on the table from the International Boxing Federation to take part in the elimination [tournament]†to fight the newly crowned champion. Iím not satisfied with†his financial conditions though but we are in negotiations, and the possibility exists that Iíll be back for more.
- You publicly announced your retirement. At least, I saw and I read such claims from you the last year. How were you able to preserve a ranked position in the IBF ratings this way?
- Indeed, I signaled that I was ready to hangíem up. But my promoter Steven Bash convinced me to wait a bit with a formal announcement. He asked if I was finally done with the sport or not and I answered that if I had a lucrative offer I would seriously think about a possible continuation. So we decided not to write any official letters to the IBF and to wait a bit. That is why Iím still ranked there.
- You said many times you would try to work as a coach in the boxing afterlife or you would open your own training facility. Why havenít you stayed in retirement? Did it all go wrong?
- I was rather unrealistic about my future after boxing and, first of all, I was unrealistic about the way my own Motherhood would treat me after I would call it a day. I thought my fame and my past would give me preferences but the truth was much bitter.
Actually, I feel that the country and the community donít need me much. I tried to find a job but offers were far from being satisfactory. Actually, I work as a trainer now and I even get some money but I canít say itís really enough to make ends meet. Maybe Iíll earn more when I open my own gym in autumn but nevertheless itís damn hard to make a living now.
On the other hand, I thought much about my past and about my future. I was tired and washed up both physically and psychologically before the Geale fight. No excuses though. I lost that battle, I lost it to myself. But itís all different now. Iím still feeling hunger for boxing, Iím still feeling Iím not finished. My wounds healed and I rested a lot. I have a desire to fight, and the fight is still inside my soul. Boxing is what I was born to do and I really want to give it another try. Iím just four or five kilograms above my battle weight even though I havenít performed any boxing workouts since the Geale fight. However, I do some jogging and some running. But I donít want to fight for nothing. I donít want to risk my health for miserable money. I want to be paid appropriately. I know itís a hard chance now. Look at Dmitry Pirog who is forced to fight for 50,000 USD with all of†his talent and with a belt around his waist.
- So, money is the main motivation for you to go on with your career, isnít it?
- You are right and you are wrong. I will put it that way. I want to earn some money. Prizefighting is all about money and I wonít lie to you Ė I want to get some more financials and to get a better living. I know some doubters would say that all I think about is money while other skeptics would bark at my desire to earn money (instead of the title). I feel their opinions, and I know that those armchair-greats will give a vent to their bile. I donít care much though. But donít get me wrong. I want to earn money, not to receive a gift. I will seriously fight for them and Iím ready to deliver my A-game and not to shamefully lay an egg or, even worse, to fall after the first punch thrown at me. Iím a proud warrior and Iím ready to fight honestly.
- Who will be your opponent if ever?
- There were talks about my bitter rival Cory Spinks but he doesnít want to fight me much. Peter Manfredo Jr. was another candidate but he knows that I will possibly give him a beating too. At least, I was able to do so during our sparring sessions. Another young and undefeated guy from the Great Britain (possibly Darren Barker) is also out of picture now. So, Iím offered a fight with unknown African fellow (Osumana Adama) now.
- What is the catch?
- The offer isnít good at all right now. The money is small and I donít want to fight this dangerous puncher for nothing. If I had been offered a couple of millions I wouldnít have even thought about anything else. Actually, the same is with just 100,000 US dollars. I would have fought the champion for just $50,000 but without any elimination. But to fight not one but two preliminary fight for an†even smaller amount of money is ridiculous. Negotiations are still under way though.
- Thatís all good. But here is some bad news. You were diagnosed with a subdural bleeding at the occipital part of your cranium after the Geale fight. How can you fight on with such a diagnosis?
- I suffered an internal bleeding Ė thatís true. I was rushed into hospital and there were even talks about a possible cranium check, a trepanation. But that bleeding resolved itself. It was quite unexpected but right now I feel myself perfectly. I do think I can fully recover from that accident. However, Iíll surely check with physicians before making any moves. I donít want to risk my life. Also, itís to be said that itís an occipital part of the head so that I shouldnít be hit there at all. But that is boxing and some fighters hit you at the back of your head.
- Have you seen the fight with Geale†defeating Sylvester for the title?
- I have seen only†the first†six rounds. I donít think†either guy is†that good. They are good boxers but nothing really special at all. However, the Australian fighter was faster and quicker and he deserved to get the title. I feel though as I can beat either of them and I still have enough left to make it happen.
- I cannot avoid mentioning one specific fight while Iím talking to you. Give us your thoughts on Wladimir Klitschko against David Haye on July 2.
- Wladimir will break him down easily. He will crush him in a painful manner. I have no doubts about that.
- Thanks for your time, champion, and good luck to you!
Tags: Roman Karmazin