Exclusive Interview – Last month in the biggest test of his almost ten-year pro career, heavyweight contender Oscar Rivas scored a notable upset over Bryant Jennings. Stopping Jennings in the 12th and final round to claim the IBF international belt and retain his NABF title, the 31 year old Columbian who is based in Canada made a big impact on the division. A decorated amateur, “Kaboom,” as Rivas is colourfully nicknamed, is now looking to take on and beat even bigger names.
How far can Rivas, 26-0(18) go?
Here, courtesy of Marc Ramsay, Rivas speaks exclusively with East Side Boxing:
Q: Belated congratulations on the big win over Jennings. It’s still early, but do you have any idea yet on your next fight?
Oscar Rivas: “My promoter Yvon Michel will take care of this, but when the call comes I’m gonna be ready, and I look for the biggest challenge possible, in terms of money and also my own accomplishment. I look to get some big momentum going.”
Q: At age 31, are you at or near to your peak?
O.R: “I think so. I think the next four to five years will see me at my peak.”
Q: You had a fine amateur career, what was the highlight or highlights?
O.R: “I fought every good amateur super-heavyweight of the time, especially in South America. I won silver at the Pan-American games in Brazil, silver at the 2008 American Olympic qualifiers, gold at the 2008 Pan-Am games and in 2008 at the Olympics I beat Kubrat Pulev, 11-5 decision but I lost 9-5 to the champion Roberto Cammarelle.”
Q: For those fans who have not yet seen you fight, describe your overall style.
O.R: “I’m physically strong but I can box. I can do a little bit of everything in a boxing ring. My best punch is my left hook.”
Q: Has anyone hurt you yet, who gave you you toughest fight?
O.R: “I’ve never been hurt. My toughest fight was against Jennings. It wasn’t physically hard but it was technical. It was a good challenge for me.”
Q: Who is your boxing hero from Colombia?
O.R: “Definitely Antonio Cervantes.”
Q: In your opinion, who is the best heavyweight out there right now?
O.R: “Anthony Joshua. He is the more complete fighter.”
Q: Who of the big names – Joshua, Wilder, Fury, etc, do you want to fight?
O.R: “I want all of them! This is why I am a pro boxer. It’s never personal, but I’m here to fight any of them as long as the offer is decent.”
Q: Who wins the Wilder/Fury rematch?
O.R: “I believe Fury. Wilder should have beaten him in the first fight, now Fury will have the momentum.”
Q: How did you first get into boxing?
O.R: “I was just hanging around on the street at home in Columbia and a friend of mine took me to the boxing gym.”
Q: At a little over six-feet tall, do you think you can handle the huge heavyweights?
O.R: “No doubt. I did that all my life! I can use it to my advantage.”
We await Rivas’ next fight with interest.