ESB exclusive interview: J.D. Chapman: Naturally Willing to Learn

31.12.05 – Interview by Troy Ondrizek: J.D. “The Natural” Chapman is a twenty-two year old prospect from Arkansas. He carries and record of 19-0 (17 Ko’s) along with his big right hand. The argument against Chapman ever achieving greatness is his lack of refinement in the ring. He lacks some basic boxing skills, but is a natural athlete that is learning his craft as he goes. J.D. has no amateur training, in fact the only fighting he did before boxing was the “toughman” competitions. Just like Eric Esch or better known as Butterbean; did before him; J.D. is looking to turn “toughman” success into boxing success. However, very unlike Butterbean; Chapman is looking to be a real contender in the division and expects that under the tutelage of former world heavyweight champion Michael Moorer; to accomplish his task of being champion. J.D. is learning his craft from one of the best boxers of the 90’s. With new experience and skills gained after every match; Chapman is building up his record and his boxing repertoire. Just as much as J.D. has to prove that he is a legit contender, Moorer is doing the same at proving he is a world class trainer. These two men are learning together and proving to everyone that they are for real. J.D. took the time to talk to me and wanted for his fans to get to know him a little..

Troy: First off J.D.; Happy New Year.

J.D. Chapman: “Thank you Troy, same to you man.”

Troy: What made you do “toughman” competitions?

J.D. Chapman: “I played football in high school and didn’t have a scholarship for college ball so to keep from getting fat and following my competitive drive.”

Troy: How as the transition from “toughman” to professional boxing?

J.D. Chapman: “Uh, it was tough. You know I had no amateur experience so I had to learn from scratch. I thought I was learning how to box from “toughman”. It taught me how to fight in front of crowds though.”

Troy: Growing up; what boxers did you idolize?

J.D. Chapman: “I watched a lot of Muhammad Ali.”

Troy: No one closer to your generation? You know someone like Mike Tyson or Michael Moorer?

J.D. Chapman: “Not really. I liked how he danced around the ring and controlled the fight. I liked his personality. I talked to Shannon Briggs recently and he told me that he doesn’t care if people are talking bad about him; just as long as they are talking about him period. In some ways Ali was like that.”

Troy: What are you interest outside of boxing?

J.D. Chapman: “Hang out with my friends a lot. I have a 69’ Chevelle that I am restoring. That keeps me busy.”

Troy: How did you come to be trained by Michael Moorer?

J.D. Chapman: “Well it was whenever I hooked up with Scott my manager now; we talked about training for me should be stepped up. We tried out a few guys and Michael and I clicked. He is laid back and is patient with me. He doesn’t yell at me like some of the old-time trainers used to. He knows the game and teaches it well. We have a mutual respect for one another. That makes it easy for me.”

Troy: What has Michael; a former world champion done for your game and confidence?

J.D. Chapman: “Just the fact that knowing that a fighter like that believes in you is huge. To have a former world champion believe that one day you could be champion just lifts my confidence up. As far as learning everything, it’s hard. As every day goes by it gets easier and easier. I have no amateur experience. So fighters who have fought since they were like nine or ten, have all those years of amateur training to fall back on for their fundamentals. I am just learning that now. So I am taking my time developing my skills in the ring. I have a lot to improve on, but since I’ve had Michael around; my ability has increased by a large margin.”

Troy: Michael is getting old, he is 38 now. Do you think you can take him in the ring?

J.D. Chapman: “No, not at all. I could be him at Nintendo though. I mean maybe. He’s thirty-eight years old and out of shape. He knows what fighters are going to do by their body movement and his instincts. But if he gets tired and falls out of the ring, or is too weak to defend, I could catch him late.”

Troy: So recently you have been sparring with Shannon Briggs. How has a fighter of his caliber helped you?

J.D. Chapman: “You know that fact is that it brings you back to reality. It shows that there is still a lot of work to be done. So as in a fighter of Shannon skills it helps a lot. He is a top ten fighter, and he moves so fast. He hand speed and power is amazing. He does a great job of keeping his head out of the way. So you know I have a lot to learn from him. It’s going to take time. Maybe one day I’ll be able to hang in there with him.”

Troy: You had a tough twelve rounds with Gutierrez in your last fight. What did you learn during that fight?

J.D. Chapman: “Yeah I really didn’t know how it was going to be. I had never been past six rounds before. So after the fourth round with him; I knew I was going to have to go the distance with this guy. Everything that could go wrong before this fight did. I had a tweaked shoulder from sparring; and I had a nasty sinus infection the whole week before the fight. So Michael didn’t have me train the week before the fight; he wanted me at full strength for the fight. I got in there and realized after the second that breathing was going to be tough. I wore out faster than I thought I would. I don’t want to take anything away from Gutierrez, but if I was healthy; the results would’ve been different.”

Troy: Your 19-0 with 17 KO’s. You are starting to show up on some fighter’s radars. Are there any fighters that have popped up on yours?

J.D. Chapman: “Man I don’t like to hunt anybody. I like it better when they are gunning for me. I am going to wait some time before I go calling out fighters for big fights.”

Troy: Your next fight is against Marvin Hill; what do you expect from him for this fight?

J.D. Chapman: “Uh, I’ve watched him fight. He’s from around here, I actually know him. He’s going to come in and throw wide. When he does that; he’s going to play right into my strengths. It won’t last the distance. For help I’ll go to Shannon. Shannon blew him out in like one round. So any pointers on how to fight him Shannon can provide.”

Troy: You’ve stated several times in the past about how you want to take your time and learn the game before you try for a title. So with that being said; what exactly is your timetable for a title shot?

J.D. Chapman: “I’m hoping in the next two to three years. I don’t want to rush things. I think in that time period I will develop my skills to an elite level. By then I will be able to beat championship caliber fighters. Until that time comes; I will continue to be patient and fight whoever my management puts in front of me.”

Troy: Now that you are going to wait at least two years until you fight in the upper-echelon of boxing. What does 2006 hold in store for you?

J.D. Chapman: “For me to be bust fighting. I’ve been busy the later part of this year. Ever since I’ve gotten new management; my fight regiment has picked up dramatically. I’m going to fight twice in February.”

Troy: Who is the fighter you are going to face in the other fight?

J.D. Chapman: “Yeah I’m going to fight in Oklahoma; either against Tommy Connelly or Chris Lewallen. I am more active than any other young heavyweights. I am going to fight about once a month maybe twice. In some cases it might be two months between fights, but I want to average at least once a month. That pace helps develop my skills faster.”

Troy: So any last words for your fans before you go?

J.D. Chapman: “Yeah uh thank you for supporting me. I know I have the support of my hometown. I see some fans on the websites don’t like me. You will see in time how good I’ll be. I just want people to enjoy the sport, and they could do so by coming by to see the fight if there are near Arkansas. I thank you all for listening to me and following me. I hope you all have a great New Year.”

I would like to thank J.D. for taking time out to talk to me. A Special Thanks to Stacy “Goodnight” Goodson from Slugoutboxing for setting this up. If you are near Russellville Arkansas on February 4th then check out the fight. The number for tickets is (479) 353-6892. J.D. is an up and coming fighter whose patience is probably his ticket to success. He will give us a lot to talk about for some time.