People can expect a real fight to happen at Gerry Weber Stadium come November 3. Cruiserweight World Champion Marco Huck (34-2-1, 25 KOs) will try to defend his beloved belt for the tenth time to gain Super-Champion-Status of the World Boxing Organization. In contrast, his challenger Firat Arslan (32-5-2, 21 KOs) could again rise to stardom, as he was already the WBA World Champion at this weight class. In the following interview, he speaks about his chances to sink Capt'n Huck's Battleship.
Firat Arslan, how did you prepare for the fight against Marco Huck?
Firat Arslan: I sparred more rounds in training than ever before. I had ten sparring partners - normally before a fight, I just sparred with three or four. I also raised the intensity as I finished my training camp having absolved 160 rounds of sparring compared to 80, which I did back in the day. This should give me more flexibility in the fight. But one is thing for sure, nobody can copy Marco Huck. There is a reason why he is the current WBO Champion. But the guys I sparred with were all young and eager to prove a point. I can confirm that they did a great job.
Are there other things you changed during the preparation?
Firat Arslan: We tried to break the mould for the most important fight in my career. We used a special heavy bag that enabled me to work on my accuracy. I also had a special training tool to strengthen my lungs. I know that some boxing experts have already written me off but on November 3, I will try to prove them wrong.
Which critics do you mean?
Firat Arslan: I am honest. I am already 42 years of age and some people think I only took this fight because of the money, but that is definitely not the case. I did not try to make a big profit out of it. It is just about the sport. I believe in becoming a world champion again and I know that I am on top of my game. That is why I wanted this fight. I want to fight the best and Marco Huck certainly is one of the best. I am looking forward to this bout.
Did you have any other opportunities to fight?
Firat Arslan: There were some other possibilities to fight but it is my aim to fight for a world championship. Those other options would have got me to where I want to be. Marco Huck is a big name on the boxing scene, so this fight makes sense for me. I have a lot of respect for him - respect I don't have for the other champions in the cruiserweight division, as they do not want to face me.
Please tell us about your strategy for the fight on November 3.
Firat Arslan: Marco Huck is one of the biggest punchers in this weight class and he is 15 years younger than me. Nevertheless, I am going for the win. I promise to fight my heart out, which is my mentality. I think that I have a big advantage over him as my teams focus is completely on me. When you are with a big boxing promotion, there is often only one coach who looks after a handful of athletes. Moreover, I do not think that there is a more professional surrounding than where I train. I want to win. Everything else I will show inside the ring.
It is common knowledge that rivals in boxing are not friendly with each other. Therefore, it comes as a surprise that Marco Huck and you have mutual appreciation for each other.
Firat Arslan: This is true. Maybe Marco does not come across as a good guy - but in reality he is. That is the sport of boxing. When you have the chance to make such a fight you have to go for it. There is only one person I would never step into the ring with: Luan Krasniqi. He is like a brother to me.
What kind of a fight do you expect at Gerry Weber Stadium?
Firat Arslan: I am confident that it will be a great fight. Marco has an unorthodox style which I have to deal with. But that is nothing new to me. I am prepared for everything, regardless of what he will do inside the ring. I know what to do and will force my own style on him. It will be firm but fair. That is what I also expect of Marco as we both respect each other.
This will be a virtual home match for Marco Huck. How will you deal with that?
Firat Arslan: Of course most of the fans will be cheering for him. However, we cannot expect him to come to my backyard. We are prepared for that situation, so it will not bother me. I have been part of this business for such a long time so I know that it will only be Marco, the referee and me inside the ring. Then the fists will do the talking, not the crowd!
Would you retire, if you should lose the fight against Marco Huck?
Firat Arslan: Losing is not on my mind, so I haven't even thought about that.
You will have to wait until after the bout to get your answer.
And if you are going to win? Would that be a reason for you to hang up the gloves?
Firat Arslan: I believe in winning this fight. I am in top shape. And as long as I have the ability to fight on such a level, I do not think about retirement. I could still have some title defences as a world champion, ending my career on a high. But this will all be decided come November 3.
Written by Damian McCann
Legendary boxing icon, Emanuel Steward passed away peacefully with his loving family present last Thursday at the age of 68.
During his lifetime he amassed a vast wealth of experience and knowledge of the sweet science. He had many roles in the sport as a commentator, manager and promoter, but it will be as a trainer that he will be most remembered in the history of boxing.
As an amateur star he compiled a distinguished record of 97 fights with only 3 losses including winning the 1963 National Golden Gloves Bantamweight Championship in Chicago. He was inducted into both the World Boxing Hall of Fame in Los Angeles and the International Hall of Fame in New York in 1996 in recognition of his achievements and contribution to boxing.
