Interview With The African Warrior, Evans Ashira
14.07.06: Former two-time world title challenger Evans “The African Warrior” Ashira (24-2m 13 KOs) is a free agent after recently getting released from his contract with Don King Productions. Ashira felt it was time to move on, try his luck elsewhere, since he was not happy with the activity he was offered at DKP. The following is a small interview with Ashira, speaking about his past, present and future:
Article posted on 15.07.2006
African Warrior, first tell us about your achievements in amateur boxing and how far you reached!
Man, I would say I did good in the amateurs, from being Kenyan champion five years straight, to African champion, Commonwealth champion and then going to the 96 Olympics in Atlanta. I’d say I reached the top of amateur boxing.
What are your feelings about the fact that you have just been released from your promotional contract with Don King Productions, and what can you tell us about your time with DKP?
My time with DKP was all right. I mean, at least they gave me a shot. But other than that it has been really tough business-wise. You know, they are in a position where they make fights that makes sense to them, and not necessarily to the fighter. But this is a career and a business, so maybe I would do the same if I was in their shoes. I don’t have any hard feelings towards them, but I just wanted to move on and do my thing. Who knows, maybe in the future we will do business again?
Basically, I didn’t want to be one of those talents they have in their stable that are left out on the shelve to dry out. So I had to put my foot down, go to them with an attitude in order to get my release letter. I had tried to get the release letter by being nice, but nothing happened. It was nothing big though, but I didn’t want to waste any more time by being told this and that, back and forth. I’m happy I got the release letter, because I have always been able to take care of myself under any circumstance given, and I know what I can do. I believe in myself!
How do you manage to pull out a great fight when you have the odds against you, fighting in the other guys “backyard”? Specifically Im thinking of the (Fredrik) Alvarez fight in Denmark, the (Jerry) Elliott fight in Germany and the Quinton Smith fight at Madison Square Garden in New York…
Well, I always train good and stay true to myself. For the Alvarez fight I was moving up from junior middleweight to middleweight for a shot at the IBA world and WBA International titles at the same time. Alvarez was a big puncher, and with me being smaller than him nobody gave me a chance. He was coming down from super middleweight actually. But the fact that nobody gave me a chance, motivated me and that’s why he took such a bad beating which in reality finished his career. If someone had cared more about him, they would have stopped in earlier, but they let it go on until I knocked him unconscious in the 11th round.
Jerry Elliott, he was a big puncher too, and the Germans believed in him, and they thought that once he caight me good I would be out. I had him down four times before they stopped the fight, so they gave him plenty of chances. He wend down and falling all over the place.
Quinton Smith was a big motivation for me, because he thought I was chinny because I was stopped by Maselino Masoe in my WBA world title fight. But Quinton hit me with his best shots, nothing happened, and I hit him back even harder, shaking him a couple of times. They fight could have been stopped, but again they let my opponent take too much punishment. Im always ready to go against anybody, I stay true to myself, and I just need the opportunity and a little luck man…
Your last fight was in Krosno, Poland (against Sasha Shnip), and you boxed at junior middleweight again. Are you staying at junior middleweight now after campaigning at middle and even super middleweight against Joe Calzaghe (L12)?
Yes, sure I am! I am staying at junior middle, because I want to maximize the whole advantage I have at that weight class. And I make the weight with no problems. And any “top dog” at junior middle, I can match them any time, anywhere wilt no trouble at all. My manager Jan Andersen and my team arranged the fight in Poland for me just to get the feeling of junior middle back. And I’d like to thank the promoter there for letting me get on the card. They are nice people.
After you lost to Masoe for the WBA middleweight title, you came back strong by beating and retiring the undefeated Quinton Smith in a one-sided affair. Why did you move up to super middle to fight Calzaghe, when you are actually a small middleweight in the first place?
Quinton is a nice guy, and I don’t know if he is retired or semi-retired or what. He is still ranked, despite being inactive for over a year now.
First I would like to say something about my loss to Masoe. I was knocked out by one of my cornermen, who put smelling salt in my nose. And me having never been in contact with something like that before, I got dazed big time. My balance went out the window immediately. One of my cornermen panicked when Iwas knocked down in the first round, where I was a little cold. But I came up and fought good the last part of that round. When I got back to the corner the guy put smelling salt in my nose, and that’s what cost me the championship of the world.
I mean, all my life I have never tried to smoke a cigarette, or get drunk or anything. Nothing! I don’t know how any of that feels, and the smelling salt was a big shock to my brain. But I have no hard feelings towards the guy, because he is a nice man, and he told me he did not mean for anything bad to happen to me, he just didn’t know me better.
The Calzaghe fight at super middle, I took because it was a big opportunity for me to show the world what I can do, and I thank Frank Warren for that opportunity.
What can we expect to see of the African Warrior at junior middleweight?
The Warrior will be taking his last trip in his career, and I wont be leaving any stones unturned. I take nothing for granted. Im determined to get to the top under all circumstances. I want that world title!
How is your training then, and what are your plans now that you are a free agent?
I’m adjusting well to things here in Florida, putting in some hard work and doing my own thing. Hopefully I can hook up with someone where we can work together better than has been the case so far, and make a plan to get me to the top.
Anything you want to say to your fans, especially in Europe?
Well, the African Warrior is still hungry, and the hunger is even bigger now. I love you all out there, and God willing I will make it. Keep logging on to www.ashiraoure.com to stay updated…
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