Mundine/Taylor: Shannan Taylor Interview

By Tony Nobbs: On Wednesday night February 11, Shannan Taylor faces Anthony Mundine over ten rounds for the vacant WBA International middleweight title†at the Wollongong Entertainment Center. 33 year old Mundine is rated number one in the world by the WBA at middleweight†Ė 36 year old Taylor number 11. Hereís what the Bulli Blaster had to say when I caught up to him recently..

Tony Nobbs: Shannan, youíve been after a fight with Anthony for a long time. Do you think you have got it at the right time?

Shannan Taylor:†Iíve called him out but Iíve been fighting. Iíve had twenty eight fights since Shane Mosley. But to answer the question - yes I do think itís the right time. At the time we were first talking, he would have been too big for me at super middleweight. Sure I won an Australian title and a WBF title at 168 pounds but that was just to get myself in a position to fight him. I first offered to fight him when he turned from football but to his credit he was honest and said he was not ready for me then. I was world rated and he was still a beginner, he only had four amateur fights in Noumea as a kid. It was always going to be a big money fight with Choc. He has kept the game alive (in Australia). In the nineties it was Kostya Tszyu and Shannan Taylor , now itís Anthony Mundine. Heís been good for boxing.

TN: After the disastrous 2001 you got your self back on track.

ST:†I got as high as number three in the world at light middleweight IBF but couldnít get a title fight. (The champion at the time) Kasim Ouma would not agree to fight me. He and his team kept saying yes but wouldnít sign. I believe I would have knocked him out. Because I couldnít get a shot at 154 pounds I moved up to 160 and challenged Raymond Joval (Nov 2005) for the IBO title. He was 175 pounds when he got in the ring, I was 164. He was too big for me and I was still beating him. I popped my rib in the second round and was three points in front at the end.†Then just after that I went over to Germany and went the distance with Arthur Abraham (March 2006, for the IBF middleweight title) on five weeks notice. I didnít even want the fight, my rib hadnít healed and I was looking to go back to junior middle, but I was given a shot and Iím a fighter. I played with him and he was tired at the end. So the true boxing fans know that I have been fighting itís just that
the general public havenít heard of me much as I havenít been on TV like I was in the nineties. People are asking why is Shannan fighting Mundine? This fight is happening because Iím number 11 in the world.

TN: Going off Anthonyís last couple of fights what do you expect?

ST:†He is talented and fast. He still hasnít made the 72.57 (160 lb). I donít think he will be as strong as he was at 76 (168). At the press conference he respected me. I appreciate that. I just hope that he trains hard and gives me everything he has otherwise he will be crying over his wheat bix on Thursday morning. You know what? Iím already looking forward to the rematch.

TN: What can the fans expect from you?

ST:†I will be stronger than him. Iíve been working for Assist Building Maintenance for 18 months. Iíve been doing concreting, carpentry, labouring, itís gotten my body hard. Before, Iíd be sitting in coffee shops getting soft. When Iím switched on I can do anything. Iíve given guys like Paul Briggs and Danny Green their best sparring. I can outbox anyone when I want. I will out jab him. Iím up at 5.30 in the morning running. Iíve got my desire back. When I lost my house, that took a long time to get over but now Iíve got this fight, Iím giving it everything. I have a plan but Iím not going to let it out yet. I went to The Philippines, Angeles City and trained with Rick Staheli who took Manny Pacquaio to his first world title.†My regular trainer Brad Gallagher went over also.†I live like a monk. Iíve spared Ryan Waters and I have Israel Kani down here with me sparring.

TN: You survived a ďgut checkĒ in June against Andreas Seran (to win the PABA belt). Tell us about that fight.

ST:†After I fought Sonni Michael Angelo I had three and half months off for the cut on my scalp to heal. I lived like a normal person. Not a fighter. I let myself go and got up to 91 kg (200 lb). It took a lot out of me to get down to middleweight. Those last few kiloís were very hard. Then Craig Christian (Seranís trainer) kept me up all night ringing my door bell. I couldnít sleep and I went in tired and weak. I was catching a lot of his shots on the gloves, just getting through the fight and then knocked him out when I realized I had to do something. Since then my body has adjusted and I feel great at the weight. My last fight I knocked out Dondon Sultan who is not easy to knock out.

TN: Do you think a win will make up for the losses?

ST: Yes of course. But really, those losses and setbacks had to happen. Iíve been boxing 27 years. Thatís a life time. Itís not like I boxed for eight years and went and did something else. I was in the public eye for a long time. I was made to to wait and wait to get a shot at the title. Then after losing to Mosley I went of the rails. It was something that happened for a reason. I got myself back.

TN: Looking back at your career. What would be your best win?

ST:†Buck Smith (1995 - Tech decision 5). I had him down five times in the fight. I got cut and it went to the cards. Heíd gone the ten round distance with Buddy McGurt a few months before. Willie Wise (1995- KO 2). He went on to beat Julio Cesar Chavez. Livingstone Bramble (1995 - KO 1). He went the distance with Kostya a year earlier, everyone said
I got him when he was shot. But he then went the distance with Rafael Ruelas after I fought him, so he wasnít shot. I got him with a great punch. Jake Rodriguez( 1996 - KO 3). Lonnie Beasley (1999 - KO 3). Spike Cheney(1989 - when I was a 17 year old amateur just out of the juniors and he was the Olympic silver medallist. Everyone said I couldnít win but guess what Ė I switched on.

TN: Any final words?

ST:†On February 11, I want me and Choc to have a great fight and I want to remind the Australian public what a great fighter Shannan Taylor can be.

Article posted on 27.01.2009

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