Clinton Woods: “I am ready for Glen Johnson or Roy Jones Jr!”
Interview by Spud Woollatt (April 24, 2005)
On the 4th March 2005, Clinton Woods finally fulfilled his ultimate ambition, beating Rico Hoye at The Magna Centre in Rotherham UK to be crowned IBF light heavyweight champion of the world. Readers will know it was Woods fourth attempt at lifting one of the more prestigious of the spurious world title belts on offer in Modern Day boxing.
Indeed, whilst Woods is not one of the better recognised boxers in the UK, he is the only holder of one of the ‘Big 3’ world title belts (WBA, WBC, IBF), a fact which is lost on many fans.
People are now asking what is next for Woods. Only last week Brad Jacobs, advisor and manager of the former best pound-for-pound fighter in the world Roy Jones Jr, stated on a national UK Radio, Roy would be more than happy to not only fight Clinton Woods but in addition he would be willing to fight in the UK for the first time in his career.
Another fighter Woods is keen to exact revenge on is the man of the moment in the light heavyweight division, Glengoffe Johnson. British Doghouse has had it confirmed there is indeed advanced dialogue with Team Johnson concerning the possibilities of a third fight. In addition it could be argued Team Johnson should indeed return a favour as it was Team Woods who gave Johnson his first chance at fighting for the world light heavyweight title.
Naturally the plaudits are mainly pointed towards Clinton Woods himself. He was the one who had to fight for the titles. However, what of the remainder of the team? Many fans simply do not recognise the sheer ‘hard graft’ that goes on behind the scenes not only to secure a fighter a world title shot, but to do so four times with three of those fights taking place in Woods’ home city is a considerable achievement in itself. Woods’ manager and promoter Dennis Hobson surely should be recognised for this achievement.
The praise does not stop there. Prior to the Hoye fight, which was widely recognised as his last chance at hitting the ‘Big Time’, Woods chose to have a previously unknown trainer Richard Poxon in his corner. Poxon’s previous expertise came to the fore in matchmaking the fights for top British promotional company Fight Academy. Many critics were surprised, claiming that a fight of this magnitude needed a trainer of vast experience, but the critics were proven wrong. In this interview Woods himself puts a lot of emphasise on the impact Poxon had in helping him fulfilling his ambition.
This is what Clinton Woods had to say…
Spud Woollatt: Now the dust has settled and the euphoria of being this country’s only holder of a recognised world title, what are your thoughts concerning the Rico Hoye fight?
Clinton Woods: Every time I think of that fight it brings a smile to my face. Everything went right. Rico Hoye did exactly what we thought he would do, he threw lots of shots for the first 3 or 4 rounds, but I knew this would happen and I feel most of his best work was either missing or hitting my gloves. In addition, I was extremely happy that I was setting about my own work a lot earlier than I thought. I was surprised Rico seemed to run out of steam a lot earlier than I thought. None of his punches throughout the fight had any effect on me.
When the ref stopped the fight, you just can’t imagine Spud, the elation and happiness I felt so many sacrifices have been made, so to be crowned world champion is amazing.
The other thing that fight has done for me is too give me an amazing amount of confidence that I can achieve even more. I want to avenge my defeats against Roy Jones and Glengoffe Johnson, if they want to fight I am more than willing.
SW: You were criticised prior to the fight for who you had in your corner. Can you tell us your thoughts concerning Richard Poxon being your trainer? This criticism was directed toward you and the team because many people thought this was your last chance to win a title and you needed experience in your corner. So, what was Richard like prior to and during the fight?
CW: The criticism was clearly wrong. I had a couple of people make comment but they were wrong to do so. Richard had me on a fantastic training programme from the outset. His advice in the lead up to and during the fight was always very calm and very professional, his advice on the more technical aspects was sound.
Richard must have watched the videos of Hoye time and time again, because everything Hoye did during the fight Richard had already pre-warned me it would happen. The fight plan we discussed worked perfectly.
SW: So what has it been like for you since winning the world title?
CW: For the first couple of weeks after the fight it was madness, everyone wanted an interview and everyone has been asking what is next, I bet you will ask as well (Laughter from Woods).
Winning the title won’t change me as a person. I am a typical Yorkshire bloke who loves being around family and friends, I certainly don’t believe I am any different now to what I was like before the Rico Hoye fight.
SW: You are right, I am going to ask you what is next for you. Who do you want to fight and what do you think of all the talk about you and Joe Calzaghe fighting?
CW: Yes there is talk of Joe Calzaghe. I know there has been a lot of trash talking, but, I am not like that and will not take part in that sort of thing, it is daft. Joe Calzaghe is a very good fighter, he takes a lot of criticism which I think is sometimes over the top, but like I say I am not the sort of bloke who will disrespect any fighter. (Woods laughs.) But Spud I would beat him if we were to ever meet!
The two fights I really want though is either Glengoffe Johnson or Roy Jones. Dennis is telling me either one of those fights or certainly one against a recognised name is definitely on the cards.
SW: Do you honestly think you could beat Roy or Glengoffe?[/b]
CW: Of course, why not? I accept they have beaten me in the past but if you are a champion you have to learn by your mistakes or how you have approached fights. This time around if Roy or Glengoffe step into the ring with me they are going to be fighting a different and more confident Clinton Woods.
SW: Clinton can I tell the fans, what are your wishes in regards to how many more fights you want this year?
CW: I see no reason why I cannot fit in 2 more fights in this year, when, that is up to Dennis.
SW: On a lighter note, we both talked in the car prior to your fight with Rico. You said Natalia your wife was expecting your first child in October, you said what your wishes were if it turns out to be a boy! (Woods and Spud are laughing.)
CW: I remember the conversation. I said I would love to be a dad to a boy and I would love him to box. I also said don’t tell Natalia what he should be called and that was Rocky or Spartacus, but definitely not Spud! [i](More laughter.)[/i]
Seriously though, As long as the baby is fit and healthy I am not bothered what else happens. I am looking forward to being a dad, as much as Natalia is being a mum!!!
SW: Clinton, thank you for talking to me and all the very best for the future.
CW: Thank you, see you soon!
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