Exclusive interview with new IBF champ, Joshua Clottey

Joshua ClotteyBy James Slater: Fresh off his great win over Zab Judah on Saturday night (Aug 2nd) in Las Vegas, new IBF welterweight champion Joshua Clottey very kindly gave this writer an over-the-phone interview earlier today. "The Hitter," or "The Grand Master," informed me he was out in in town - very possibly celebrating - yet was still gracious enough to give me five or ten minutes of his time. Happy at finally becoming world champion, the Accra-born fighter gave the following answers to my questions.

James Slater: Firstly, Joshua, congratulations on becoming the new IBF world champion.

Joshua Clottey: "Thank you, thank you. It feels good, I am very happy."

J.S: Did you always know you would beat Zab Judah?

J.C: "Yeah, I always knew. I knew I'd be too much for him. I'm bigger and stronger and I knew I'd have too much for him.."

J.S: If the fight had not been stopped and made a technical decision in the 9th round, do you think you would have stopped Judah?

J.C: "Yeah, I do. There was no way he was going to go another three rounds. I knew he was in trouble, because every time he hit me I didn't feel his punches. And he was getting very tired. I was definitely going to stop him if the fight had gone on."

J.S: To ask you out flat; do you think Judah quit?

J.C: "(raising his voice a touch) Yeah, he quit! He quit! He said it was a head-butt to get out of the fight. But it was a left uppercut [that opened the cut]. He used his head and thought of a way out of the fight. I do not think the referee (Robert Byrd) did a good job in the fight. He listened to him [Zab and his corner] and let him tell him it was a head butt."

J.S: Is it also true that you hurt your right bicep in the fight?

J.C: "It was my left arm. Yeah, I hurt my left arm in the 5th round, I think it was."

J.S: And how is the arm now?

J.C: "It's healing right now. It's still painful, but it's getting better."

J.S: Will it keep you out of the ring for the rest of this year - when do you think you will you be ready to fight again?

J.C: "I want to fight again this year. I think I will be able to fight again in November or December. I am going home to Africa first, though."

J.S: And who is it you want to fight - Antonio Margarito?

J.C: "Yes, I want to fight Margarito. I want to avenge that loss (on points in 2006), because I know I was winning the fight until my hands gave out. I'm ready to fight him. I'll be bigger and stronger than him. I'm a very big welterweight. I struggle to make weight, but I can do it by training hard."

J.S: Are there any other names at 147 you'd like to fight?

J.C: "Yeah, I want to fight the new WBC champion - what's his name? Oh, [Andre] Berto, yes. I want to fight him. Not for any particular reason like he's the best or anything. But he has the WBC title. I very much want to unify. If they give me the chance I will unify the welterweight division."

I sincerely want to thank the brand new IBF 147-pound world champion for the time he afforded me.

Article posted on 06.08.2008

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