But he also leaves a legacy as one of the most respected and loved people in the sport; boxing fans around the world loved him and he loved them. No matter how busy or gruelling a schedule he had he always had time for a handshake, a photograph and a conversation.
His warm smile and personable manner endeared to him to the hearts of everyone he met touching all their lives. He was always down to earth, in good form and full of generosity, he lived to give and that is what made him the people’s champion.
Emanuel had been at the centre of the boxing landscape for over 40 years, his labour of love seen him develop the Kronk Gym in Detroit, one of the most successful boxing stables imaginable.
In the early 1970s from a small boxing gym in the basement of the Kronk Recreational Centre in the south-west side of Detroit, Emanuel began training kids from the City’s impoverished neighbourhoods. The centre and gym was named after a hard working local Polish politician called John F. Kronk.
During the last 4 decades the Detroit gym has been a cultivating ground for boxers of every age, weight, gender and nationality, from legendary world champions to young amateur prospects.
By the mid ’70 onwards the young Kronk boxers were unstoppable winning titles galore at local, regional and national levels of the sport. He transformed the neighbourhood-boxing club into a world famous boxing gym, training thousands of amateur kids including the development of 2 Olympic gold medallists in 1984, Frank Tate and Steve McCrory.
In 1977 Thomas Hearns and Hilmer Kenty were the first Kronk fighters to turn professional and Emanuel served as both their trainer and manager. Kenty was his first world champion in 1980 when he captured the WBA lightweight crown.
Thomas ‘The Hitman’ Hearns went on to be one of his most successful fighter winning 6 world titles at different weights over a 23-year boxing career. During the 1980s Hearns enthralled boxing fans around the world under Emanuel’s guidance with historic and classic encounters against Roberto Benitez, Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvin Hagler and Roberto Duran.
During his renowned career Emanuel set a world record training over 40 world champions including Waldamir Klitschko, Lennox Lewis, Mark Breland, Jimmy Paul, Michael Moorer, Julio Cesar Chavez, Oscar De La Hoya, Evander Holyfield, Mike McCallum, Gerald McClellan, Aaron Pryor and Leon Spinks.
Over the last 10 years he had forged a close relationship and special friendship with world heavyweight champion, Waldimir Klitschko and Irish world title contender Andy Lee.
He travelled extensively across the US and Europe as a true ambassador for the sport, but he loved to get home to Detroit. Like Joe Louis, Sugar Ray Robinson, Eddie Futch before him he is one of the City’s finest sons.
The famous American writer Mark Twain once wrote ‘No man is a failure who has friends’. Emanuel had friends in every corner of the world; he lived a full and successful life doing something he loved and was passionate about. He made his mark and will be remembered with affection by all as a dear friend, a wonderful human being and one of the greatest trainers that ever lived. Condolences to his family, staff and close friends. God Bless Emanuel, May you Rest in Peace.
Boschiero vs De Vitis tonight in Italy
After promoting the European flyweight championship between Andrea Sarritzu and Silvio Olteanu last week in the beautiful island of Sardegna, Italy OPI 2000 (Salvatore and Christian Cherchi) will promote the European super featherweight championship between the defending champion Devis Boschiero and fellow Italian Antonio De Vitis.
Boschiero is ranked in all World sanctioning bodies: WBC 3, WBA 14, WBO 10, IBF 7.
In the co-main event Simona Galassi will fight Renata Szebeledi in a rematch for the vacant Wbc World flyweight female championship.
On the undercard the European lightweight official challenger and WBC n. 9, WBA n.12 Luca "Black Mamba" Giacon will fight a six rounder against Jevgenijs Kirillovs.
Rai Sport 2 will broadcast the show live in Italy at 10.30 pm
BoxingBet: Hello Lovemore, thanks for agreeing to do the interview. How are you and how is your shape at the moment?
Lovemore Ndou: It is a pleasure to do the interview with you. I’m in great shape as always. I love training and I’m always in the gym whether I got a fight coming up or not.
BB: In your last fight a few months ago you beat Gairy St Clair. Can you tell us more about that fight?
LM: I was coming back after a 14 months layoff. I took some time off boxing and after about a year off I started missing the sport. That’s when I decided to make a comeback and continue fighting but for a good reason this time. That is to raise money for Youth Centers and orphans of the HIV AIDS epidemic in South Africa. I donated my entire purse from that fight to a Youth Centre. I’m a lawyer by profession and don’t need to be fighting anymore, however I believe every child deserves a better start in life and if I can provide any kid out there with that start in life, why not?
BB: In that fight you won some titles, the WBF world title and the IBF Pan Pacific title. The IBF Pan Pacific title should help you move up the IBF rankings. Do you intend to challenge for the IBF world title in the future?
