Unbeaten super-middleweight prospect Ronald Ellis makes his Showtime debut on February 19th and the 12-0(10) talent says he will “make a statement” in the scheduled 8-rounder with Jerry Odum.
A confident fighter who talks well, Ellis also says he wants an active 2016 so as to make up for a couple of injury-enforced layoffs earlier in his now five-year pro career.
Here the 2010 National Golden Gloves champion speaks exclusively with Eastside Boxing:
Q: Firstly, how much do you know about your opponent Jerry Odum (13-2 with 12 KO’s)?
Ronald Ellis: “I know quite a bit about him, but at the same time not too much. I’ve seen him fight, he’s tough and he comes forward. He can fight. I have nothing bad to say about him and nothing good to say about him. He’s quite basic, I think I will outbox him.”
Q: Is this your first appearance on Showtime?
R.E: “Yeah, my first time. I feel I should’ve been there earlier but now I’ve gotta make a statement. This will be a beautiful fight, so tune in. We are both bangers with a high knockout percentage and they’re saying it will be a war, and if I have to, I’ll go to war, but I think I’ll be too skilful for him. I’m not looking for the KO, because I can go eight-rounds easy.”
Q: You have quite a few KO’s, 10 out of your 12 fights, but for those fans who have yet to see you fight, how would you describe your style?
R.E: “On paper, I have a lot of knockouts, but I like to box. I like to wear guys down; I have actually got a few early knockouts though, where I’ve caught the guy early. I’m a boxer/puncher. Sometimes I can be too eager for my own good. I’m working on my movement and on my slickness. Why take punches, you know.”
Q: How happy are you with the way your pro career has been progressing? You made you pro debut five years ago now.
R.E: “I’ve had a number of setbacks, injuries. But now, with this fight, I will open a lot of eyes. I will show what I’m about. I hope to have six more [fights] this year, four at least, but six would be beautiful. I’m ranked pretty high, number-13 in the U.S. I hope to be top-10 soon. As long as I stay healthy, maybe get a quick win here and there, then I might get those six fights in. I had an elbow injury in late 2012 and that kept me out quite a long time. I had chipped bones and that took eight months to heal. But now I’m doing more push-ups and pull-ups than ever before and all that’s behind me now.”
Q: Who is your head trainer now, Courage Tshabalala?
R.E: “No, I was with Courage. I’ve been bounced around quite a lot, with different trainers in different camps. Some people might say that’s no good for a fighter, but the way I look at it is, I picked up some experience in each and every place I’ve been. Right now I’m with Coach Wallie (Willie Moses), who was the Olympic trainer and I’m with Coach Naz (Nasir Graham), who fought Winky Wright and was Bernard Hopkins’ main sparring partner. I’m in New Jersey now and I feel comfortable here.”
Q: With you working in a number of camps, you must have sparred a lot of big names?
R.E: “Oh, let me see (smiles). I sparred Kelly Pavlik, [Lucian] Bute, [Marcos] Maidana, Edwin Rodriguez – it’s quite a list and I’ve gained great experience.”
Q: Will you stay at super-middleweight, you make the weight comfortably?
R.E: “To tell you the truth, I’d like to go down to 160, I think I’d be stronger there. But if you look at my career, ever since 2005, when I was an amateur, I was fighting at 168. I guess I’m stuck there. I make the weight comfortably, I’m just two or three pounds above weight now, with two weeks to go before the fight.”
Q: Who do you think is the best super-middleweight in the world right now?
R.E: “I like James De Gale. I liked it when he beat up the Dirrell brother [Andre]. You also have a few other good champions, but I don’t have anything bad to say about any of them. I’ll fight any of them when the time comes. Definitely this year I’ll go for a smaller title – why slow the process down? I’m 26 now and I feel great. It’s my time now.”