Recently I caught up with Middleweight Anthony Fowler. See what he has to say on his preparations for Rio, the possibility of pros competing at the games, turning pro himself, Canelo/Khan and how he thinks Derry Matthews can pull off an upset against Terry Flanagan.
How are preparations for Rio 2016, is all going smoothly?
“Brilliant – I’ve never felt better and I’ve got a great team around me. I’ve been working hard over the winter months, so it’s all about fine tuning certain aspects of my game so I’m in the best possible position for my upcoming Olympic qualifier next month.”
What do you make of rumors that suggest professional fighters will be allowed compete in Rio?
“I know it’s raised a few eyebrows and some of the professional fighters have been quick to air their views on the subject and mention taking part. What I would say is that it is such a huge privilege to represent your country so I can see why a number would take the move.
From my perspective it’s business as usual. Regardless of who I’m fighting it doesn’t change my goals and ambitions and that’s to win the gold for Britain.”
How has the WSB helped your career?
“The biggest way the WSB has helped my career is it has really given me a taste of the pro format. I’ve now taken parts in 5 round fights, boxing in lace up gloves against world ranked opposition.
I think it’s a really good model and prepares you for the big occasions and performing under the spotlight.”
How happy where you with your recent performance (win) against Misael Rodriguez?
“The best advice I get from my coaches is to try to improve all the time. I think it was an improved performance compared to my fight with him last year.
We’ve looked back at the fight since and spotted areas that we can work on and that’s the main thing. It’s a constant learning curve.”
You will be focusing on your amateur career right now, but is the prospect of turning pro something that excites you?
“At the moment I am focused on the Olympics I can’t look past that, as it’s a step by step process for me. Turning pro would seem like a natural progression, I think it suits my style of fighting and I definitely have major aspirations to have a successful career.”
As you fight at middleweight, what are your views on the Khan/Canelo fight?
“It’s an exciting fight. I am looking forward to it and I take my hat off to Khan for taking on the challenge of moving up in weight class. Canelo is a big name in America and Khan has a big draw in the UK so it makes it a big fight.
(The recent Khan-Canelo head to head in London via IFL TV):
Big fights are what our sport needs. The fight is 50:50 on paper in my opinion and that’s something that has a wider appeal to the general public and brings more fans to the sport.”
As a proud Liverpool man what do you think of your fellow City men Tony Bellew and Derry Mathews, can Tony finally land the World title this year and can Derry beat Flanagan?
“I think fighters like Derry, Tony and the Smiths have done wonders for the city and the sport. They have given local gyms a new lease of life and have inspired a lot of the young kids to get involved in the sport. It just goes to show Liverpool has got a lot of talent.
I think Tony can definitely get a world title shot and win. He’s worked tirelessly for years and has never ducked a fight. He is game to the point he will fight anyone in their own backyard.
Derry has worked hard for years in this sport, he deserves this title shot and the thing with Derry is you underestimate him at your own peril. He is more than capable of pulling an upset off and knowing his team, they will have a good game plan.”
Should you qualify, what would it mean to you to claim gold in Rio?
“It’s everything I’ve worked towards. For me Rio is the pinnacle of my career so far. Words can’t describe the feeling you get when you win a gold medal for your country and it’s something I’ve had the privilege of experiencing in the Commonwealth.
A gold in the Olympics, it would be something I would have to experience before I would even attempt to describe it. I’ve trained since a kid for this and it would be immense to represent my country and achieve my life goal.”
How many medals do you think GB boxing can take home from the games?
“There are some very, very talented lads on the squad and behind the scenes the coaches and team support we have is great for preparing us for the tasks at hand. I think we have the potential to have one of the best tournaments ever. Maybe even better than London.”
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