Richard “El Tigre” Abril returns to the ring this week
by Pavel Yakovlev: On Tuesday, October 19th, lightweight Richard Abril faces Jose Reyes at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida. Abril (12-2; 6 KO’s) is a slick-boxing former Cuban amateur star with the talent to trouble any of the top lightweights and junior welterweights active today. At 5’11”, Abril enjoys height and reach advantages over most of his opponents, and his slippery, flexible upper-body movement renders him very difficult to hit. Possessing a superb sense of timing and excellent command of the distance between himself and his foes, Abril relies on his left-jab and sneaky, long right hands to score points. Abril is an excellent combination puncher and he is quick on his feet.
Article posted on 17.10.2010
Having observed Abril from ringside, it is this writer’s opinion that he could beat many of the fighters currently rated in the WBA, WBC, WBO, and IBF top-15 ratings. In fact, it is within the realm of possibility that Abril could someday win a world title belt. Thus far, Abril’s only defeats have been highly controversial split-decisions against prominent fighters.
Now living in Miami, the 28 year-old Abril recently granted an exclusive interview to ESB.
ESB: TELL US ABOUT YOUR NEW MANAGEMENT. WHO ARE YOU WITH?
ABRIL: My new promotional team is NVUS Boxing. My dear old friend Mr. Alex Medina decided to get behind me, and I feel I have what it takes to be champ one day.
ESB: WHO IS TRAINING YOU NOW, AND WHAT TACTICS ARE YOU WORKING ON?
ABRIL: My trainer is Roberto Sanchez. He does a lot of mitt-work for Miguel Cotto. He is a very dedicated trainer and we have been working on a good game plan to ensure my victory come October 19th.
ESB: YOU HAVE BEEN OUT OF THE RING FOR TEN MONTHS. DO YOU THINK RING RUST WILL BE A PROBLEM?
ABRIL: Even though I have been out of the ring for ten months it doesn’t mean I’ve been out of the gym for ten months. I will have no ring rust and I will give the South Florida fans a great show. I hope they will embrace me that evening. I’m very happy to fight on The Heavyweight Factory’s card and show my talent at the Hard Rock.
ESB: DESCRIBE YOUR FIGHTING STYLE AND YOUR TACTICS. WHAT DO YOU DO BEST?
ABRIL: My style is to hit and make my opponent miss. I’m a defensive specialist but I’m also a technician who knows how and when to seal the deal.
ESB: AS YOU ARE AWARE, MANY OBSERVERS (INCLUDING THIS WRITER) THOUGHT YOU DID ENOUGH TO BEAT HANK LUNDY IN BOSTON LAST JANUARY. NO DOUBT THE DECISION WAS A SURPRISE AND DISAPPOINTMENT TO YOU. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT THE LUNDY FIGHT?
ABRIL: - It is a thorn that still bothers me because I love this sport so much. For me, I feel I beat Lundy and the split decision in his favor did not sit well with me. I would love to bring him down and rematch him…maybe even on ESPN if possible. But actually, he better never choose to get in the ring with me again. Next time, I will make sure the victory will be mine, just as it should have been the first time. I thank The Eastside because you guys were there and had no favorites and also felt I was the winner. That’s real stuff.
ESB: ANOTHER CONTROVERSIAL DECISION LOSS FOR YOU WAS AGAINST BREDEIS PRESCOTT IN 2008. I LATER WATCHED THE FILM IN SLOW MOTION, AND WAS CONVINCED THAT YOU BLOCKED MOST OF PRESCOTT’S BODY PUNCHES WITH YOUR GLOVES, ARMS, AND SHOULDERS. THE ESPN PUNCHSTATS – AND THE JUDGES – APPEAR TO HAVE GIVEN PRESCOTT CREDIT FOR BODY BLOWS THAT HE DID NOT, IN FACT, LAND. ANY COMMENTS?
ABRIL: The Prescott fight was a good fight. I don’t discredit judges or their scorecards…that was the decision they made. But personally, I felt that in the worst case scenario a draw would have been appropriate, to say the least. The fight can be seen on YouTube, and boxing fans can judge for themselves.
ESB: AND OF COURSE, IN BOSTON THE JUDGES GAVE LUNDY CREDIT FOR BODY PUNCHES WHICH WERE MOSTLY BLOCKED BY YOUR GLOVES, ARMS, AND SHOULDERS. WOULD YOU AGREE?
ABRIL: I agree one hundred percent. I blocked the majority of those shots and at no time did he ever hurt me.
: I UNDERSTAND YOU WERE BORN IN CUBA, BUT BEGAN BOXING ONLY WHEN YOU ARRIVED IN THE UNITED STATES. IS THIS TRUE?
ABRIL: No, this is not true. I was born in Cuba and while there I had more than 300 amateur fights.
ESB: CAN YOU TELL ME ABOUT YOUR AMATEUR CAREER, INCLUDING YOUR RECORD, AND ANY TOURNAMENTS YOU WON OR FOUGHT IN?
ABRIL: My amateur record in Cuba was 286-19. I was the 1996 Cuban National Champion, and in 1998, I won the Playa Giron Cup Gold Medal. In 1999, I won the Guama Boxing Cup Silver Medal, and in 2000, I took second place in the Team Cuba Tournament. Sometimes I was ranked number one in Cuba as a lightweight.
ESB: HAVE ANY FAMOUS BOXERS HAVE BEEN THE INSPIRATION FOR YOUR FIGHTING STYLE? PERSONALLY, YOUR STYLE STRIKES ME AS A BLEND OF THAT SHOWN BY EUSEBIO PEDROZA (1980S FEATHERWEIGHT CHAMPION FROM PANAMA) AND EDWIN VIRUET (1970s LIGHTWEIGHT CONTENDER FROM PUERTO RICO).
ABRIL: My style has been compared to that of the great Tommy Hearns. My favorite boxer is Floyd Mayweather, and my inspiration comes from God and my family who are always with me.
ESB: WHICH DIVISION ARE YOU PLANNING TO FIGHT IN NOW: JUNIOR WELTERWEIGHT (140 LBS.) OR LIGHTWEIGHT (135 LBS.)?
ABRIL: I want to fight at 135 lbs. I’m 5`11” tall and will be ready for all the champs in my division.
ESB: WHICH CURRENT CHAMPIONS OR TOP CONTENDERS WOULD YOU LIKE TO FIGHT?
ABRIL: I would like to fight Humberto Soto and Juan Manuel Marquez. I believe in my ability and will rise to the top…I hope to see these two guys in the near future.
ESB: IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU WOULD LIKE TO SAY?
ABRIL: I would like to thank The Heavyweight Factory and Henry Rivalta for giving me a chance to participate as the main event on October 19th. I will not disappoint and I assure my fans that I will fight hard to earn victory. I give thanks to Eastside Boxing for taking the time to speak to me.
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