"I want to avenge my amateur losses to Kubrat Pulev and David Price. I always think about them. I lost to Pulev because I had a serious trauma. Not only could I not punch in the fight, but I couldn't even lift my arm up. My amateur coaches made me fight in this bout because this was team effort and no matter what or how you feel, you will fight when you are on the Russian team...The hearts of the mountain men are very strong; they are warriors until the end. I'm also criticize myself and I am never satisfied. I know I can always improve. This pushes me every day to get better and never feel content with my work," stated heavyweight contender Magomed Abdusalamov, who talked about his return to the ring, his future plans, and much more. Check it out!
PC: Magomed, how is everything going with you?
MA: Right now, everything is great. Before the fight with McCline, I had injury during sparring. My rib was cracked, so after the fight, I rested and recovered for 2 months. After this, I returned to Oxnard and started my training camp with my team. On January 1st of 2013, I was blessed with a miracle; my third daughter was born, Fatimat, so I have been helping out with my family as well. But now I have focused on my boxing training. I have been eating good and keeping in shape this whole time and now that the camp has started, it is an easy transition to come back training harder than ever. In the middle of February, I will be starting sparring to get ready for my upcoming fight.
PC: Congratulations on the new addition and your biggest win to date in your last outing against Jameel McCline. You had to get off of the canvas for the first time in your career and it happened early in the 1st round. How did you deal with your first knockdown? Talk us through what you were thinking.
MA: I saw the punch coming, but because of my injury, I couldn't get out of the way. It was a good punch and I saw some stars. This was kind of a pleasant experience, I think, maybe like drinking a full glass of vodka. I never drank or smoked in my life, but I can only imagine that it would feel somewhat like this. After a couple seconds I woke up and realized the fight was not over and that I still had a job to do. I came back and knocked McCline out in the second round.
PC: You definitely did knock McCline out in the next round. In fact, your last 2 opponents didn't see the 3rd round and none of your 16 opponents have made it to the final bell. Do you think your punching power is what will separate you from the pack or something else? What asset do you have that you think will separate you from the rest of the heavyweights?
MA: Of course my power, that nature and god gave me, is an important factor, but the character of a man from the mountains is that he will never give up and will fight to the death. In America, the boxing world says that it is easier to kill a Mexican than to get him to give up in the ring. They say the same about my small but proud nation of Dagestan. The hearts of the mountain men are very strong; they are warriors until the end. I'm also criticize myself and I am never satisfied. I know I can always improve. This pushes me every day to get better and never feel content with my work.
PC: I thought the win over Byarm was huge for you. The one thing I like about the way your career is going is that you aren't taking fights against guys you know you could beat. Your last 5 opponents have a combined record of 88-14-4 and McCline had 12 of the losses and 3 of the draws. Is that the goal, to climb the ladder by fighting the best opposition available as opposed to taking an easier route?
MA: I am very happy with my promoters. They find and advise me on my future opponents and I do my job. I fight with those who I can learn from and who is not ready mentally to lose. I like my fights to be beautiful, so that the fans will be yelling and standing on their feet. When I watch the replays, I want to be proud of myself and the fans to be proud of me.
PC: Everyone is critical of the heavyweight division. I don't think it is as bad as most, but there are certain young fighters that just have to step up and face one another. How do you feel about the current state of the division?
MA: I feel that the heavyweight division is not worse than before. It is now harder than ever to get to the top. Before, there where not many 6'6" guys. Now, they are bigger and heavier and there is more of a chance of getting hurt.
PC: You had a very active 2012, fighting 4 times. Can we expect that same activity, or more or less this year?
MA: Yes, I am ready to fight 4 or more times this year.
PC: You haven't fought in your native of Russia often and I know you live out on the west coast. Do you prefer to fight in the States?
MA: For me as a boxer, it is not that important for me where, east, west, north, or south. It is important to give the fans what they want, a great fight.
PC: Is there any heavyweight out there that you would like to test your skills against or do you just face whoever is in front of you?
MA: Yes, I want to avenge my amateur losses to Kubrat Pulev and David Price. I always think about them. I lost to Pulev because I had a serious trauma. Not only could I not punch in the fight, but I couldn't even lift my arm up. My amateur coaches made me fight in this bout because this was team effort and no matter what or how you feel, you will fight when you are on the Russian team. In the David Price fight, I was robbed by the judges. I was holding my hands up, Price was only hitting me in the arms and the judges were scoring points as if the punches were hitting my head and body. I have been dreaming about having a rematch and will do everything I can to make it happen.
PC: The popularity of the sport of boxing for a long time was identified with the heavyweight division. How important is it to get heavyweight boxing back to its past popularity, and do you think it is as simple as young heavyweights facing off against one another to get it back there?
MA: I think that the best boxers have to go against the other best boxers and not just wait for a bout with the champion for a payday. It's too bad that there are only two groups of boxers: the Klitschko Brothers and then everyone else who are standing in line and begging to fight them instead of fighting with each other.
PC: When can we expect to see you back in the ring my man?
MA: My next fight will be in March. I will soon find out who and where I will fight.
PC: I appreciate your time. I look forward to your next fight in March and best of luck to you. Congrats again on your newborn. Is there anything else you want to say in closing?
MA: Thank you, and to all of my fans who are eager to find out more of who I am and where my career is heading, I will do my best to show everybody a new level of super heavyweight boxing and I promise to my countrymen that I will soon bring the belt and the title to Dagestan.
[ Follow Percy Crawford on Twitter @MrFighthype ]