The Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood, California is known more as the home of Manny Pacquiao and Freddie Roach’s stable of World Chamion fighters. What many people don’t know from how this gym is portrayed on HBO’s 24/7 or any other show on which it is featured, is that there are other world class trainers there as well. Chris Strait, of www.convictedartist.com sat down with Eric Brown, to discuss the journey he has taken to from the Motor City to becoming a top-notch boxing trainer at the World’s most famous boxing gym.
“I want to be able to make a statement my next fight to get a guy like Kelly Pavlik, or Arthur Abraham, or one of those big names” – Edwin Rodriguez
Exclusive Interview by Geoffrey Ciani – I was recently afforded the opportunity to speak with undefeated super middleweight contender Edwin Rodriguez (21-0, 14 KOs) who is preparing to square off against fellow undefeated fighter Jason Escalara (13-0-1, 12 KOs) on September 29 in a bout that will be televised by HBO. Rodriguez spoke about his upcoming fight and shared his views on his opponent. He also provided opinions on a variety of topics, including the chemistry he shares with head trainer Ronnie Shields, Andre Ward’s impressive victory against Chad Dawson last weekend, his idea on what it would take to beat someone of Ward’s caliber, and more! Here is a complete transcript from that interview.
GEOFFREY CIANI: Hello boxing fans. This is Geoffrey Ciani from East Side Boxing and I’m here with super middleweight contender Edwin Rodriguez. How’s everything going, Edwin?
EDWIN RODRIGUEZ: Everything is great. I’m here in Houston, Texas with Ronnie Shields having a great training camp.
CIANI: Great! Now you have a big fight coming up September 29 against Jason Escalara. You said the training camp is going great. So you’re confident in your preparations for this fight thus far?
RODRIGUEZ: Yes sir, extremely confident. Me and Ronnie had a really good training camp where we were able to sit down and learn a few things, and just get a really good game plan for this next fight. We’ve had really good sparring partners. I’ve been working with Cornelius White, who’s top ten in the world at 175, and Don Mouton and me did ten rounds on Tuesday, and I feel great.
After his action-packed Nordic Fight Night debut in Herning on June 2, Ahmed Kaddour (25-2-1, 10 KOs) will make another appearance on Team Sauerland´s show on September 22, taking on Max Maxwell (15-11-3, 3 KOs) at Frederikshavn´s Arena Nord. Having learned all about German discipline, timeliness and strictness at Team Sauerland´s training base in Berlin, Kaddour has predicted to stop his opponent in less than five rounds.
Exclusive Interview by Geoffrey Ciani – I recently had the opportunity to speak with former two-time cruiserweight champion Steve USS Cunningham (24-4, 12 KOs), who will be making his heavyweight debut this Saturday when he takes on Jason Gavern (21-10-4, 10 KOs) at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. Cunningham spoke about a variety of topics including: his decision to move to heavyweight, adjusting to his new weight, his upcoming match against Gavern, a potential rematch against Tomasz Adamek, his views on the Klitschko brothers, his heavyweight goals, and more! Here is what Steve had to say.
GEOFFREY CIANI: Hello everyone. This is Geoffrey Ciani from East Side Boxing and I am joined here today by former two-time cruiserweight champion, about to make his heavyweight debut this weekend, Steve USS Cunningham. How’s everything going, Steve?
STEVE CUNNINGHAM: Everything is good. Training camp is over, and we’re leaving tomorrow, so it’s fight time.
CIANI: Great! Now Steve, as I mentioned a moment ago, you’re getting ready to make your heavyweight debut here. You said you just closed out camp. How was training and preparations for your first fight at heavyweight?
CUNNINGHAM: It was pretty intense because I was sparring with some big guys. I was sparring with Chazz Witherspoon and a couple of other heavyweights you guys probably don’t know from the gym. But these guys are big, man! 240 and about 6’6”, and Chazz Witherspoon is about 6’3” and 230. So you know I’ve been getting in some good work with some good heavyweights. It’s been grueling on the body taking those shots, but also it’s helping me learn and helping me develop more. The next thing was just me getting this extra weight on. I’ve gained about eight pounds I guess since my last fight, since we’ve been working at being a heavyweight, so eight to ten pounds. But since I was a small cruiserweight, you know I would leave the gym at like 195-196, or 194 and sometimes lower. Putting on this weight has been a little task, you know, just learning how to do it and keep it on.
