Prizefighter’s “Chosen One”: Tony Salam Is Rising To The Occasion

boxingBy Ezio Prapotnich - Success in life stems from the ability of recognizing, creating, and catching opportunities. The biggest opportunity, so far, of 26 years old London based Nigerian Tony Salam’s career (9-1-0) has just knocked at his door. For the first time in the history of the series, Prizefighter gave the public the chance to vote to fill the last opening in the line-up for the upcoming Super Middleweight installment on June 30 at London’s famous York Hall and Tony secured the spot collecting over 5000 votes, thanks to the Facebook campaign launched by his promoter Spencer Fearon of Hard Knocks Boxing. Although only 10 days have passed since his last fight and having just 2 weeks to prepare, the Southern Area Super Middleweight Champion jumped on the opportunity. And we jumped on the chance to meet him and find out more about him.

EASTSIDEBOXING: How old were you when you picked up boxing and why?

TONY SALAM: I was around 8 years old, back home in Nigeria. It’s a family thing: my dad, my uncle, and my brother used to box and I followed..

ESB: How old were you when you moved to the UK? Was the decision related to your boxing career?

TS: I moved here when I was around 17 or 18, with my family, and it was in order to boost my future in sports. My parents have been very supportive.

ESB: You had an outstanding amateur career, representing England at the 2002 Commonwealth Games and winning the British ABA title in 2004, then you turned pro in 2006 and piled up seven straight victories over 2 years until Courtney Fry stopped you in 2008, the only stain on your record. He pulled out of the rematch scheduled for the 4th of June. Would you like to fight him again at one point?

TS: I am definitely willing to fight him again somewhere down the line. Even if I became world champion and it would make no sense at all to fight him, financially or whatever the reason, I would face him. It would make sense for me.

ESB: As a pro, how long have you been promoted by Hard Knocks?

TS: Officially, it is only 3 weeks, but they have been looking after me for sometime now. I did not have any promoter before. Spencer saw great potential in me and I am very thankful he gave me a chance to get my career on track after that loss. He believes he can bring me to a higher level and has actually already done that by getting me into Prizefighter.

ESB: In your opinion, what will the exposure you are getting out of this do for your career?

TS: I do believe I have the potential to be world class, but it’s a long way up there. This edition of Prizefighter is a brilliant installment, with good competition in it and it will fast track the winner to a title opportunity at domestic level. Namely, George Groves, current Commonwealth champion.

ESB: Are you familiar with the other contestants? Is there anyone in particular you are looking out for?

TS: They are all good fighters, each one with different assets and attributes, but, as far as I am concerned, there is no one standing out. It doesn’t matter who is my first draw. I would fight them in any order.

ESB: You last fought on the 4th of June and you have more or less 2 weeks to get ready for Prizefighter. Is it too short a notice to get in shape?

TS: I leave that judgment to the public who will watch on the 30th of June. I would fight every week, if I could. Actually, I would be delighted to fight Tony Bellew on the 3rd of July, if his opponent pulls out. I would fight Tony Bellew 3 days after Prizefighter.

ESB: Ok, so you already have Tony Bellew and George Groves on your hit-list. Is there anybody else out there who should start worrying?

TS: James De Gale and Paul Smith, not because of the belts they hold, but because they are perceived as the best in the division, and fighting the best is what matters, not the titles. But, to be perceived as the best and to prove you are the best are two different things. And there is only one way for them to find out: by fighting me.

ESB: Is there anything else you would like to share?

TS: I would like to thank Barry Hearn from Matchroom Sport for giving many upcoming boxers like myself a platform to showcase their talent in what, I believe, is the best competition in Europe. Also, a big thanks to all the voting fans for their trust. I will show my appreciation and gratitude by giving them the best Prizefighter ever.

Tickets are on sale now and cost £35 (unreserved), £60 (ringside) and £100 (VIP) and are available from Matchroom Sport on 01277 359900.

Article posted on 16.06.2010

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