LM: Yes the reason I fought for the IBF regional title is to secure a ranking in the IBF rankings and the ultimate goal being to challenge for the IBF world title in the future.
BB: Last weekend we saw new IBF welterweight world champion crowned after Devon Alexander beat Randall Bailey. Did you see this fight? Do you think that you can beat him?
LM: I saw the fight. There was really nothing much in it. Devon Alexander is just okay as a fighter. He won’t hold onto that title for too long and I would love to fight him. I believe I can beat him.
BB: Some weeks ago I read on some boxing site that you aren't fighting for money anymore. So tell me the reasons why you are still fighting. What's your motivation?
LM: That’s very true. Like I said above I’m a qualified lawyer and apart from that I also hold other University degrees in Communications and Psychology, and a Graduate Diploma in Legal Studies. I’m fighting to raise money for children in need. That is for the poor children of the world. It is my way of giving back to the community. I believe I’m fighting a good fight. I’m fighting for what’s worth fighting for.
And believe me I don’t give because I have too much. I give because I know what it is like to have nothing. I give because I believe every child deserves a better start in life. I give because I believe we are all gifted in many ways but sometimes it takes somebody or someone coming into your life to help you open your gift package. And if I can help someone open their gift package why can’t I? It took other people coming into my life to shape, make and mould the person I turned out to be today. So why can’t I continue with that tradition?
I listened to the First Lady, Michelle Obama, give a speech a few weeks ago and I was so touched by what she said. She said, and I quote “Success isn’t about how much money you make. It’s about the difference you make in people’s lives.” Those words define me. I would rather die with nothing in my name as long as I know I have made a difference in other people’s lives. Hence I will continue fighting for the children of the world until they take me out in a stretcher. I will fight harder to see that children continue to be the pride of our nation.
BB: We all know Ricky Hatton is making a comeback on the 24th of November and he will be facing Vyacheslav Senchenko. If he wins, would you like to fight him?
LM: When news of Ricky Hatton making a comeback first broke I was the first one to raise my hand up and say I will fight him for nothing. I will fight Ricky any given day and I will donate my entire purse to the orphans of the HIV AIDS epidemic in South Africa.
BB: You lost 2 fights against Saul Alvarez and Kell Brook last year. What do you think about them? Who is a better contender?
LM: The truth is when I fought both of them I had already lost interest in boxing. I had no reason to fight anymore. The truth is I just went on a holiday and got paid and they still wouldn’t stop me. Saul Alvarez was too big to start with. I am a natural light welterweight and I was fighting against a full grown light middleweight and not once did he rock me. In the Kell Brook fight I just wasn’t motivated at all and still he wouldn’t rock me at all. If I have to fight both of them now it will be a whole different story. I believe God brought me back to boxing for a big and better reason. I’m fighting a good fight like I have already said above. I’m fighting for the poor children of the world and with that in mind I’m more motivated than ever before. What do I think of them? I think they are okay fighters but overrated. Who is a better contender? I would say each to their own.
BB: Did you ever think about retiring? If yes, what changed your decision?
LM: I have already answered this question. I took a 14 months layoff from boxing because I was just not motivated anymore. I was contemplating retiring during that period. Then I found a good reason to continue fighting and hence I’m still fighting. Above it all I still love fighting.
BB: You're one of those boxers who has a lot of experience. Do you ever think about a career as a trainer?
LM: No. Not at all. My future career is in politics. Someday when I’m done fighting I wanna go back to South Africa and run for president. I wanna fight for the masses in South Africa who continue to dwell in shacks while those in power live in mansions and own private jets. I wanna see a South Africa where there is an equal distribution of national resources. The current situation in South Africa makes me sick to the stomach. Those in power continue to pocket so much money while the masses continue to suffer. They send their kids to the best schools abroad but nothing is done for the kids’ of the masses who are denied textbooks on a daily basis.
It’s like the current leaders are forgetting that it was the masses that helped bring about democracy in South Africa. If it wasn’t for the masses these leaders wouldn’t be having these precious jobs they hold today. I am a true believer in the old saying that “You dance with them what brung you”. What this means is it is in your best interest to show rightfully due gratitude and consideration by words and actions towards “them that brung you” or those who helped you get where you are. That’s what these corrupt and ungrateful current leaders need to learn.
It’s sickening to know that one child can have access to a better education, and so much food which he can easily waste, etc, whereas another kid can go a day or two without a meal and will never get educated. And then we talk about a democratic South Africa. What’s so democratic about it? Every child deserves a better start in life and I wanna fight for that. Only then can these children continue to be the pride of our nation.
The crime rate in South Africa is so bad and I wanna fight against it. Crime against women and children is so high and I wanna do something about it. I wanna fight against injustice, illiteracy, poverty, racism, etc. I wanna carry the spirit of Nelson Mandela.
