James Kirkland - "Joel Julio's Definitely Getting Stopped!"

James KirklandExclusive Interview by James Slater - Unbeaten and very exciting light-middleweight contender James Kirkland takes what many say will be his biggest test on March 7th, when he clashes with the 34-2 (31) Joel Julio on HBO. Southpaw Kirkland, a year older than Colombian Julio at age 24, has electrified fans with his naturally heavy hands, scoring a number of eye-catching KO's. On March 7th, against a guy who has thus far never been stopped, the Austin, Texas warrior sees himself scoring another.

Very kindly taking time out of his training, James spoke with this writer earlier today.

James Slater: I really appreciate your time, James. This fight with Joel Julio - most people say he is your best opponent yet, do you agree?

James Kirkland: To be honest with you, I'd only heard the guy's name, as I don't really watch fight films of other fighters. I checked him out when I knew I was going to fight him. I looked at his record on the internet, and I don't think this is the big fight everybody thinks it is. I see how he moves, how he carries his hands, and I don't think this fight will be as big as people think as far as test-wise..

J.S: Julio's never been stopped, will that change on March 7th?

J.K: Oh yeah, he's definitely gonna get stopped - you don't have to worry about that. He's gonna be on his ass! You can do an interview with him when he's on his ass (laughs).

J.S: Are you not worried about his punching power?

J.K: No, no. I spar with guys bigger than me, guys with power - just in case I do get in a fight where I have to take some hard shots. I also spar with smaller guys, for speed. I do the total package. So what's he [Julio] gonna do when he's in there with someone who has more power, more heart, more speed and enjoys boxing?

J.S: What do you say to the critics who say your defence could improve?

J.K: As far as defence - I've been boxing for so long, I know what a guy's going to do. People may say, 'oh, look, he's dropping his hands.' But I have certain moves and I can anticipate what's coming my way. Look at the accuracy of my opponents. I hardly get hit at all really. My defence is much better than people expect. As for Julio, he's lost twice, both times to lefthanders. He knows how tough he finds it against lefthanders, and I'm one of the best lefthanders in the game right now.

J.S: You're knocking on the door for a title shot. Who would you like it to be against? You're in a good weight class at 154.

J.K: To be honest with you, man - it sounds weird but I spend so much time training, I don't have any time to look at who has the belts and all that. I just focus myself on wining each and every fight I take. So, I don't know - whoever has a world title when I get there. I'll take over the 154 weight class. Oh, hang on. Paul Williams! does he have a world title at 154?

J.S: Yes, the WBO (interim).

J.K: Put that in there then, I'll fight Paul Williams! Put that out, I want him! I don't avoid anyone.

J.S: We all know you are a big puncher. In your opinion, which is your best punch?

J.K: (laughs) I can't say. I've knocked guys out with a jab, a body shot, a left hand - even a slap. I have power in either hand, so I don't really know about that.

J.S: How has training been going for the March 7th fight?

J.K: I've been doing a lot of strength work, to strengthen my body. I've been building my stamina. I'll probably start sparring next week. I'm focused for this fight, just like all my other fights - I'm working hard with my trainer Ann Wolfe.

J.S: How long have you been with Ann?

J.K: Right from the start. When I first started boxing I was with Ann. She's a great trainer.

J.S: You have no worries about maybe having to go the full 12 rounds against Julio?

J.K: The thing is, man, I go hard from round one to whatever round the fight ends in. I know how to take a person into the deep waters. I can box, not just press a guy. I can do it all.

J.S: It's been great speaking with you, James. For my final question, what is you final prediction for March 7th?

J.K: I don't see him going more than four or five rounds with me. If it goes five, he's down in five. I think around four or five rounds. He's definitely getting stopped.

Article posted on 16.01.2009

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