Interview With Elvir Muriqi
21.05.07 - By James Slater: Twenty-eight year old Kosovo born Elvir Muriqi is eagerly awaiting his chance at causing a huge boxing upset next month. Facing the world renowned Antonio ďMagic ManĒ Tarver for the vacant IBO light heavyweight title on June 9th, Elvir is very confident of making his name on the big stage. Nicknamed ďThe Kosovo Kid,Ē the man who relocated to his current home of New York is in the middle of intense training for his huge opportunity. With a very respectable record of 34-3 (21) the boxer-puncher says now is his time to shine and that he is very much ready for the highest profile opponent of his, now nine year, career.
Article posted on 22.05.2007
Graciously taking time out from his training to speak with this writer, Elvir was keen to speak about his upcoming fight, amongst other things. Here is what he had to say.
James Slater: I appreciate your time, Elvir. Firstly, how are preparations going for the fight on June 9th?
Elvir Muriqi: Everything is going well. My team is helping me and I feel the timing is right for the big fight. I feel good.
J.S: Have you been sparring with anybody in particular?
E.M: Iíve been working with former world champion Lou De Valle, Robson Frank - Raul Frankís brother - and John Snyder. Iíve had good sparring.
J.S: Youíre confident of causing the upset then?
E.M: Oh, absolutely, absolutely. On June 9th there will be a big upset.
J.S: Looking at your stats, I see you KOíd a guy in one round in your last fight. Do you consider yourself a big puncher?
E.M: I consider myself more of a faster puncher. I mean, I canít say Iím a devastating puncher like a Mike Tyson, but Iím a good puncher. Iím a pretty good puncher.
J.S: Antonioís a southpaw, as you know. Have you faced many?
E.M: Iíve fought southpaws, and they were nothing. I knocked them out in one round. Obviously, they were nowhere near the calibre of Antonio Tarver. But Iíve faced southpaws - I helped Lou De Valle get ready for his fight with Roy Jones. Iíve been sparring southpaws for a long time. It doesnít really matter, itís just another fight. It doesnít matter if the opponent is right or left handed.
J.S: Were you annoyed when the fight was postponed from its original date?
E.M: I was a little upset, but Iím not in a position to complain about it. Iím happy Iím getting the opportunity now, because the better level of fighter I fight, the better I am. When the fight was postponed, they told me it had been re-scheduled. Nobody knew it, but Iím just glad that the fight is back on now.
J.S: As you know, Antonioís a big name in the sport, heís a movie star, too. Heís the biggest name youíll have ever facedÖÖ
E.M: (jumping in) Oh, absolutely. There are only a few real big stars in boxing right now - like Floyd Mayweather and Oscar De La Hoya. And Antonio Tarverís one of those big names. I feel great to be facing such a big star.
J.S: Do you feel as though you might be hungrier than him, seeing as heís already achieved so much?
E.M: Absolutely, absolutely. I want everything that he has. I feel like this is my time now, he has already done it.
J.S: What type of fight do you expect from him?
E.M: I expect him to be somewhat like he was when he fought [Glen] Johnson and [Bernard] Hopkins. I expect a little bit of what he was in both of those fights.
J.S: Assuming you do win, as you are confident you will, what would you like next?
E.M: To be honest, I donít have no plans. I just want to win this fight. After that I can look ahead to facing Roy Jones or whoever. It doesnít matter who, Iíve just got to win this fight. The belt weíre fighting for (the IBO) is not the best belt, but to me this is my world title fight.
J.S: Do you look at any light heavyweight as the best in the world. Do you think Tarverís the best?
E.M: Right now, yeah, I think Tarverís the biggest name. I mean, before the fight with Hopkins he was considered to be one of the best fighters in the world, pound-for-pound. So, yeah, I consider him the best.
J.S: Do you feel as though youíre at your peak right now, at age twenty-eight?
E.M: Yes, I feel very strong. I feel better than Iíve ever done. Calmness comes with experience and Iíve been feeling so calm. Thatís going to be a big factor in the fight, my calmness.
J.S: Itís been great speaking with you, Elvir. For my final question, do you have any prediction for the fight?
E.M: Just a W. I donít know how, just as long as I get a W. There might be a knockout, there might not, I donít know. Just as long as I get that W.
J.S: Well, I wish you best of luck for June 9th. Thank you for your time.
E.M: Okay, thank you very much.
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