Boxing

Exclusive Interview With "The Swamp Donkey," Adam Richards - "Me Against Huck Will Be Two Bulls Going At Each Other!"

by James Slater - Crowd-pleasing 29-year-old Adam Richards of Houston, Texas, got the title fight opportunity he has been craving since childhood yesterday, when he signed the contract to fight WBO cruiserweight champion Marco Huck in Germany on March 13th. Unbeaten as a 200-pounder, the 23-2(15) warrior who is better known to fights fans by his nickname of "Swamp Donkey," is already training for his big opportunity and he is ready to give his all in the ring in Germany.

A good amateur, Richards turned pro at heavyweight in March of 2001, and back in April of last year, after a thrilling but losing battle with Chazz Witherspoon, he dropped down to 200-pounds, where he has won two straight..

Very kindly taking the time to speak with me over the phone yesterday evening (along with his manager, Chris Rowland) "The Swamp Donkey" had the following answers to my questions:

James Slater: Thanks for taking the time to speak with me, Adam. First of all, congratulations on getting the March 13th fight with Marco Huck, you must be thrilled?

Adam Richards: Oh, yes sir. All the time when I was growing up, it's been my dream to win a world title. It's a dream come true this fight happening - it's a dream come true and a blessing.

J.S: Is Huck a fighter you've watched a lot, have you been studying him, making mental notes, etc?

A.R: Since this fight was first brought up, yes, I've been watching his fights, on You Tube and on tape. I have been taking mental notes, as you said, to pick up things that I will be able to use when I fight him. I've been doing my homework, that's for sure.

J.S: And when did you know for sure you had the fight?

A.R: It took until yesterday (Friday) to get the fight properly locked down. It was a done deal at around 10.30 last night. Now I'm getting myself prepared to do battle.

J.S: For those fans who haven't seen you fight before, how would you describe your style?

A.R: I'm a come forward guy. I never run from a fight with anyone. I like to fight in the centre of the ring, and I hope that's how Huck will fight me - like in a phone booth, as they say. If I have my way, it will be up close and personal with Huck!

J.S: Will this be your first fight in Germany?

A.R: As a pro, yes, but as an amateur I fought in a lot of different countries. I fought in Germany, Greece, Canada. I had good experience as an amateur, boxing on the Junior Olympic team. (Richard's is a former four-time National Amateur champion, as well as a former Junior Olympic champion, at heavyweight).

J.S: Are you excited or nervous about going to Germany for this big fight?

A.R: I never really get nervous before a big fight; if anything having a big fight makes me do better - I do my best when the fight's big, it brings out the best in me. I've travelled with Evander Holyfield in the past, too. I worked with him for all of his comeback fights (from 2006 until the title fight with Sultan Ibragimov in 2007) apart from the title fight - where he needed to work with southpaws. We're still close; he calls me and I call him from time to time, for advice. He's been a good mentor to me.

J.S: Obviously, this fight with Huck is a step up in class for you, but how big a step? One you are definitely ready to take?

A.R: It is a step up, but mentally and physically I'm totally ready for it. This is the biggest fight of my career, of course, but at the same time, it's just another day in the gym. He [Huck] fights just like me; he's a smaller version of myself.

J.S: I notice on BoxRec, you fought as high as the 250's at one time; have you worked the weight off slowly but surely?

A.R: My weight has ranged from 260 to around 204, 205. My weight fluctuated because I was into power lifting at one time, and my weight has gone up and down. I feel better as a cruiserweight, I'll be the bigger, stronger guy as a cruiserweight. I've lost none of my strength, I've just lost body fat. I feel so much better at this weight - I'm making moves I haven't made in a long time, my reaction time is on point and I've been working with speed and conditioning. My defence has improved in camp also, working with my trainer Ronnie Shields.

J.S: Shields is certainly a great trainer. How long have you been with Ronnie?

A.R: Roughly six years. Yes, Ronnie is definitely one of the best, and I know you have to train with the best to get where you want to go. He can take me far, as this [fight Vs. Huck] is not Ronnie's first time at the rodeo at all.

J.S: I read on ESPN.com how your promoter feels the fight between you and Huck will be an all-out war! Is that your mindset, what you are expecting as well?

A.R: Of course. Huck usually fights like me, and it will be two bulls coming right at each other. I can't say for sure it will be a war, but if it is I'm ready for it. I'm training for a war.

J.S: Do you have a favourite punch, a money punch?

A.R: Every punch is my favourite punch. I'm dominant in both hands and I like to throw bunches of punches - with anything from two to six-punch combinations, with four or six of the punches being power punches.

J.S: Just touching on your two pro defeats, the fights with Kevin Petty (TKO by 3, in third pro bout) and Chazz Witherspoon (TKO by 8, in Nov. of 2008). What happened there?

A.R: Oh, that fight [with Petty] never should have happened! I was with the wrong people back then and they put me in that fight with a cracked sternum and a cracked rib. He hit me with a haymaker in the chest and the cracked rib became a broken rib. It really is a blessing that I'm still fighting. The doctors told me after that fight that I was really lucky the rib didn't go through my lung. But you learn from your mistakes and you move on. The fight with Chazz Witherspoon, yes, I lost that fight, but I feel like I won the war. You know, if I lose I wanna go out blazing, and he never put me down, he never stopped me. I got a loss, but he got a broken jaw, and now I've got myself a world title fight. (at this point in the interview, Adam's manager, Chris Rowland added some info regarding the loss to Witherspoon) "Adam was also ahead on all the cards at the time of the stoppage. He just got caught, and that can happen to anyone at times."

J.S: I never knew you broke Witherspoon's jaw!

A.R: Yeah, I'm a country boy and we're known to hit a little more than hard!

J.S: When will you fly to Germany?

Chris Rowland: We're still looking at certain things like that, the fight was only signed at 10-30 last night. We're setting it all up now, as far as who Adam will spar with and when we'll leave for Germany. But he'll be sparring as early as Monday (tomorrow). We'd rather not say who he'll be sparring with, but we have three guys in mind, all top quality guys who are the same height as Huck and who will help Adam get prepared for March.

A.R: Yes, and I just want to say, I'm thrilled at this chance. I'm pushing myself harder than ever in training. I ran seven miles this morning, and then had a full workout in the gym. I'm looking to bring the title home with me - it's mine for the taking! Since I was a kid, I've had two dreams - to win an Olympic medal and to win a world title. I lost out on going to the Olympics by two points in the final of the Olympic trials, but now I have the world title opportunity. For real, I've wanted nothing more than this in my whole life.

C.R: At this time I'd also like to say thank you to Marco and to the Sauerlands for this opportunity. They know Adam is a tough opponent, who will come to win and we appreciate this chance. The Sauerlands have been great to work with, very good people who are very professional.

J.S: Well, it's been great speaking with you both. Best wishes for the fight, Adam - we look forward to an exciting fight. before you go, I have to ask - how did you get the nickname Swamp Donkey!

A.R: (laughs) Everyone asks me that. You know, most people who know me call me Swamp, they don't even know my real first name. It's very hot and humid down here in Houston, Texas and one day, after working out on the mat, I was soaked in sweat and I was told I looked like I'd just crawled out of a swamp. It started as a joke, and I said how I punch like a donkey kicks - so, just for smiles, we got Swamp Donley put on some green shorts and the name just stuck. The people like it, they chose to keep it, not us. It's catchy and people love it. So for this fight, I'll have Swamp Donkey on my green shorts once again.

Article posted on 08.02.2010



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