Exclusive Interview With Johnathon Banks - "The Detroit Motto Is To Always Go For The KO!"
by James Slater - Unbeaten as a heavyweight at 3-0(2), former IBF cruiserweight title challenger Johnathon Banks of Detroit, 23-1(16) overall as a pro, takes the next step in his new weight class on March 20th, when he will face the dangerous Travis "Freight Train" Walker. 27-year-old Banks is looking forward to the fight that will take place on the Klitschko-Chambers bill in Germany, as well as to one day becoming world heavyweight champion himself.
Article posted on 14.02.2010
Yesterday, Travis Walker was kind enough to give me his views on the fight with Banks, and earlier today, Johnathon gave me his take on the NABF heavyweight title clash.
James Slater: It's great to speak with you, as always, Johnathon. How much do you know about Travis Walker?
Johnathon Banks: Actually quite a lot. I saw him in the amateurs and I guess you could say I followed his pro career. I've seen him around a few times. I've seen him in the gym in two different training camps - one was with Wladimir, the other was with Vitali [Klitschko]. So I know quite a bit about Walker..
J.S: He's the bigger guy, yet do you feel you'll be the faster, perhaps smarter guy in the fight?
J.B: (laughs) Yeah, he is a big guy, as you say. He's always been a big, strong guy. But as you say, I'll definitely be looking at being the faster guy in the ring, and also as you say, smarter.
J.S: Is it fair to say that this fight is the biggest of your pro career since the Tomasz Adamek fight down at cruiserweight?
J.B: I would say so, because of the title that's on the line.
J.S: The NABF heavyweight title?
J.S: I spoke with Travis yesterday, and he says he wants, and feels he has a good shot at getting, a KO. Do you feel the same way?
J.B: Most definitely. I never got for a points win. The Detroit motto is to always go for the KO and I've always been that way. But it's good him saying he'll go for the KO - he's a big guy, why wouldn't he wanna go for a knockout? My plan is to make a big statement in this division. I want to let all other heavyweights and fans know that Johnathon Banks is here as a heavyweight. I take each fight at a time, but I will stay active and I want to keep the momentum going. This is a good fight - it's gonna be a good night.
J.S: Will he be the biggest guy you've ever faced, pro or in sparring?
J.B: He'll be the biggest guy I've ever fought, but I've sparred with heavyweights all my life; So there's no problem there. I mean, I've sparred with both the Klitschkos.
J.S: Of course, and you cant get much bigger and better than those two. Out of interest, how do your sparring session with those two go? Do you go all out when you guys spar?
J.B: I can definitely say I give them competition, otherwise I wouldn't have lasted this long in camp with them for all these years. Both guys are very competitive and they don't want to spar guys who are just punching bags, they like to be given competitive work. They keep guys who can give them that in camp with them.
J.S: Who would you say was the better of the two brothers?
J.B: (laughs) Oh, I wouldn't even be able to give you an answer. They're both different - I don't look at it as who is better, they're just different.
J.S: What weight do you plan on coming in at for the Walker fight? You looked good last time out, when you blew away Marcel Zeller. Will you be the same weight of around 224?
J.B: It's funny, but I was surprised I weighed as much as 224 when I stepped on the scale; I felt like I was around 217. For this fight I'll probably be around 220 to 222, but don't quote me (laughs). I won't be any higher than 224 I don't think.
J.S: I asked Travis who he will be sparring with, and he didn't want to say. I know some fighters like to keep it a secret, so as not to give away any possible tactics....
J.B: I don't mind saying. I mean, it's too late now. There's nothing he can change now. I'll be sparring with Wladimir [Klitschko].
J.S: Do you expect it to be an exciting fight between you and Walker?
J.B: Yeah, you've got two good guys. One is bigger than the other, but size isn't that important to me and it has never been anything I've worried about. Yeah, as I say, it's gonna be a good night.
J.S: Assuming you get past Walker, what then for you? Will you feel ready to face a top-ten guy at heavyweight? Do you have any timeframe in mind?
J.B: No, I have no timeframe. I'm not ducking and dodging anyone. I take each fight as it comes and then move on to the next one. The way I feel, I am a top-ten guy, so whey wouldn't I want to fight a top-ten heavyweight?
J.S: Well, it's been great speaking with you, Johnathon. Best wishes for the fight. It's interesting following your progress, you're a welcome addition to the heavyweights.
J.B: Thank you. You can mark my words if you want to - Jonathon Banks will become the heavyweight champion of the world. I believe it. I know it. It will definitely happen!
J.S: Thanks again, and best wishes.
J.B: Okay, call me up any time.
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