Interview with Wladimir Klitschko: Confident, motivated and ready to go!
Interview by Benny Henderson Jr. (September 27, 2004)
Towering Ukrainian titan Wladimir Klitschko is more than ready to step back in the ring again and prove to the boxing world that he isn’t finished, he isn’t done, he isn’t a pushover, and most of all, he will be champion once again. After back to back upset losses to Corrie Sanders in 2003 and Lamon Brewster this year, most of the boxing world counted the younger Klitschko brother out of the game. But they forgot one small part of the equation: neither Wladimir nor his trainer Emanuel Stewart have counted him out yet and until then the road to the championship crown isn’t closed. And on October 2nd at Caeser’s Palace Casino in Las Vegas, NV, the road back to the top will began once more.
Photo © HoganPhotos.com
Wladimir is confident, motivated and ready to go as he faces hard-hitting DaVarryl 'Touch of Sleep' Williamson, 20-2 (17), on a scheduled ten round bout that will air on Showtime, where Wladimir will be making his debut on the network. Known as 'Dr. Steel Hammer', he has chiseled his way through forty-two opponents and kayoed thirty-nine of them, including current IBF champion Chris Byrd, contender Jameel McCline, old school fighter Ray Mercer and the young up and comer Monte Barrett. With a dream to be heavyweight champion simultaneously along side of his older brother Vitali, he knows that it will be hard work and he is ready to get back on track to reach his goals. Outside of the ring Wladimir has a heart for the children and is working with UNESCO to better their education and lives, but in the ring he is a hard-hitting heavyweight on a mission to seek and destroy his opponents. He might have had a setback or two but he is keeping the faith and fighting to get back to the top. The 1996 Gold Medal winner in the Olympics in Atlanta has had an impressive amateur record with 134 wins out of 140 bouts. He has carried the WBO, WBC Intercontinental, WBA Intercontinental and European Heavyweight Crowns, and with experience, his brother Vitali, trainer Emanuel Stewart and the fans on his side the 28-year-old hopes to regain the winning tradition that he has trained so hard for. Wladimir stopped by the Doghouse to talk about his upcoming bout with DaVarryl Williamson and gave his thoughts on the past and the future.
Benny Henderson Jr.: How has your training been going?
Wladimir Klitschko: Thank you, the training is going well the whole preparation is going well and I’m satisfied with everything. I have had a lot of many different sparring partners and they are pretty good and give me hard time all the time. Maurice Harris and Larry Donald are pretty good and I am satisfied with everything.
BH: Can you give us your thoughts on DaVarryl Williamson and your upcoming bout against him?
WK: Yes, I think that he is a pretty tough opponent and I don’t want to look at the fight where he lost against Mesi in the first round. In boxing something like that can happen. He has a tremendous punch and good speed and fast on his feet and I feel that he is a pretty good opponent. Also he is very high rated and that is important to me also because I want to get back into the world ratings and get a championship fight again. I think DaVarryl Williamson is not one of them opponents that are easy to box and this fight can bring me up. Because I don’t want to peak after my loss in April, I don’t want to pick some silly opponents like Fabio Moli after my loss to Corrie Sanders. So that is why I think DaVarryl Williamson is the right choice.
BH: I know you are tired of being asked about the Brewster fight, but can you give us your thoughts on that bout?
WK: No problem, I can’t keep from those questions of course after my loss to Brewster. First of all I am so happy that he held the title and didn’t lose it. I don’t want to talk about the win or how the fight was. I think you saw everything and you can make your own judgment. So I am happy about that and I don’t want to take away the win from Brewster in my fight, never did I want to take it. He deserves it and he won the title so I want to congratulate him. But now there are issues there and unfortunately I slipped into the situation where Klitschko is a sore loser, and I hate those guys, I tell you right away I hate sore losers and I hate those guys who are looking for any excuse and make something not really good. And I want to tell you that I am not a sore loser and I am not looking for any excuses. I just tried to find the answers for a lot of questions, which I got in this fight. Instead of fighting against Lamon Brewster I fought with myself to be able to move in the ring in the second round. I got some experience in professional boxing with over forty fights and I was in different kinds of fights and it was never like that in my entire career. [Laughing] So instead fighting against my opponent I was fighting against myself and I don’t want the same experience in the future and that why it is important for me to find an answer what was going on. And unfortunately also, I didn’t find anything. And I think the best answer I can get is first of all for myself and that is with my next fight. I think my next fight is the best answer for all those questions with what I got after the upset loss against Brewster. So that’s the way and I really was talking and doing a lot and thinking about the April fight, but everything is in the past and I’m looking forward to the future. And some people can judge me, but be a good judge to judge and I am looking forward to it and let’s see what is coming up.
