Exclusive Interview: Ronald Hearns Speaks About His Upcoming Fight With WBA 160-Pound Champ Felix Sturm - ďIím Going Over There To Take What He HasĒ
By James Slater - 32-year-old Ronald Hearns, son of course of the legendary Thomas Hearns, gets his first shot at a world title next month. On Feb. 19th in Germany, Ronald, as softly spoken but also fiercely determined as his father was, will take on the accomplished Felix Sturm. At stake will be the 31-year-old Germanís WBA 160-pound belt.
Article posted on 27.01.2011
Currently 26-1(20), ďThe Chosen OneĒ is intent on giving his best and making it to 27-1 as he brings the belt back home. Never one for boastful comments or trash-talking of any kind, Ronald was his usual calm and confident self when I called him earlier today.
Very kindly taking a short break from training, Hearns had the following answers to my questions:
James Slater: Thanks so much for taking the time out to speak with me, Ronald. How is training going for the Felix Sturm fight?
Ronald Hearns: Training is going wonderful, weíre close to the fight and really into the training; the sparring and conditioning work.
J.S: Where are you training for the fight?
R.H: Iím in California, Buddy McGirt has just opened up a new gym and Iím working there.
J.S: This fight is a huge and great chance for you to follow in your dadís footsteps. Will all of Detroit be in your corner, so to speak?
R.H: They will be with me in spirit, if not actually over there in Germany, yes.
J.S: Is there added pressure to have to follow in your fatherís steps?
R.H: No, thereís no pressure. I fact, there is no pressure on me in this fight at all. Iím just going over there to perform, and to take what he has; the world title. Itís a great opportunity and Iím excited and Iím appreciative of the opportunity.
J.S: How much have you seen of Sturm?
R.H: Actually, the first time I saw him was back in 2004, when he fought Oscar De La Hoya in the States. Since then, apart from on You-Tube, Iíve not seen too much of him. But I never dreamt Iíd ever fight Sturm, as I was a 154-pounder. But the chance came and I took it.
J.S: Do you feel any extra pressure having to go to Germany for the fight?
R.H: Not at all. Weíre men - we lace up the gloves and shoes and we fight. It will be just him and me in the ring over there.
J.S: You are faster and fresher than Sturm, who has had a long career even though he is a year or so younger than you. Do you feel your freshness and determination will be the difference in the fight?
R.H: It can be an advantage for me being the fresher fighter, but weíre both determined fighters. Anything can happen in the fight; letís see how it lays.
J.S: Do you see a chess-match-type fight, or do you see yourself overpowering him?
R.H: Well, weíre both boxers; Iím a boxer-puncher. So it could be a chess-match type fight, until one of us lands a good shot and then weíll see.
J.S: And it will be you who lands the first big shot?
R.H: No question (smiles).
J.S: Will your dad be over there for the fight?
R.H: Heíll definitely be with me, yes.
J.S: Do you feel stronger at middleweight? You have, as you said, had a lot of your fights at or around 154.
R.H: Thereís no question Iím much stronger at middleweight. This is a great opportunity for me to go and showcase my talents. To go to another guyís country and to take his title; thatís a big thing.
J.S: Youíve won five in a row since your sole pro loss to Harry Joe Yorgey. What went wrong in that fight? I know you had him down earlier on in that fight.
R.H: Actually, I came in too light for that fight. I came in at 151. I wasnít eating properly in camp, I was just eating whatever I wanted. I never got my strength up for the fight. I tried the best I could, but I was too weak and I just couldnít fight any more.
J.S: Do you feel you are at your peak now at age 32, and that you are totally ready for this big fight?
R.H: I had a late start in boxing. I started at age 24. So I had to take my time, to learn everything, to adapt from amateur to pro. Now I know all I need to know. Itís a great thing to win a piece of the title my dad won and Iím looking forward to this fight.
J.S: Itís been great speaking with you, Ronald. For my final question, when will you leave for Germany?
R.H: Iíll be going on February 10th or 11th.
J.S: Well, best of luck for the fight. I know you must be tired of people comparing you to your dad and I know you want to make your own mark - but it would be great if you could bring a world title back to the great Hearns name!
R.H: Thanks a lot. Thanks for having me on.
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