BB: You were born in South Africa and it isn't a perfect place for boxing training I guess. How did you find an inerest in boxing?
LM: I got into boxing when I was 14 years old. I used to play soccer but I had major anger issues and that didn’t help with soccer. If someone played rough against me I would always turn around and knock them out cold. Then I would get suspended for a few games. But before the suspension was over they would have me back in the field playing again because I was so good and the team needed me. Then they would start placing bets over how long before I got suspended again. The longest I ever went without getting suspended was probably four games. That was also because I had someone place a bet on my behalf that I was gonna go more than three games without a suspension and I needed the money in a country that was so poor and torn apart by racial discrimination and apartheid.
The last time I got suspended was after I knocked this kid out cold after he purposely kicked me on my leg and they had to carry him out on a stretcher. A security guard was asked to escort me out of the field and he happened to be a boxing coach. He invited me to his gym and that was the beginning of my career. The funny part of it is boxing changed me as a person. It changed me into a very calm and patient person as compared to the anger-fuelled kid I used to be.
I also saw boxing as my ticket out of poverty and a crime-fuelled country.
BB: What advise can you give young people who want to take up boxing. What's the most important thing?
LM: Train harder than anyone else. Live a good clean life. Stay out of trouble. Respect the law and make a good role model in your community. Don’t do drugs or alcohol. Dedication and motivation is the key. Never give up even when things don’t go your way at times. But above all don’t give up on your school education. Boxing doesn’t last forever and you need something to fall back on in the future. And be very grateful to God each day.
BB: You are now living in Australia. Tell me what made you move away from South Africa and ended up in Australia.
LM: I needed a change in my life. I needed to start a family but wanted to have children in a country where they would have every opportunity in life available to them. A place where they would never have to worry about being judged by the colour of their skins but by the content of their characters. I never wanted my children to go through what I went through as a child growing up in South Africa. And I’m glad I made that move to Australia.
BB: I'm looking for opinions on the Wladimir Klitschko vs. Mariusz Wach fight from boxing people around the world. I’m sure you have heard about the fight. What's your prediction for this fight?
LM: Look, the Klitschko brothers have been a dominant force in the heavyweight division for years and it won’t be easy to beat them. But again anyone can be beaten in boxing and we have seen upsets time and again. I really don’t know much about Mariusz Wach. Hopefully he brings some excitement because the heavyweight division is not that exciting anymore. It’s not like back in the days of Riddick Bowe, Holyfield, Tyson, etc.
BB: Is there anything else you would like to tell your Polish fans ?
LM: I prefer friends to fans. Anyone that supports me is a friend of mine. Not a fan. Thanks for your continued support and hopefully someday soon you will see me live in action in Poland. God bless you all.
Boxing’s Commander-In Chief and Fighter of the Decade, Congressman MANNY “Pacman” PACQUIAO, arrives in the U.S. Tonight! Saturday, October 27. Pacquiao and his team are scheduled to land at LAX International on Philippine Airlines Flight 102 at 8:05 p.m. PT.
Pacquiao (54-4-2, 38 KOs), boxing’s only eight-division world champion and the lone congressional representative from the Sarangani province in the Philippines, will begin his six-week U.S. training camp, on Monday, October 29, at Roach’s Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood, Calif. Pacman will be gearing up for the eagerly anticipated fourth act of his fistoric rivalry with professional nemesis and four-division world champion Juan Manuel Márquez (54-6-1, 39 KOs), of México City.
The Pacquiao vs. Márquez 4 welterweight collision will take place Saturday, December 10, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, in Las Vegas, Nev., and will be produced and distributed Live by HBO Pay-Per-View®.
Promoted by Top Rank, in association with MP Promotions, Zanfer Promotions, Márquez Boxing, Tecate and MGM Grand, remaining tickets to Pacquiao vs. Márquez 4 are priced at $1,200, $900, $600, $400, and $200. Ticket sales at $1,200, $900, $600 and $400 are limited to 10 per person and ticket sales at $200 are limited to two (2) per person. To charge by phone with a major credit card, call Ticketmaster (800) 745-3000. Tickets also will be available for purchase at www.mgmgrand.com or www.ticketmaster.com.
The Pacquiao vs. Márquez 4 telecast, which begins at 9:00 p.m. ET / 6:00 p.m. PT, will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View and will be available to more than 92 million pay-per-view homes. HBO Pay-Per-View, a division of Home Box Office, Inc., is the leading supplier of event programming to the pay-per-view industry. Follow HBO Boxing news at www.hbo.com and at www.facebook.com/hboboxing. Use the hashtag #PacMarquez to join the conversation on Twitter. For Pacquiao vs. Márquez updates, log on to www.toprank.com or www.hbo.com.