BH: Would you like a rematch with Brewster and try to get that one back?
WK: I would love to have a rematch and I just want to tell you that I heard some words from Lamon Brewster that he wants to give me a rematch and then he don’t want to give me a rematch. And I just want to tell you that Lamon Brewster does not decide anything, the decision is going to be made by his promoter Don King, and that’s actually not the easiest part to get the rematch with Brewster because of King. But anyway, anything is possible. I am not like disappointed about Brewster, actually it is the championship fight and our dream with my brother about being champions at the same time in different versions. Vitali got it already, he is champion now and now I have to get it. Either of the fights, there are three guys: Lamon Brewster, Chris Byrd and John Ruiz and all those guys have the same promoter in Don King. So it makes it not so easy to get those championship fights. But anyway everything is possible and let’s see what is coming up. And also I just want to tell you in sports I want to fight Brewster. He still has his title and let’s make it possible.
BH: How has it been for you working with Emanuel Stewart?
WK: It is something amazing, because I used to work with like six or seven trainers my whole career and I want to say thanks for all of them, because all of them gave me their best they could give. And I picked up from them everything that was interesting to me. Emanuel Stewart is something completely unusual, I have never seen some style from people that he does. It is a lot of to show the fights to check all the big fighters and see what they do and what they don’t do. It’s a lot of strategy in the mind, not just physically also in the mind of strategy and tactics that is the main part in boxing. I think that we understand each other pretty good, he is one of the persons whom believe in me, and after my loss I got a lot of shots. You going up it takes you a while and if you are going down. The way on the top is pretty long but backwards is just one step and it was a pretty extra long step because on the way down I got a lot of shots from different people, like no chin no nuts a broken name and so on. That is why I appreciate Emanuel because he still believes in me and he still works with me.
BH: What would you say to the boxing world that has counted Wladimir Klitschko out?
WK: I think that if I will say too much, well as a winner you can talk a lot but as a loser you can’t talk a lot right now. And that is why I think you should sit quit and work hard to get up and that is what I am trying to do.
BH: Mentally are you ready for this bout?
WK: I didn’t lose my confidence and actually I don’t feel like I was bad beaten and have no chance to fight with someone because of that. I lost and the situation I am in now, I am in the bottom of everything and it is not so easy to get up and I kind of fight with myself and how I will survive in this situation. The struggle to survive makes me really hot and I enjoy it very much, don’t understand me wrong [laughs] but I am really enjoying this time and it is like improvement for myself to get it or I don’t.
BH: You use this as motivation?
WK: Exactly the right word, thank you. It is good motivation.
BH: The Klitschko name is such a huge name right now in the boxing world everywhere. How has that changed your life, you have good publicity bad publicity how’s that feel to be part of the centerpiece of boxing?
WK: I don’t think it is so huge I just want to tell you that we’re both in the same business Vitali and myself and we try to do a lot of things together. We are a team and sometimes people really don’t know who is Vitali who is Wladimir who is the champion who is the loser or what. [Laughs] Unfortunately I made the job for Vitali my brother even more difficult when I lost instead of positive praise I got some negative. But anyway that was all of our lives we get some different experiences where one of us is in a situation that is not really nice and the other one at the same time did his job so good that nobody cares about the dark side. And that’s why the name all the time was kind of up and it was different and a difficult situation when Vitali fought Corrie Sanders, so when I lost my fight my brother should be so focused and should be so good because from his win would depend the future for us our future. And so Vitali did his job good and I am really proud of his result and he deserve it because he was fighting with Lennox and then with Johnson and then he got his chance for WBC title he got Corrie Sanders and Corrie Sanders would not be easy, but he did it and I am really proud of that. And it’s two people that share the same family name.
