Your alias is “The Dream,” how did you acquire that nickname? The press attributed it to the way I move during a fight—fast in and out of range and a relatively fast hand also. But it was actually Sir ALA (Cebu’s boxing patron Antonio L. Aldeguer) who give me the name, knowing it has been my dream to become a world champion..
Everybody has their heroes, icons, people they look up to who inspire them. Who is the one person who inspires you? In which way does he/she inspire you?
Actually there are many. First is my family. They are the wall I leaned on from where I took my strength in moving on with my dream. Second is Sir ALA and ALA Gym. They had been responsible for helping become what I have become today. They are doing their best to make me the best that I can be. And I don’t want to disappoint.
You have an impressive record (of) 27-2-2, what do you bring to this fight with Nick Otieno whose record (15-1) is half yours?
I have the advantage in experience. I have fought very strong fighters and I have more years fighting compared to him.
Does it matter to you that your opponent is 2 years older than you, or that you have four more years of experience in the professional sport? Do you think that you would give you an edge?
Yes. My longer experience is my edge.
Fernando Montiel, that is the last boxer that got the better of you. You must have a lot to say about that fight. What happened?
Fernando Montiel was a good boxer. You cannot underestimate him. He is veteran. He has more experience than me in fighting world championships. He was already the champion in the 112-lb division when I fought him. And that was my first championship fight. But I did not regret fighting him. We had a good fight.
You are going to fight a relatively unknown boxer, with a well touted and probably decent reputation. He is the UBO bantam champ though he is rated about 50 positions below you. Do you feel superior going into this fight?
Yes. I feel that I am superior, and more experienced than him. But I do not take my opponents for granted, neither I should Otieno. He could be hungrier than me because of his plan to breakthrough the international boxing.
By now you know that your opponent is a tireless worker in the ring. It has been said that you also possess the same attributes. Any plans on how you will deal with this small matter?
I have no idea on his style of fighting. What I know is that he moves in a lot. He is known to be a pressure fighter. What I am doing is to correct my own weakness so I would become a more complete fighter when I face him. But I will only know how to handle him when we face each other in the ring.
Once fight early in your career had you on the canvas 3 times. The Edgar Rodrigo fight in 2003. You have since got up to eclipse Rodrigo’s career. What lessons did you learn from that clash?
I was not physically fit at that time because I had been dealing with a very painful abscessed tooth, and I did not tell my manager about it. He could be a better boxer than me, who knows. But what I learned is that I should not withold health problems from my manager so that something can be done about it before the fight.
Assuming that you win the fight with Otieno, what will you be looking forward to in your boxing career?
I believe that boxers are always looking forward for bigger and bigger fights. I am looking forward to fight whoever wins the Kirilov-Darchinyan duel for the IBF super flyweight title. I’m confident I could win with any one of them.
The scheduled title fight with Miyeyusho was to be a title fight. Now that it has been put off for a while, whoul would your fists love host as Miyeyusho’s replacement? Do you have him on your radar for future encounters?
That fight with Miyeyusho was actually my first title defense for the IBF Intercontinental super flyweight title. If I had the choice, I would have wanted to fight Vic Darchinyan again to prove to the people that I can defeat him.
You are coming off a recent draw with Vic Darchinyan? Some say it was controversial. Is that true? And how?
That was controversial only because both of us believed that we both won in points. The fight had been very difficult to judge because our points did not differ much. There were many factors that added to the vague impressions coming off from the fight.
What kind of a boxer is Vic Darchinyan?
Darchinyan was an experienced boxer, and he pressured a lot. But he is not really a very strong puncher. He used may dirty tactics that often wearies you. Montiel was a stronger opponent.
What about Dmitri Kirilov?
I know how he fights. I was my sparring partner in Los Angeles before I fought Montiel. He is a strong puncher.
Is it right to assume that you are looking beyond Nick Otieno to other bigger fights?
Yes. All boxers I believe are looking for bigger fights toward a world championship title.
You were preparing for the fight with Francis Miyeyusho then Otieno alterred the course of things. What do you know of Miyeyusho compared to Otieno?
I haven’t seen both fight. It looks like Nick Otieno has a better record.
Nick Otieno has been harboring a feeling that the title fight was held back because of his performance (1st round KO) with Miyeyusho. Is that right?
It was my first mandatory defense for the IBF Intercontinental super flyweight title. His defeat was a big factor.
Anthing you would want to tell Otieno before he takes that 30 plus hours flight to your hometown?
I can assure him a good fight and not to take me for granted. We will just see what happens in the ring.
And what do you want to tell your fans?You will be fighting at home you know and they are waiting for “One More Time.”
I hope they will support the fight on May 31 because Otieno and I are both prepared and we can give a good fight for their entertainment.