Boxing

Exclusive Interview: Ola Afolabi Is Back! And He Talks About Huck, Maccarinelli And The Cruiserweight ďSuper-SixĒ

By James Slater - British-born former WBO cruiserweight champion Ola Afolabi all but vanished after his very close points loss to current WBO king Marco Huck of Germany. That fight, in December of last year, marked the 30-year-old Afolabiís first ring appearance since his sensational ďbreakthroughĒ win over Enzo Maccarinelli that March.

Showing his class and skill in both big fights, the clever boxer/puncher known as Kryptonite left the fans wanting more. Thankfully, it has just been announced how the 14-2-3(6) former champ will return to action on the under-card of the Oct. 16th Vitali Klitschko-Shannon Briggs bill in Germany..

Now with K2 promotions, Ola is confident he will be back in the title picture after a few tune-up bouts.

Very kindly giving me the following interview earlier today, Afolabi had the following answers to my questions:

James Slater: Itís a pleasure to be able to speak with you again, Ola. Firstly, I just read you will be fighting on the under-card of Klitschko-Briggs on Oct. 16th. Can you confirm that?

Ola Afolabi: Yes, I mean I hope so. So far as I know, I will be.

J.S: Is there an opponent lined up?

O.A: They have an opponent - Iíve actually forgotten his name - but he has to confirm it and sign for the fight. This will be my first fight since December (of 2009) so I have to get in the ring (laughs).

J.S: I also read that you may be considering a move up to heavyweight. I know you know how these rumours start, but is there any chance of that?

O.A: This next fight will be at cruiserweight. If I moved up to heavyweight, Iíd be going up against big guys. Iíd be a small heavyweight, like 210-pounds or so; these guys are like 270 (laughs). So would it make sense for me?

J.S: You wouldnít rule it out though? David Haye is only a smallish heavyweight.

O.A: Iíll see how I go, whether or not I gain the weight naturally. I mean, anythingís possible, and as you say, David Haye is a small one [heavyweight]. If I went to heavyweight Iíd want to fight the big boys, the belt-holders. But if the money were right, Iíd consider it, yeah.

J.S: Just talking about your last fight, the points loss to Marco Huck, that was a very close fight. Do you think the verdict was fair, or did you feel going in that youíd lose if it went to the cards in Germany?

O.A: I knew I had to knock him out in Germany. If that fight had taken place anywhere else, it might have been closer, and maybe Iíd have won; you donít know. But the fact that I didnít knock him out is my fault. I didnít do what I was supposed to do. I had him going in the 5th-round but I didnít finish him. Part of that was me being lazy, and thatís got to stop.

J.S: Was it your plan to take a break after that fight, or have you been unable to land any fights?

O.A: Iíve had problems in the background, promotional problems. I couldnít get any fights. Iím now out of those promotional problems, I got out of them a month ago.

J.S: And who are you with now?

O.A: K2, the Klitschko promotional group.

J.S: They are a powerful organisation, now you feel you will get the fights you want and deserve? Would you like another go at Huck, or would you like a fight with Steve Cunningham?

O.A: I want to get two or three fights, and then this time next year I will be in a world title fight. Iíd like another go at Huck; this time I think I would destroy him. Iíd like to fight anyone with a belt, you know. I have around five years left [in boxing] and I donít have any time to waste.

J.S: We look forward to seeing you back in action. The fans on the forums have been wondering where youíve been. Youíre a gifted and slick fighter, and youíre a pleasure to watch.

O.A: Thank you.

J.S: Is you plan to take care of business on Oct. 16th and then take a seat and watch Klitschko-Briggs?

O.A: Thatís just my plan (laughs). Iíve trained hard for this fight and the big crowd wonít bother me. This fight will actually mark the first time that Iíve had the promoter on my side, working with me.

J.S: You made a big impact when you sparked Enzo Maccarinelli back in March of 2009. I think you may have actually ruined Enzo. Did you see his latest fight, where he was brutally KOíd again?

O.A: I did see that. I donít know whatís the matter with his promoters; they keep putting him in with punchers, again and again. Heís a good fighter, but he just has no chin. Yet he gets put in with heavy punchers time after time - are they trying to ruin him, or what! I mean, good on him, heís got balls getting back in there. But I think absolutely he should retire now - that last knockout was a hard one. He loves the game, but there are so many other things he could do in boxing - T.V work, promotional work. Heís a good guy.

J.S: Can I ask, where are you based now, Ola - and who trains you now?

O.A: Right now Iím in Austria, Iím working with Fritz Sdunek, Klitschkoís trainer. Freddie Roach is too busy to work with me these days (laughs). Freddie has Pac-Man and Khan and I think a few other Olympians - who am I? Iím just the guy who walked into the gym and broke his ass in training (laughs). Weíre still cool, I still love the guy, and maybe if I were making the big money heíd still be working with me. I still train in his gym. But that was another thing with the Huck fight. He [Roach] trained me, but you donít see everything in the ring yourself, and thatís where you need the guy in the actual corner. His not being there was what kind of messed up the relationship. But like I say, weíre still friends.

J.S: Well, itís been great speaking with you, Ola. Youíre a great fighter, with moves like James Toney, Chris Byrd and all those cute guys. Hopefully you will get those wins under your belt and then get another title shot. The cruiserweight division is pretty hot now, isnít it?

O.A: I appreciate it. Yeah, I know theyíre doing a cruiserweight Super Six. I donít think theyíll have me in it though.

J.S: You donít think Sauerland will have you in the tournament?

O.A: I donít, because if I was in it Iíd get right back at Marco Huck. I donít think he wants to fight me again. Iíd love another go at him.

J.S: Best wishes for the fight on the 16th. I canít wait to see who the guy is youíre fighting, so I can look up his record. Youíve been out of the ring too long, Ola!

O.A: Thanks. Call me anytime.

Article posted on 06.10.2010



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