Exclusive Interview With Heavyweight Contender Joe “The Future” Hanks - “I’m Looking Forward To Making Some Noise”

By James Slater: Unbeaten Newark, New Jersey heavyweight Joe Hanks is a skilful, gifted boxer/puncher who has already made waves with his athleticism, his power and his intelligent approach.

The 29-year-old former super-heavyweight amateur standout is currently 19-0(13) as a pro, and the 6’4,” approx 245-pound prospect is due back in action on the 27th of this month.

So far, Hanks has been moved carefully (with the odd risky fight thrown in - see his Aug. 2009 win over the then 10-0 Ashanti Jordan) and fans want to see how good “The Future” really is. Hanks, a laidback, modest person, says he will make his move this year, and that fans will have their chance to see for themselves when he has his “coming out party.”

A pleasure to speak with, Joe kindly gave ESB some of his time yesterday evening.

James Slater: Thanks so much for taking the time to speak with Eastside Boxing, Joe! First off all, Boxrec have you down as fighting again on April 27th, in Miami, against Marcus Rhode?

Joe Hanks: Thank you for taking the time to have me. Yeah, it looks like Marcus Rhode. I’m not sure it will definitely be him - it could be subject to change - but it will definitely be April 27th.

J.S: For those fans that are not familiar with you, yet! - who are your boxing heroes?

J.H: Oh, I like them all: Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard - I saw a documentary on Jack Johnson, and I was hooked; I fell in love with the sport.

J.S: And you were how old when you first put the gloves on?

J.H: I was 12 when I first stepped into it, and then I was 19 when I came back, when I went full out.

J.S: As you know, America has not had a heavyweight champion for some time - as amazing as that really is. Fans see guys like yourself, Seth Mitchell and Chris Arreola as the best hopes to bring the belts back to the U.S. Do you see that as added pressure; that hope on your shoulders?

J.H: I don’t see it as pressure. I think the world looks at us, the U.S heavyweights, as if we are worth writing off now - we’re the underdogs and nobody expects too much from us. There are so many great fighters from Europe and all over the world. Anyway, I’m looking forward to surprising people; I’m looking forward to making some noise.

J.S: And how would you describe your fighting style for those who have not seen you in action yet?

J.H: I like to think of myself as a boxer/puncher. I can counter-punch, but I can also bring it to you. I have speed and reflexes, and I can make adjustments in there; so as to be able to take you out.

J.S: You’ve been a pro since late 2007; do you have any timeframe in your mid as to when you want to make your move, so to speak - when you want to fight a top name?

J.H: I just make sure I stay ready, that I keep getting the experience. I’ll get better and better and better. I leave it to my team, but this year I hope to show myself as a real contender. By 2013, I hope to be in a position to be able to challenge one of the Klitschkos, or at least fight an eliminator to be able to fight one of them.

J.S: Every boxing interview with a heavyweight always brings up the Klitschko name…

J.H: They have to (laughs).

J.S: Who would you like to fight so as to prove you’re ready for them?

J.H: I leave that to the fans, to my team. I’ve boxed Wladimir many times as an amateur, and I always thought we’d meet one day, as pros - I knew one day that it had to be!

J.S: And how many times have you sparred Wladimir, and when was the most recent time?

J.H: I’ve sparred him three times in camp, and the last time was in Austria, when he was getting ready to fight Eddie Chambers. I’d had ten to 12 fights at the time, and that experience got my feet wet. That has given me a lot of experience; that and sparring with everyone from Chris Byrd, Jameel McCline and Timur Ibragimov - and a lot of other guys as well.

J.S What was your amateur record, Joe?

J.H: I had 25 amateur fights. It was very hard getting fights as a super-heavyweight. That’s why I said to myself, I’ll make up for the lack of experience by boxing all the pros I could in the gyms. In each fight I have, I just try to test myself: ‘How can I gain? What have I taken from the gym and put into practice in the ring?’ That’s what I need to do: take what I’ve learnt in the gym and then use it in the actual fight.

J.S: And who would you say has given you your best pro fights so far?

J.H: I fought a Golden Boy fighter, Ashanti Jordan, who was 10-0 at the time, and that was a good fight for me. I’ve fought learning fights.

J.S: There isn’t too much of you on You Tube

J.H: And I like that! I want to be kept a secret until I have my coming out party (laughs). I like to be very much a mystery man.

J.S: And when do you plan that coming out party - this year?

J.H: Oh yeah. This year, I want to give the fans some brute force; something to cheer about!

J.S: Age 29, as you are now, is young for a heavyweight today. How far do you think you might be from your peak?

J.H: Well, the peak now for a heavyweight is 36! (laughs). Really, the sky is the limit for me. I have all the tools to be able to do what I want to do. In the next three years, I think it will be a real interesting time for me and for heavyweight boxing.

J.S: You’ve boxed all your pro fights in America. Would you consider taking a fight in Europe one day soon maybe; with a Tyson Fury or a David Price?

J.H: I’d love to! I’ve sparred Audley Harrison a lot, and he tells me that boxing is so big in Europe. To me, it’s whoever the promoters and the fans want me to fight. I doubt I’d fight Fury there though - it would have to be on neutral ground (laughs). He’s really popular over there! But I plan on making myself a legitimate name in the heavyweight division very soon. After maybe two more fights it will be my time to take on the top names.

J.S: It’s been great speaking with you, Joe. Your nickname, “The Future” - doesn’t that put added pressure on you - seeing as it seems to say you are the future of the heavyweight division?

J.H: Ah, no! It’s no pressure. I never gave that name to myself, I was given that name. It’s something to shoot for, and another goal of mine - to become the heavyweight the fans want to watch in the future.

J.S: Thanks again for taking the time to speak with me, sir.

J.H: Thanks for having me on.

Article posted on 21.04.2012

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