BH: You had to be ecstatic with his win over Sanders to win the belt especially with what happened between you and Sanders, so his win must have been a good feeling.
WK: Yes, it was a great feeling, and actually it was my win also and it was so needed so much and I enjoyed it so much. And I also want to say that Corrie Sanders give his best he show a lot of heart and a fight like was enjoyment for the fans and me also.
BH: I don’t want to look far ahead in the future Wladimir but is there any fighter in particular you want after Williamson?
WK: Chris Byrd and Jameel McCline are going to fight each other, Monte Barrett who else is there? So I just want to tell you I don’t want to talk about the future a lot because my future depends on my next fight. But also I need those guys, I was fighting and first of all I need to focus on my next fight and then after wards I can tell you my plans for the future. The reason is to get up and get a championship fight again. It doesn’t matter who is going to hold the title, it is a matter of the title.
BH: What are your thoughts on Vitali in the Danny Williams fight coming up? It must be exciting for you guys with Danny just coming off the upset win over Mike Tyson.
WK: I think Williams is very very confident in himself after beating Mike Tyson, and I think the self-confidence makes him strong. I think that it’s not going be a not so easy job for Vitali. So I can’t tell you more but I think that his own confidence will make a lot.
BH: What is a casual day for Wladimir Klitschko, what do you do when you just hang out and are away from the ring?
WK: It is a lot of stuff, you know that we’re working for UNESCO project education children need and we know how important that is and especially with hit project we are working in different countries, especially the third countries in the world. We are already in Russia, Brazil, and Romania. We continue to work with that, and I understand that Vitali and me and everyone is a piece of society and you have to give something to society and you see those problems were children really need education and the key to break this circle out of crime, drugs, children prostitution and so on. So people get an education in third countries they can make their life better and for their own kids also and for their countries. So that’s we believe in this project very much and are supporting it. It is hard to see those people in need but it is also fun because we know how important it is to them. But outside of that both of us are crazy kite surfers. Kite surfing is an amazing sport and it is just wind, nature, water and yourself and it is so good. It is one of the greatest sports that was ever made.
BH: You’re a tall guy to be wind surfing.
WK: It is not wind surfing but kite surfing. Kite is so strong and powerful it just picks you up and it is fun. You just have to watch it on TV or somewhere to see what it is all about. Have you seen it before?
BH: I believe I have I have skied before but never nothing like that.
WK: It is amazing.
BH: Is that where you are on the board?
WK: Exactly, you don’t need speedboat you don’t need anything. You have a board you have a kite and that’s it.
BH: How do you like living here in the United States?
WK: Pretty good, it is pretty good because part of my family are Americans, Vitali’s kids were born here and live here. I feel pretty good here I enjoy the time. My first visit here was 1995 in Colorado and since that time I am like every year here. But the people are amazing and it is a good country.
BH: Is there anything you would like to add to this interview or anything you would like to say to the Klitschko fans?
WK: Yes of course, I just want to say thank you very much for the fans, because I think the whole boxing world depends on that. As much fans we get and interesting boxing will get it is better for all of us. It is not always to take something but to give something. I think that all boxers just should give their best performance. I just want to say thanks for that. Thanks for watching it in the good times and the bad times also.
I would like to thank Bernd Boente, Personal Manager of the Klitschko Brothers, for his help on this opportunity and the interview with Wladimir. I would like to give a big thank you to Wladimir Klitschko for taking time out of his busy schedule for Doghouse, the fans and myself. It was a great conversation and I would like to add that Wladimir is very courteous and humble and honest in his answers. For more information on Wladimir and his brother Vitali, they would like to invite you to visit their website: Klitschko.
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