Monday, March 27, 2023  |


Q&A: Billi Godoy eager to prove champion spirit vs. John Ryder


Everything was going great for Billi Godoy until mid-2013: A long, solid career, a confidence-building winning streak in Austria early in his career, a number of high-profile bouts on Argentine TV and mentions in the “fight of the year” discussion on more than one occasion.

But then disaster struck. In a rematch of a heart-stopping bout against Jorge Sebastian Heiland 15 months earlier, Godoy was stopped in the very last round in a fight that would set the winner up for an elimination bout in Ireland against Matthew Macklin (which Heiland would subsequently win). Seeking to recover quickly against another top-rated opponent, Godoy faced Martin Rios for the Argentine middleweight title and was winning easily when he walked into a straight right that sent him to the canvas for the full count.

With two consecutive stoppage losses in his otherwise impressive record – built at the expense of some of the toughest Argentine middleweights, such as Sergio Sanders, Mateo Veron, Cristian Rios, Francisco Mora, Claudio Abalos and even former undisputed welterweight king Carlos Baldomir) – Godoy (31-3, 15 knockouts) put his career in rebuilding mode and notched two stoppage wins in two months to set himself up for bigger and better things.

This Saturday, Godoy will face England’s John Ryder (19-1, 11 KO) in London. It’s a short-notice, 12-round bout in which he expects to put his toughness on full display and translate it into the beginning of a new stage in his career.

RingTV caught up with Godoy a few days before the bout, and this is what he had to share with us.

RingTV: When were you contacted for this fight? How long was your training camp?

Billi Godoy: I had a short notice, only two weeks. I was already training and getting ready to fight, although it was not such an intense camp because I was going to fight an 8-rounder in Argentina. But when the opportunity appeared for this fight, I didn’t hesitate. But I am confident in the work I’ve done.

RTV: What do you know about your opponent?

BG: I know he is a lefty. He has a great record, and he is strong and comes to fight, just like all English boxers.

RTV: You recently had a couple of terrific fights with Jorge Sebastian Heiland, who just had a great success against Matthew Macklin in Ireland. Does this give you any encouragement as far as thinking that you are at the same level as him? Are you hoping for some of his mojo to rub off on you?

BG: I know that I am at a great level, because I had two great fights with Heiland and he’s winning at this level too. And that gives me confidence that I will be doing great in this fight, and that I will be at the top again very soon.

RTV: Is it true that Heiland called you to volunteer to spar with you in preparation for this fight?

BG: Yes. His trainer messaged me and told me that Heiland was ready to give me a hand in this fight, because he is a lefty just like Ryder. And I was truly, truly grateful for the gesture, but I had to tell him that we didn’t have any time to spar because of my travel arrangements to England. But we committed to each other for the future, and we promised each other to work together for our future fights.

RTV: In regards to your last defeat, what happened to you in that KO loss to Martin Rios? You were winning handily and you ended up being stopped. Did you lose your focus?

BG: I think Martin Rios was lucky. He is a strong guy and was lucky to land a strong punch that found a Billi Godoy that was not in his top form. He was lucky, he had his night and I congratulate him. It was good for me, because it was painful but I grew wiser after this defeat. And when a loss hurts you learn much more.

RTV: How did these losses affect you? How did you manage to focus once again after back-to-back losses?

BG: Well, it can happen to anyone. A loss is something that every fighter is exposed to, but we’re doing OK and we had no problems. We had to take a break after those two losses, but it was useful for us to mature and think that just as I was able to beat a few top fighters by stoppage, I was also exposed to being stopped myself, and it was a part of my growth. All great fighters have lost by stoppage, so who am I to think it won’t happen to me? The important thing is to come back and get the big fights, the big opportunities again.

RTV: Speaking of that, you had a lot of high-profile bouts at the local level with many terrific fighters, but you’re unknown abroad. How do you imagine yourself in that next level?

BG: Well, I am ready to try that. I don’t have much experience abroad, but I am going to put myself to the test this Saturday and we’re going to see how it feels. It’s a learning process. We’ve been working hard to do our best and I believe I’ve given great shows and I have faced the best in Argentina. But what gives me confidence is that the fighters I’ve faced in Argentina have had international experience and they did great, and I have defeated them. I know I am at their level and maybe higher.

RTV: Speaking of international experience, you had a period early in your career in which you fought abroad a lot (Godoy fought seven times in Austria). How did this help your confidence?

BG: I had a few fights early away from home when I was coming up. I was starting out and those fights were important for me at that level, but those were formative years. Those opponents were at my same level and we learned together, but when I came back to Argentina I was lucky to be tested immediately against tough fighters who were competing as high as in the cruiserweight division, and that demonstrated that my growth in Europe had been important. Even though I had very few fights, I went for the big names and had a number of great victories. When you face the best in your country, you’re confident that you can make it at any level.

RTV: Argentine fighters are seen differently now, thanks to a recent streak of great successes by a select group of fighters, and they are increasingly seen as dangerous fighters. Does this generate extra pressure for you?

BG: I don’t feel the pressure at all. If anything, it motivates me to continue in my path and to follow on the steps of those great fighters, such as (Marcos) Maidana, (Lucas) Matthysse, and so many others who are doing great abroad. I have to learn from each fight and demonstrate some growth in each fight. My personal history in the ring indicates that I am not going into the ring to fool around. Boxing people know who I am and they know what I can give. They know I will give my best on Saturday and that I will be taking the win to Argentina.

RTV: In terms of this fight itself, how do you imagine it or visualize it?

BG: Honestly, I don’t think about it. I was not able to study my opponent very thoroughly because of the short notice, but I am confident in my work, in my corner, and in my heart and my spirit as a champion.

RTV: What impression would you like people to get from you on Saturday? What aspect of your style would you like people to remember?

BG: I want them to see the fighter that participated in the fight of the year, two years in a row in Argentina. I want them to see me fight with my heart and my brain, too, and leave a great impression so that they call me back again. And for that I will fight in the same way I fight whenever I step into the ring.