Tony you’ve got a busy night on the 31st with (Anthony) Joshua, (John) Ryder, (Kevin) Mitchell and O’Hara Davies on the bill.
If we can discuss Mitchell firstly – I recently watched the Daniel Estrada v Omar Figueroa fight back and Estrada was competitive up until he was overpowered late.
What does Kevin need to do different in this fight compared to his last?
Kevin reads a fight really well – he’s got a great boxing brain on him.
As you say Estrada is a good fighter, he’s a Mexican fighter – they are all tough. He’s tall, throws long straight shots, when you come inside he throws the hooks and uppercuts up.
Kevin has got to be on his game – it could be a Final Eliminator for him but I don’t think Estrada is as good as Maduma. I really rated Maduma and Kevin overcome him – as long as Kevin is in shape for this fight and he’s on his game I know he can beat any Lightweight in the world.
I think the key thing for Kevin is to have a caveat in front of him to perform at his best.
When will you hear if it’s a Final Eliminator for him with the WBC Silver on the line?
The WBC convention is next week and we should know then. The WBC Silver is currently vacant as the Figueroa is champion in recess due to a cut sustained against Estrada not having healed yet. So what they are doing is an Interim title between Jorge Linares and Javier Prieto with Kevin and Estrada in an eliminator for the title.
If Kevin wins he will face the winner of Linares and Prieto.
If we can discuss John Ryder now – Eddie (Hearn) alluded to Jorge Sebastian Heiland as an opponent who is almost signed.
Are you now at a stage where you want any fighter in the top 10 of the governing bodies?
We’ll take whatever Eddie can provide us with really. John is ranked number ten in the WBO now – so he is a top ten fighter in the world. He’s now done his apprenticeship, he’s done his learning now it’s about moving up to a world title for him.
He had that fight with Billy Joe Saunders who some people believe he won – other believe Ryder won. I personally think it was a draw. I’ve watched it again and again and scored it a draw.
If you look at that fight as a benchmark with Billy Joe who is now number one with the WBO and mandatory for the title once Andy Lee & Matt Korobov have fought for it.
There is nothing between Ryder & Billy Joe. I believe Ryder has come on since then – he’s developed more as a man, he’s punching harder and at the age of 26 he is probably entering the prime of his career.
These fights now Sebastian Heiland are the type of fights we need now to see where he actually is. Ryder has been out sparring Andy Lee for 2 weeks, he sparred Macklin before the Heiland fight, sparred loads with Darren Barker previously. He has had top sparring and in my eyes now he is ready to go – I want him to move through the ratings now.
Sebastian Heiland has got a good rating – he has just beaten Macklin and everyone knows him over here. I don’t believe that was Matthew Macklin in that fight, it was a shadow of him. You are talking about 2 yrs ago I think Macklin would have stopped Heiland as he was different class. Every fighter has his day and Matthew has had his.
Moving on to Anthony Joshua – from your perspective as his trainer & manager is he a nightmare to match?
I admire the job that has been done with him so far and he has been progressed sensibly.
If he beats Kevin Johnson comfortably will you be then looking at Price, Chisora etc?
It’s difficult to say that as Kevin Johnson has been the distance with Klitschko, Fury and Chisora – he is a clever fighter who survives the rounds. Even though he lost to those guys on wide points decisions I think the benchmark will be if he takes Johnson out.
Now if he boxes Johnson and wins every round like the others did we know he still has a lot to learn. That will be good for him as it’s 12 rounds in the bank.
If he knocks Johnson out then you are seeing a guy do something to a good fighter that no one else has – in only his 11th fight.
What I don’t want to is put him in to a fight experience-wise he isn’t ready for. At the end of the day I know he won Olympic Gold Medal but he only had 40 odd amateur and ten professional fights.
Everyone wants to see Anthony in with the best fight now but he’s not ready and he knows he’s not ready. But he will be ready – in another 12-18mths he will be ready to go in with anyone.
So you think after 18-20 fights he will be ready for anyone?
Exactly. I don’t think there will be anyone else to fight then. I think we would have gone through the best opponents we can get at that stage of his career.
With Chisora, Price & Fury they are all massive fights as we haven’t had that in this country before with so many top Heavyweights.
I did see Dillian Whyte in here earlier and he’s back from his ban. Is that something you could see further down the line?
He’s got to rebuild his career as he’s just come back. He’s not in our sights currently and Anthony is further ahead currently.
Final question Tony – Ricky Burns, after his last fight being a victory and a much-needed confidence boost for him.
Is he going to stay at Light-Welter or move back down to Lightweight?
He’s going to drop back down to Lightweight. We got a dietician in and it’s the first time he has ever used one. He made the last fight at 10st 1lb he come in at 9st 13lbs.
If he eats correctly and at the right time with the right calories in him he makes Lightweight comfortably.
He made Lightweight before as he’s always done from a young age dropping weight late, when you get older your metabolism slows down and your diet needs to change as well.
You’ve got to realise he was Super-Feather before and you will see him making it easy with the dietician.
Eddie is in the process of making a big fight for him we will announce it when it’s confirmed. We are looking at early March for that.
Tony – thanks for your time and I’ll catch up with you soon.