Nothing has ever been handed to undefeated world lightweight contender Ghislain “Mani” Maduma (16-0, 10 KOs). Unable to get a world title shot, the Congo-born, Montreal fighter is forcing the issue, fighting “Mighty” Kevin Mitchell (37-2, 27 KOs) in his backyard on May 31 in an International Boxing Federation (IBF) title eliminator, on the Matchroom Boxing-promoted Carl Froch-George Groves card at famed Wembley Stadium in London.
The 29-year-old Maduma is world rated by the World Boxing Council (WBC) at No. 3 and No. 4 by the IBF. Only IBF No. 5-ranked Mitchell, who has failed in two previous world title fights, stands between Maduma and his ultimate goal of a showdown with IBF 135-pound champion Miguel Vazquez.
“This is a very, very big fight for me,” Maduma said. “I want to be known in boxing circles and this fight in front of 80,000 fans in the stadium and so many others watching around the world will be a good publicity shot for me. I had a plan for this year. The first step is winning this fight, the second is to be world champion. That’s why I’ve trained so hard to give an exciting performance.
“I have to thank my promoter, Camiile Estephan, and coach, Mike Moffa, for what they do for me on a daily basis. In only 3 ½ years, they have me in this position and not many boxers can say the same. I also want to thank everybody on my team, Eye of the Tiger Management, my teammates and sparring partners, and the people of Quebec for their support.”
The largest crowd Maduma has fought in front of has been 8,000 at Bell Centre (Montreal) earlier in his professional career. He realizes that, as a hometown favorite, Mitchell figures to greatly benefit from fans there for Froch and Groves alike.
“I know 80,000 people will be screaming for him and booing me,” Maduma remarked. “It will be just me and him in the ring, my skills against his, but I think my skills are better. We’ll find out in the ring. He is a very good fighter with good skills and experience. I appreciate the opportunity to fight him. He’s a proven, world-class fighter and I need to beat him to show that I’m ready for a world title shot.”
“Ghislain is an amazing athlete,” Maduma’s promoter/manager, EOTTM president Estephan noted. “His level of fitness is unparalleled in comparison to any other Canadian fighter. Of all the big names who’ve come out of Montreal lately, Ghislain is definitely, pound-for-pound, the fastest and best conditioned. He is totally committed and his fitness level rivals any elite athlete in the world, no matter the sport, and in addition to his incredible physical shape, Ghislain is also a tremendously gifted boxer with an extremely high boxing IQ. We believe he is ready to take on the best lightweights in the world, causing a lot of damage on his way to the top. Ghislain Maduma is a major star in the making. He finally has an opportunity to prove he’s the best lightweight in the world by winning the May 31st title eliminator and then defeating Vazquez for the IBF world title.”
Maduma is the reigning WBC Continental Americas champion and he recently relinquished his North American Boxing Federation (NABF) crown.
Mitchell has lost world title bids to Ricky Burns (TKO4) and Michael Katsidis (TKO3) but he has defeated, among the more notables, world title challengers John Murray and Walter Estrada, as well as Amir Khan and Richard Abril-conqueror Breidis Prescott.
“Mitchell is a complete fighter,” Maduma’s trainer Mike Moffa commented. “He has speed, a good chin and can hit. This may not be the fight we wanted. It’s a big risk fighting him in England in front of 60,000 to 80,000 fans, which will be a challenge for me and Ghislain, but it’s the fight we needed to get on top. Mitchell is a very smart fighter; he waits and counters with an amazing jab.
“Ghislain’s speed has gotten him here. He puts his power behind his speed and jab as he throws combinations. We’ve been working with him to try and take away Mitchell’s jab to back him up. Ghislain is very serious, dedicated to the sport. When controlling a fight he can make it easy with his speed but, he’s also in top condition and he’ll need to be to take the fight to Mitchell.”
For further information about Maduma visit www.eottm.com, follow him on Twitter @GhislainMaduma.