Exclusive Interview: Promoter Tom Tsatas Talks Klitschko-Sosnowski, Oquendo, Toney And More

by James Slater: Head of Hitz Boxing, promoter Tom Tsatas, promotes long-time heavyweight contender "Fast" Fres Oquendo, and as soon as he read how the little-known Albert Sosnowski will now get the big fight with Vitali Klitschko instead of the fighter he used to manage, Tom obviously formed an opinion on the subject.

Very kindly taking the time to speak on this fight - a fight that has surprised the majority of fight fans also - as well as a number of other interesting subjects, Tom gave the following answers to my questions yesterday evening (UK time).

James Slater: It's always great to speak with you, Tom. First of all, I guess you've heard about how Vitali Klitschko will be facing Albert Sosnowski now, on May 29th? A fight with either Klitschko is something your guy Fres Oquendo very much wants of course!

Tom Tsatas: How are you, James? Yeah, well, I'm down in Miami right now, but I heard about it. I think Sosnowski is rated a little higher by the WBC than Fres and to be fair to Vitali I think this is a voluntary defence on his part. I don't think Vitali wants to take any hard fights, any chances, while he waits for that big fight with David Haye. That was a horrible fight last time out, against Kevin Johnson, and I think, for what it's worth, that Vitali wants easy fights as he waits for that big one with Haye.

J.S: Fres told me he wants to very much get in the Klitschko mix. But now Sosnowski gets his surprise chance. Are you angry right now?

T.T: Yeah, Fres has worked his way back and I think he'd have a great chance against Vitali. He's younger than him by two years, he has a longer reach and he has a great chin. Fres is a far more worthy contender than is Albert Sosnoswki, that's a definite. I honestly feel, Fres, if he fought Vitali - and his shot will come, it's just a matter of time - would have a great chance of wearing him down in the later rounds, and cutting him, busting him up. That's how I see the fight going. People call me crazy, whatever, but I feel he has a great chance of wearing Vitali down late. There's no way Vitali stops Fres, that I guarantee.

J.S: Fres fought and won back on Feb. 20th of course; when he stopped Demetrice King in the 10th-round. How did you rate his performance?
T.T: It was pretty much a no contest. Fres dominated Demetrice King, a tough guy, and made him quit after the 10th-round. Fres never got touched hardly in the fight. Okay, people may say, 'who is Demetrice King?' But he had only been stopped once before, he was game and he kept coming forward, and Fres was real busy in the fight; in every round. That's what Fres is doing now, he's taking fights where he has nothing to gain, he's taking tough fights and he's keeping busy and keeping in shape for the day when that call [for a big fight or a title fight] comes. Fres scored a knockdown earlier in the fight, when he landed a overhand right, but King kept coming. And that's how Fres beats guys; he wears them down, he gets them swollen up and he chops them down.

J.S: Have you spoken to Fres since the Sosnowski fight was announced? Is he hopping mad at how he didn't get the fight?

T.T: The thing is, Fres is used to bad things kind of going against him - what with the decisions that have gone against him and the problems he has had with promoters in his time. He takes stuff like that with a grain of salt. I get more upset about things than he does. But the thing is, the guys Vitali has been in with, they have not tested him - Sam Peter and Kevin Johnson didn't test him at all. Fres would test him, no doubt. But as I say, he'll get his shot in time, it will happen. So now he will keep busy, he's not going to lose to anyone, and he's still young enough at 36 to wait his turn. Maybe Haye will give him a shot; we'll have to wait and see what happens with [Haye Vs.] Ruiz and with the Klitschkos [fighting or not fighting Haye.] Fres has gone a lot of rounds with Haye and there is a lot of respect there on both sides.

J.S: Who are some of the names you'd like to get for Fres this year?

T.T: We were offered a fight with Alexander Povetkin for March 13th; we were offered that. But going to Germany when it's only ten-rounds... You see, Fres likes 12-round fights. We're looking at the winner of the Sam Peter-Nagy Aguilera fight and the winner of the Johnathon Banks-Travis Walker fight. What we'd like to do, is see who the best American heavyweight is. Fres has those two belts [the NABA and the USBA] and let's see who can become the best U.S heavyweight; the best possible challenger from the U.S. Fres would stop Banks or Walker, he'd catch up with Aguilera, probably late in the fight, and Peter, well, we don't know what he has left. Fres would probably make Peter quit the way Klitschko did.

J.S: Those would be good T.V fights for Fres; I'd certainly watch them. Who wins, Banks or Walker?

T.T: I think Banks stops Walker, even though he's a pumped up cruiserweight who has moved up in weight. And if Fres does face Banks, he stops him in around six or seven rounds. And yeah, that would be an exciting fight - which is what the fans want. We'd also love a return with James Toney. If that fight could be made, that would make a good T.V fight. That's what these guys need, for the money to be right and for the fight to be an eliminator, where the winner gets a Haye or a Klitschko.

J.S: Talking about James Toney. What do you think to his signing a fight deal with UFC's Dana White?

T.T: I don't know yet what Dana White's intentions are with Toney. If he puts him in with a tough guy straight away, Toney could get broken down. We'll see what his intentions are with the first guy he puts Toney in with. If he goes in with a stand up fighter, as tough as Toney is, he won't lose. But if he gets taken down by a fighter he will be in trouble.

J.S: I don't know if Toney will box as well as do UFC. I'm not sure he can juggle both sports, so I don't know if Fres will get that rematch. I'd like to see Toney back boxing myself.

T.T: I don't know if he has the freedom to box, if someone offers him a fight. I guess we'd have to see the contract he's signed. But an in shape James Toney, say 217, against Fres, that would be a great fight.

J.S: Can I ask you about your next show as promoter? What is planned for you next, Tom?

T.T: We have a card planned for either May 28th or 29th. Montell Griffin is planned to be the headliner - he wants to win his fiftieth fight. So, that's a kind of blast from the past, but Griffin wants that fiftieth win, and he was, after all, the first guy to beat Roy Jones Junior and he also beat Toney twice. We're looking now for a good opponent for him to fight, to make a good fight for the fans. We also plan to have some of the guys from my last show on the card as well - some exciting fighters. I'm really pleased with how my first show went back in February. The fans all enjoyed the show. If the May card goes ahead on the Friday, we hope to make it an ESPN card on T.V, otherwise, well just go for the Saturday.

J.S: Well, I wish you all the best with the card, Tom. It's always a pleasure to speak with you. Thanks for the interesting info.

T.T: Thank you, James. Call me any time.

Article posted on 11.03.2010

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