Ebo Elder vs Lavka Sim: Ebo's Lightweight Quest Continues

15.09.05 - Interview by Wray Edwards: This Friday night Atlanta’s Ebo “The Extreme Machine” Elder will take on the last guy to give Juan Diaz a decent challenge: Lavka Sim. Ebo, 22-1 (14KO’s) was to have faced lefty Prawet Singwangcha, 26-2-1 (16) from Thailand. Word has it on the grapevine that Prawet’s entourage contained too many dignitaries to suit the U.S. State Department. So the necessary visas were not forthcoming. Pretty ironic considering the current porosity of American borders.

Plan B for Guilty Productions (Ebo’s new promoters) was to sign Lavka Sim to replace Prawet. With its origins in MMA, Guilty is making a seamless transition to include Boxing. This pairing has a certain “Sim”metry as Lavka was the last boxer, who presented a serious challenge, to be defeated by Juan Diaz. This morning Jeff Zager called to arrange an exclusive interview for East Side Boxing with Ebo. As usual in the boxing world, there was much of interest to discuss..

ESB: Good morning Ebo. Thanks for spending some time with us today.

Ebo: “My pleasure. You guys have a great site.”

ESB: How long was this training camp?

Ebo: “I actually started training about twelve to thirteen
weeks ago. That’s more than typical, but it allowed me to train
more progressively and not have to all-of-a-sudden get in great
shape. I think it’s going to benefit me a lot to have trained that

ESB: How was your camp? What are your thoughts about how you did
in the ring and your nutrition…how did that go?

Ebo: “I honestly think it’s never been as good as it is now…umm…
mentally, uh…very relaxed and laid back camp with very intense
conditioning. Technically I should be better than I’ve ever
been…nutritionally as far as supplements and food it’s never
been this good. We should see the best fighter I’ve ever been.

ESB: What is your average weight gain between weigh-in and fight time?

Ebo: “Typically about ten pounds…making weight is probably my
least favorite thing about the whole sport, but you gotta do it.”

At this point Ebo and the author had an in depth discussion about weight-shifting pros and cons in professional Boxing. We both made some good points but agreed that it’s an almost unavoidable aspect of the sport, and not excessive in the neighborhood of ten pounds.

ESB: Who did you spar with?

Ebo: “Umm…I had several different guys, you know, my opponent
changed about a month ago and went from being a left-hander to
a right-hander…so my sparring definitely changed. Mostly just
local guys, but good fighters. I feel that the sparring was more
than adequate. I sparred a good sixty or seventy rounds and
that’s typical for a big fight.”

ESB: Your fight with Courtney Burton demonstrated your outside
Boxing skills, but it seemed that in order to complete the fight
and get an answer, you two had to step close and bang. Your
camp has told us that you have improved head and body,

Ebo: “Well my new trainer Xavier Biggs has emphasized head
Movement, finesse, and getting hit less. Now in the Burton fight
there’s one thing…you’ve always got to take the ring into
consideration, and we fought in a very small, very soft ring,
and that tends to be a puncher’s ring and a slugging ring. This
ring, I believe, should be bigger and harder so I should be able
to box a little more. If I had tried to move too much in that soft
ring I might have ended up getting tired in the tenth and losing
that way…so I decided to move in and take it to him”

ESB: How would you compare your original opponent, Prawet, to

Ebo: “Prawet was more of a slick boxer…left-handed…kinda slick,
Moved his head a lot…total opposite of Lakva Sim. I believe
Sim is going to be a tougher fight than Singwangcha would
have been. But at the same time I like that because Sim’s
more well-known, was world champ just two years ago and I
believe this proves a lot more and will do a lot more for my
career. I would rather fight a lot of important, hard fights
than a bunch of easy, unimportant fights (author’s note: does
that –unimportant-remind you all of anyone?).”

ESB: Uh huh.

Ebo: “I’m more afraid of succeeding at things that don’t matter than
losing a big, important, hard fight that does matter. With Juan
Diaz…he’s obviously afraid of losing ‘cause he won’t step up and
fight a big, you know, great fight.

