Roger Bloodworth: “Tua could fight with any of the champions right now”
by Geoffrey Ciani - Boxing trainer Roger Bloodworth has been a busy man lately. He is simultaneously juggling two training camps with different heavyweight contenders, each of whom might find himself in the hunt for a title shot sometime soon. David Tua (51-3-1, 43 KOs) is preparing to face Monte Barrett (34-9, 20 KOs) this Saturday night at the Tropicana Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Tua is currently the WBO’s number two ranked heavyweight. In addition to training Tua, Bloodworth is also preparing Tomasz Adamek (41-1, 27 KOs) for an August 21 date against former title challenger Michael Grant (46-3, 34 KOs). I was recently afforded an opportunity to speak with Roger about both of his fighters and their upcoming matches. Here is what he had to say:
Q: Roger, how does David Tua look in his preparations and training for his upcoming fight this Saturday night against Monte Barrett.
A: He looked He looked good, he’s well prepared.
Q: Now Barrett has lost three in a row and six of his last nine. Do you think that Monte still poses a real threat to somebody like David Tua or do you think this is more of a “stay busy” fight for David?
A: Well, anytime you crawl in the ring with a heavyweight he can be a problem, and from some of the remarks I’ve heard him make I expect him to come to fight. You know the old axiom that every great fighter has one great fight left in him. You just don’t know when he’s had it. He could be a problem. He’s got a good punch, but David is in terrific shape and I expect him to take care of business.
Q: Assuming Tua wins and everything goes according to plan, how many more fights do you believe David would need before he is ready for a title shot?
A: Listen, Tua could fight with any of the champions right now. I wouldn’t have a problem putting him in.
Q: Right now the three champions in the division are Wladimir Klitschko, Vitali Klitschko, and David Haye. Would you have an ideal target out of those three?
A: Well I think ideally you’d be looking at David Haye because he’s a smaller guy. He is a good boxer, he’s got a fairly good punch, his chin is somewhat suspect, but I don’t expect to get that fight because I think that David is taking the safe course with his championship. But he would be the ideal. Next would be Vitali, the older one, simply because he’s older and a little bit slower. I don’t think he’s quite as good a boxer as his younger brother but I do think he has a better chin.
Q: David Tua, he caused a lot of excitement in the division back when he beat Shane Cameron. You said you didn’t think that Haye would give him a chance anytime soon, but do you think any of these guys would be willing to give Tua a shot in the next year or so?
A: I don’t know if they’re going to be willing to but they may in a position where they have to because David’s number two right now in the WBO. Povetkin has signed to fight Wladimir, so after that fight, no matter what happens, Dave should go to number one if he wins this fight and he looks good. It might be a matter of a box-off for a mandatory.
Q: Now Roger, you worked with David Tua earlier in his career when he was climbing up through the ranks and you’ve worked with him again in recent years. What differences do you see in David as a fighter?
A: Yeah, I’ve known David since he was 19 when he first came over when I used to work with Main Events and George Benton was the head trainer then, Ronnie Shields and myself were there. There was a period when he left and he went with America Presents and Ronnie was training him. I think the biggest difference in David right now is his mental maturity. He’s been through a lot. He’s had a lot thrown at him and he’s been able to stand up under all of the pressure and I think he’s become just more mature as a person. Plus, he has a lot of experience and now he’s not fighting like he did at one time. He’s not just a one punch fighter. He can use the jab now. He can hurt you with a right hand or a left hook or an uppercut. So I think he’s a lot more versatile now and he has a lot more options in his attack than he used to have.
Q: Do you have an official prediction for David’s upcoming fight?
A: No. I never predict fights because I don’t want to disrespect the other fighter. I respect every fighter that gets in the ring. All I’m looking for is a win.
Q: Now in addition to training David Tua, you’re also currently working with Tomasz Adamek for an August date against Michael Grant. How’s everything going in that training camp?
A: It’s going well. We’ve had five weeks together already and it’s going really well.
Q: Now Michael Grant, of course, is a man you’re familiar with. You trained Andrew Golota when he faced Grant. Is your preparation with Adamek similar to when you prepared Golota to face Grant?
A: No, because Adamek and Golota are different fighters. Golota, of course, was about 6’4”-6’5”, 250. Adamek is not that big, he’s 6’2” about 220 so the preparation is different. They both have different rhythms so you have to prepare each fighter according to the way he fights.
Q: Grant will be the biggest fighter that Tomasz has ever faced. Do you think Adamek will have any problems handling someone of that size and stature?
A: Well he could. Let’s face it, the guy’s 6’7”, he’s got long arms, he’s got a good right hand, and a lot of people don’t realize that he’s won eight straight fights in a row since his last loss. So you know, he could be a big problem. If Adamek makes a mistake he can get caught. That’s why they call it a fight. So yeah, he could cause him problems.
Q: Do you view Grant as somebody who is perhaps a stepping stone to a Klitschko where it will help Adamek prepare for a taller fighter?
A: A stepping stone, no. To prepare for a taller fighter, yes. I don’t consider him a stepping stone because I think that’s a bad label to put on anybody. Like I said, I respect every fighter who gets in the ring and he’s got a good trainer in Eddie Mustafa Muhammad. So I expect him to come very well prepared and I expect him to come to fight. What it will tell us is if Tomasz is prepared to fight a man that big. I think Michael will be a little more desperate than he has been in his past fights because I think a loss would hurt him a lot worse than it would hurt Tomasz. But we will see in this fight where Tomasz is in respect to fighting a big tall guy, which both champions are.
Q: Speaking of that Roger, in your professional opinion, how far removed do you think Adamek is from being ready for a title shot in the heavyweight picture?
A: One or two fights. A lot of it’s going to depend on his performance in this fight, but I would say one or two fights no more. You have to understand you also have to get the opportunity. You can’t just say I want to fight because some of these guys, for lack of a better term, don’t really seem to want to face the tougher fights. I’m not going to accuse anyone of picking and choosing but sometimes I think it seems like that.
Q: Now Roger, you’re working with two top heavyweights who have vastly different styles inside the ring. Is this a challenge to you as a trainer to juggle two guys from the same weight classes with such different approaches to the fight game?
A: No, I’ve been doing this a long time. I started out in the amateurs so I had about ten years amateur experience and you work with a lot of different guys with a lot of different styles and one thing that you learn as you go along is that you can’t train every fighter exactly the same way. You have to take what they do and add to it.
Q: Roger, for my final question, do you have anything else you’d like to say to all the fans out at East Side Boxing?
A: Yes, you know without the fans this sport wouldn’t be anything. So I’m very grateful to them. Just tune in and watch and we’ll see what happens.
Q: Great. Roger, thank you very much for your time. I wish you luck with both of your fighters in the future.
A: Thank you very much. I appreciate it. Thank you for having me.
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