Ronnie Shields' resume as a top-notch trainer dates back to the '90s. But lately, over the last 10 years or so, he has gained another ludicrously idiosyncratic reputation; he has become the defacto mentor of virtually every fighter from every corner of the globe whose name is excruciatingly difficult to pronounce. Some of the recent examples include Efetobar Apochi, Eimantas Stanionis, Guillermo Rigondeaux, Efe Ajagba, Erislandy Lara and Medzhid Bektemirov ... and that's just the tip of the iceberg.
Meet Shields' latest tongue-twister prospect: Andreas Katzourakis.
A converted kickboxer, Katzourakis ventured to Houston two months ago to seek Shields' tutelage. He had an amateur boxing record of 24-0, although it was compiled entirely in his native country of Greece which is not exactly a stronghold for the sweet science. No sooner had Katzourakis joined the Shields stable when he was tossed into the lion's den.
"When I came to Ronnie, I knew he had Jermall so I knew it was a possibility to work with him," Katzourakis, 23, said.
"(Shields) told me the second week I was with him if I wanted to work with Jermall and spar with him for the training camp. It was a great opportunity for me to learn from him, gain experience and be around a world champion and check out how he works, so it was awesome."
Katzourakis, according to Shields, is a pressure fighter who favors power punches in lieu of jabs and pitty-patty scoring shots.
"It's not that I'm similar to Montiel because he throws very wide which I don't really do," Katzourakis said. "But I bring power and physical strength to the table and that kind of stuff. Of course I would work uppercuts and hooks and stuff that Montiel would do."
Trading punches with a world titleholder as proficient and experienced Charlo while still wet behind the ears was an eye-opening lesson. Katzourakis said he has taken it all in stride.
"I felt good. I came to try to push him as much as I could and bring the best out of him," Katzourakis said. "But of course, he is who he is and was doing his thing. He is very sharp, very explosive and he has great distance. He is going to do great in the fight."
See prediction for Charlo-Montiel at: https://peterliminator.blogspot.com/2021/06/jermall-charlo-vs-juan-macias-montiel.html