Cruiserweight contender Ola “Kryptonite” Afolabi (13-1-3, 5 KOs) is hosting a party on March 14, the day he faces former champion Enzo Maccarinelli for the Interim WBO Cruiserweight Championship at the M.E.N. Arena, in Manchester. “This is my coming out party!” grins the 28-year-old London, England-born Nigerian currently living in California. “He (Maccarinelli) makes his base there, but what people may not know is that the UK is my home country too. I am coming home to win the title!.”
For Afolabi’s promoter, Dino Duva of Duva Boxing, being able to negotiate a world title shot for his fighter means letting the rest of the world in on something he’s known for a long time. “Ola is the best kept secret in boxing, but after March 14 he will no longer be a secret. Ola is the best cruiserweight in world and fighting Enzo Maccarinelli is the way to prove it.”
Duva also admits he’s pleased by the Maccarinelli camp’s willingness to face Afolabi. “Ola has always had trouble getting fights because real boxing people know how talented he is. I want to thank Enzo and his promoter Frank Warren for their professionalism in honoring Ola’s position as the leading available contender – it’s going to be a great fight!”
“I’m getting this shot at a perfect time for me. I’ll finally get the chance to show I’m the real deal,” adds Afolabi. “I’m going in as an underdog, but I know I’m going to win. He’s not as good as people make him out to be and he’s in trouble. Look out for the best kept secret in boxing!”.
“THE NEW” RAY ROBINSON READY FOR THE BIG STAGE IN 09′
On Friday February 13th, Star Boxing’s jr. welterweight prospect “The New” Ray Robinson (9-0, 3KO) will look to start the new year with a bang when he takes on fellow unbeaten prospect Darnell Jiles Jr. (8-0-1, 3KO). The bout is scheduled for eight rounds in the jr. welterweight division, and will be the co-feature bout for that evening’s ESPN2 “Friday Night Fights” telecast. In the main event of the evening, Star Boxing’s welterweight knockout artist Alexis Camacho (17-1,16KO) will look to close the show in exciting fashion when he meets the tough as nails Carlos Molina (14-4-1,5KO) in a ten round wetlerweight contest. For Robinson, who was named as one of the “Five Best Prospects to Watch in 2008” and as one of the “Sweet 16, Philly Boxing Prospects on the Rise”, it will mark the first time the young prospect will fight as a co-feature bout on national T.V.
The fight with Jiles, on paper, will be the toughest to date for Robinson. Just like Robinson, Jiles is a young up and coming undefeated prospect. The southpaw Robinson took time out of his busy schedule to sit down and talk about his upcoming fight against Jiles, what it means to be the co- feature bout on ESPN2, why he wears a shirt and tie at his weigh-ins and his plans for 2009.
Q: Ray, thanks for taking time out of your schedule to sit down with us, how has everything been going?
RR: Everything is going great right now. I have had a great training camp for this fight and I am just really looking to getting in the ring on the 13th and starting the New Year with another win.
Q: What do you know about your opponent Jiles?
RR: Well honestly we are very similar. We are both tall, undefeated, talented southpaw fighters. I saw his fight against Lundy on ESPN and know that he is going to be a good opponent for me.
Like every fight I have I am very confident going in. I don’t really worry so much as to what my opponents are going to bring to the table fight night, as long as I go in there and execute my game plan I know I will always come out victorious. I have been boxing for so long I know there is nothing that Jiles will do that I haven’t seen before. Whatever he does I will be able to adapt to it, and then I will make him pay for his mistakes.
Q: This will mark the first time you are fighting as the co-feature bout of the evening and also the first time you are in a scheduled eight rounder. Can you give me your feelings on both of these first time events for you?
RR: I am excited and feel very good that the fight is scheduled eight rounds. Knowing that the fight is going to be eight rounds and also that it is my first scheduled co- feature has really pushed me to work that much harder in training. Being the co-feature is amazing. I work hard in training to see results, and the fact that I am going to be the co-main on ESPN in just my ninth pro fight is a testament to the hard work I have put in. It shows that I am getting better, and also that people are eager to see me perform. I can’t express enough how much I really appreciate this opportunity my promoter Joe DeGuardia has given me.
Q: Now Ray, we know you are a class- act inside and outside the ring, but I can’t remember the last time you were seen without wearing a suit. Even for your weigh-in you step on the scale in a shirt and tie. What is your reasoning behind that?
RR: I am a professional and I want to always look the part. If I were a banker, a lawyer, an accountant or any business professional I would have to wear a suit at all times. Boxing is my career, this is the profession I have chosen. I take my boxing career very seriously and I want people to see that wherever I go. I know it might not be the norm to weigh-in in a suit and tie, but I want to be different. It’s just me being me.
Q: You had a great year in 2008, what are your plans for 09?
RR: I want to just continue to keep busy and not only to continue to win but continue to win impressively. At this stage of my career I use every fight I have as a learning experience. I know that I have things to still work on and so many things I can and need to improve on. I want to just keep working and keep learning from my mistakes so that I can continue to improve and continue to get better each fight out. The fact that I am fighting as the co-main and that it is scheduled for eight rounds shows that I am making improvements from 2008.
Mainly I just want to continue to work hard, continue to learn, and continue to give boxing fans what they want to see. I am still young, I am in no rush right now. I am taking my career step by step. Sometimes young guys get rushed along, especially when you have talent. But my team at Star Boxing has really moved me the right way and I am very excited for what the New Year is going to bring. I just want to keep fighting, keep learning, and when the opportunity for a big fight comes my way I will be ready.
Q: Thanks Ray, anything you want to say in closing?
RR: I just want to thank my family and friends for all the support they have and continue to show me. I want to thank all my fans who come out to watch me fight and look forward to putting on a great performance on the 13th. I want to thank my team for getting me ready for this fight the opportunity to fight in the co-feature on ESPN “Friday Night Fights” next Friday.