ESB: Seems so.

Ebo: “I would rather, step up, risk losing, but fight a great fighter…
and…as far as making fans goes, that’s the way you make fans.”

ESB: When you started camp did you notice any rust as it’s been all
this time since the Burton bout?

Ebo: “Well you’ve got to consider that I was completely trained up for
the Diaz fight which is weeks and weeks of training for thirty-six
minutes in the ring. So in terms of activity it’s really like this
is my second fight of the year, and there wasn’t much lag-time
between the Diaz cancellation and starting training for this fight.
It did enable me to come into training at a more gradual pace…
which is good.”

ESB: We heard that you were a drummer in a band. That seems to fit
well with Boxing.

Ebo: “That’s true. I also raced motorcycles. Playing the drums is
great for co-ordination and in both cases you get to beat on
things. The same thing things that will make you a great
drummer will make you a great fighter. You gotta be loose and
fast and relaxed and you can’t push punches just like you can’t
muscle things when you’re playing drums.”

ESB: Where did you get that scar on your head?

Ebo: “When I was born there were all kinda problems. I was two
months premature, weighed about four pounds…and you know
how babies have a soft spot…well I didn’t have one and they had
to do surgery on my head and I was told I would never be able to
play contact sports…which I obviously didn’t pay much attention

ESB: What were the circumstances of your recent change from where
you were managed and trained by your father, to being on board
with Guilty Boxing?

Ebo: “Well, as my career has reached this level, the business, training
and travel complications have become so distracting that they
began to interfere with the father-son relationship. And the most
important thing right now is to concentrate on that and let others
handle all of the boxing stuff. As far as the boxing management
and training goes, they’re not really that important in the big
scheme of things, so it’s best right now to emphasize our
relationship as father and son.”

ESB: How did the Guilty connection come about.

Ebo: “Signing with Guilty was more or less a result of my relationship
With Samson Leukowitz. He’s pretty much the Boxing decision-
maker of Guilty. I’ve been involved with him for several years
and he’s and awesome businessman…he knows boxing better
than anybody, and I trust him. More or less I was signing a deal
with Samson and that connected me with Guilty. Jeff Zager and
Virgil Isreal are my two managers.”

ESB: Thanks Ebo. It’s been a pleasure.

Ebo: “All mine Sir. We’ll see you at the weigh-in and ring-side.

This match will be presented in combination with some of Guilty’s MMA attractions. It should be a really interesting evening.

Just for the record, it is the author’s opinion that Ebo should be fighting Juan Diaz instead of another “elimination” bout. Since Elder was set to fight Diaz, and was presumably already qualified to do so when Juan suffered a “cut” in training for their Las Vegas fight earlier this year. How is it that he has to re-qualify? It would have seemed fair that Diaz should have been given six weeks or so to heal, and then fulfill his obligation to fight Ebo.

The twenty-one year old “champions” last three bouts were against “old men” (Lorcy-33, Irwin-37 and Cruz-36) compared to him, and his last effort of any significance whatsoever was opposite Lakva Sim who took Juan to twelve rounds. The Cruz (20-15-3) fight was just for the grins. The WBA had better watch their step in the way they schedule their championship fights if they wish to glean any credibility from the sport in coming months.

Ebo’s early career with independent management left him without a heavyweight promotional organization to leverage the right bouts for name recognition, fan base and credibility. His recent signing with Guilty is a step in the right direction. The boxing fraternity has a lot of cliques and some really talented fighters can be left out at times despite their obvious potential. Zahir Raheem is yet another example of a boxer who has lacked an association with a promoter who can fine-tune his main-streaming course on the way to a shot at elite status.

Ebo is well-spoken, a gentleman and a credit to the sport. His religious focus is a positive attribute for him, and provides the spiritual carrot which augments his courage and dedication. He respects his opponents, does not trash-mouth and has a very level-headed understanding of the sport’s necessities and opportunities. Win or lose, he is one of the benchmark fighters at 135. See you at the fights.

Article posted on 15.09.2005

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