Exclusive Interview by Geoffrey Ciani – I was recently afforded an opportunity to speak with undefeated junior welterweight contender Ajose Olusegun (30-0, 14 KOs) who is scheduled to face Lucas Matthysse (31-2, 29 KOs) on Saturday night for the interim WBC championship. The 32 year old Olusegun has been the WBC mandatory for a number of years now, but has been consistently overlooked when it came to getting his opportunity—until now. Olusegun spoke about his upcoming fight, and also shared his opinion on the October 20 rematch between Erik Morales and Danny Garcia. Here is what Olusegun had to say.
GEOFFREY CIANI: Hello everyone. This is Geoffrey Ciani from East Side Boxing and I am joined here today by junior welterweight contender, Ajose Olusegun. How is everything going today, Ajose?
AJOSE OLUSEGUN: Yeah everything is alright. Thank you. I’m doing well.
CIANI: Good, good to hear. Now you have a big fight coming up this Saturday against Lucas Matthysse. How has training and preparations gone for this fight?
OLUSEGUN: Training and preparations have gone well. It’s gone the way I wanted it to go. I did some preparation in New York, I did some in Nigeria, and I did some in Vegas. So training has been okay and the preparation has been perfect.
CIANI: Great. Now Ajose, you’ve been the WBC mandatory for over three years, and during that time seven other guys have gotten to fight for the title. This is for the WBC interim title. How do you feel about all of the circumstances and the long wait you’ve had to go through?
Exclusive Interview by Geoffrey Ciani – I was recently afforded the chance to talk with boxing trainer ‘Iceman’ John Scully, who is training light heavyweight champion ‘Bad’ Chad Dawson (31-1, 17 KOs) for his upcoming big match this Saturday night against super middleweight champion Andre Ward (25-0, 13 KOs). Scully talked about training and preparation, and also shared his views on the fact this fight will be contested at the 168 pound limit, a weight Dawson last made for a professional fight more than six and a half years ago. Iceman also provided his opinions on Ward as a fighter, the fact the fight will be in Oakland, and the upcoming match-up itself when these two elite talents square off. Here is what Scully had to say.
GEOFFREY CIANI: Hello everyone. This is Geoffrey Ciani from East Side Boxing, and I am joined by boxing trainer ‘Iceman’ John Scully. How’s everything going, John?
JOHN SCULLY: Spectacular! I’m very glad to be here.
CIANI: Good. Good to hear. Now you have the big fight coming up this weekend. Chad Dawson is going down to 168 pounds to face Andre Ward. How do you feel about Chad’s training and preparations for this fight?
SCULLY: I’m pretty excited about, and as I always say, when I’m training a boxer, especially at this level, I really go off the fighter. You know I see their mood, and how they look, and what their conditioning looks like. A lot of guys will say they feel good, but I’m looking at them and I’m saying well I don’t necessarily think you’re looking as good as you say you do. But Chad is so sharp and he just feels good. He’s really upbeat. You know most fighters when they get close to a fight they start to get moody and everything. He hasn’t even reached that stage yet, which is kind of surprising for a fight of this magnitude. I was expecting him to be a little bit more on edge and that type of thing, but he’s been really good and he’s very confident. So that makes me even more confident.
Questions & answers with Manuel Charr (21-0, 11 KO), a challenger for the WBC heavyweight title. The Lebanon-born Charr, nicknamed “Diamond Boy” will face Vitali Klitschko (44-2, 40 KO) on Saturday in Moscow, Russia.
Q: Hello Manuel, please tell us something about you history, your family and origin. How did you get to Germany?
A: My father was a Syrian citizen but I was born and raised in Lebanon. Sadly my father died in 1986 during the war. We have lived in Beirut till we came over as fugitives to Germany in 1989. We, that have been my mother, my 5 sisters, my 2 brothers and I. I was just 6 years old. First we stayed for a couple of weeks in Berlin Wedding and then we moved to Katernberg (a district of Essen) next to Gelsenkirchen, in the center of Germany. There I grow up, went to school and learned German.
