Q & A with Zsolt Erdei

11.09.06 - By Per Ake Persson: WBO lightheavy champ Zsolt Erdei is currently back home in Hungary relaxing after his title defence against Thomas Ulrich but kindly took time out for an interview. Special thanks to Robert Larsen for making the connection and to Adam Balogh for help with the translation.

Q: Zsolt, when is your next fight planned for?

A: I don’t know. Until my son is born absolutely not. The organization of the fights are a business of Universum Box Promotion.

Q: How do you see your fight against Ulrich, how would you rate your performance?

A: I fought a clever fight against Thomas. I was fully concentrated, and just waited for him to make a mistake. I used my jab very well; that was the foundation of my fight. The rest came automatically like during training..

Q: You sometimes come in almost two kilos / four lbs below the limit for light heavyweight, would fighting at supermiddle be possible for you?

A: The super middleweight is nothing for me. I would be too weak at 168. At lightheavy I can profit from my speed, and box with full strength.

Q: How do you see the planned Tiozzo vs Hernan Garay fight, who will win?

A: Hard to say, because I know only one of the two fighters, Garay. It will be his fire and desire against an experienced ring warrior. I can´t pick a winner.

Q: What do you say about your own fights with Garay?

A: As I mentioned he´s got a lot of fire and desire and that made my made my life very difficult. My experienced saved me. I sweated blood and gritted my teeth to make it through. Nobody would wish such an opponent. It is a clear disadvantage of a champion; you have to fight all comers. It is a great honor for me to have beaten him twice.

Q: You were an excellent amateur for a number of years; can you give me a rundown of your biggest achievements?

A: Ok, let´s see: 1996 European Championship silver medalist, member of the Olympic team. 1997 World Championship gold medalist. 1998 World Championship gold medalist. 2000 European Championship gold medalist, bronze medalist of the Olympic games

Q: Was it difficult to adjust to the pros?

A: Amateur boxing sometimes is kind of a team sport. There is more team spirit. The boxers stick together. There are even team championships. I don’t know why but in professional boxing one is more alone although the trainer is standing next to you. Money rules, it is a very hard business. Besides a little sadness nothing else happens when an amateur leaves the ring as the loser whereas a professional boxer will be dropped quickly. Since I turned pro I stand under more pressure to win. Another important difference between professional and amateur boxing is the greater number of rounds. If someone begins his career as an amateur boxer and continues as a professional he has to change his way of thinking if he wants to be successful. It is a great challenge but the right goal for an athlete. Boxing is wonderful sport if you understand it, regardless of if it´s pro or amateur. You have to be humble and to fight on even if everything may seem lost. I love boxing, it is a meaningful part of my life.

Q: What do you say about your trainer Fritz Sdunek?

A: He is not only one of the best trainers in the world, but he is a great person as well. For me he is the best trainer there is. I think his human and empatic work with his boxers have made him recognized around the globe. I could tell a lot of stories about him. He has unbelievable visionary instincts. An extraordinary gentleman who have stayed modest.

Q: Is there anything you still feel you can improve on?

A: Of course! A perfect boxer doesn’t exist. In each fight one notices that one is not perfect. I want to improve my defense, I want to box disciplined but lighter. I want to be more courageous, faster and stronger, therefore more complete. I know a perfect boxer doesn’t exist, but I try anyway. This effort to improve motivates me during the training before the fight. That is why I still enjoy boxing after so many years.

Q: For how long do you plan to keep on boxing?

A: As long as I have the feeling I can still achieve something: My health is also important to me. When my reflexes decline and I can’t recuperate after a fight I will quit boxing.

Q: Is there any opponent in particular you would like to fight?

A: There is no special opponent. I always prepare myself for he next fight and the next victory. I know I have a winning chance against everybody, I am not a champion without a reason….

Q: What do you plan for when you have retired?

A: I want to lead a quiet family life like, as I have done till now. I want to be a boxing trainer. I have alrady done 2 semesters at the Sport University of Budapest. After my pro-career I want to complete my studies and work as a trainer. I like boxing a lot and I am convinced of the pedagogical power of boxing. Children and teenagers that train will stay away from drugs and criminal gangs.

Q: Are you married, kids? What do you like to do outside of boxing?

A: I have been happily married to Arabella for over a year. The long awaited birth of our son should happen in November. In my spare time I want to be relaxed. I like to go fishing as much as can.

Thanks and all the best Zsolt, always a pleasure to see you fight!

Article posted on 11.09.2006

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