Q: Do you visit Syria sometimes?
A: I do have some family there, but me close family is in Germany, so I hardly go over there.
By Joseph Herron: It’s Official! On December 1st, three division world champion and future Hall of Famer Miguel Angel Cotto (37-3, 30 KOs) will take on current WBA Junior Middleweight Champion Austin “No Doubt” Trout (25-0, 14 KOs) at the world renowned Madison Square Garden in New York City, NY.
When most boxing insiders didn’t believe Austin would ever get the opportunity to showcase his skills on the biggest stage of boxing, the Las Cruces, New Mexico resident always had faith that his time would eventually come.
“I’ve definitely paid my dues,” claims the 26 year old southpaw fighter. “But I really have to thank Al Haymon for this big fight. He told me that he was working on something big, and he really delivered.”
The big 154 pound title fight will easily be Austin’s toughest test to date. Not only will the young chameleon be facing a three division warrior who can box and punch proficiently, but the reigning title holder will also be fighting in the hostile confines of Cotto’s venue of choice; Madison Square Garden.
Austin believes the pro-Cotto crowd won’t be a problem.
“A lot of guys try to emulate him, but there will never be another Pernell Whitaker”—Emanuel Steward
Exclusive Interview by Geoffrey Ciani – With his vast wealth of knowledge, experience, and an amazing track record of success, Emanuel Steward is undoubtedly one of the greatest trainers the sport of boxing has ever seen. In fact Steward has trained and/or managed 41 World Champions, including the reigning heavyweight king Wladimir Klitschko. This is Part Four of an ongoing series with Emanuel that will explore past champions, historical fights, mythical match-ups, great rivalries, memorable fighters, and Steward’s own personal experiences as a world class trainer. This edition focuses on theme of amateur boxing. Steward (*pictured to the right, standing over Eddie Gonzalez during the semi-finals for the National Golden Gloves Championship, in Chicago, on March 6, 1963) spoke about his own experiences as an amateur National Champion. He also provided opinions on the American amateur boxing scene, the Cuban program, and various amateur boxers he has both seen and worked with over the years, including: Sugar Ray Leonard, Mark Breland, Floyd Mayweather Junior, Tommy Hearns, George Foreman, Pernell Whitaker, Howard Davis, Ronnie Shields, Roy Jones Junior, and more! Here is what the Hall of Fame trainer had to say:
The Stages of an Amateur Boxer:
Well the stages of a person’s amateur career I think are very important, and it’s something that I refer to in life often now. When you first go into the gym as a kid you start learning how to hold your feet and hands properly, or at least you did then. They don’t even do that nowadays, hardly. Everybody wants to just jump right on the pads now and go pop-pop-pop-pop-pop! But at the time when I came up, you learned how to do everything basically and fundamentally sound. Then you get to where you feel very comfortable doing that. It’s like a game where you can hit a bag or do whatever you’re supposed to do, and block a punch, and punch back. Then when you’re comfortable doing that, all of a sudden the actual boxing starts.
Exclusive Interview by Geoffrey Ciani – I was recently afforded the opportunity to have a very nice discussion with ‘Iceman’ John Scully. As a professional boxer, Scully posted a record of 38-11 with 21 wins coming by way of knockout during a career that spanned from 1988-2001. Scully shared his views on many of his contemporaries, including some of the biggest names in boxing from his era, including: Roy Jones Junior, Mike Tyson, Riddick Bowe, Evander Holyfield, Pernell Whitaker, George Foreman, Julio Cesar Chavez, Hector Camacho, Oscar De La Hoya, Felix Trinidad, and more! Here is a complete transcript from that interview.
GEOFFREY CIANI: Hello everyone. This is Geoffrey Ciani from East Side Boxing and I am joined by trainer Iceman John Scully. How’s everything going today, John?
JOHN SCULLY: Everything is spectacular. I’m very happy to be here with you.