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Roman Gonzalez: ‘The only way to become better is to fight the best’

11
May
Photo by Naoki Fukuda

Photo by Naoki Fukuda

 

Roman Gonzalez has fought three times previously in the United States; however, this Saturday, he fights for the first time on HBO. The RING/WBC flyweight champion from Nicaragua meets former WBC 108-pound boss Edgar Sosa at The Forum in Inglewood, Calif. as co-feature to middleweight titlist Gennady Golovkin vs. Willie Monroe Jr. The “World Championship Boxing” telecast begins at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.

Gonzalez (42-0, 36 knockouts) is understandably jubilant knowing he’ll have the opportunity to fight on such a prominent stage.

“In regards to HBO, it is a dream come true,” Gonzalez told RingTV.com through manager Carlos Blandon. “I thank God every day and every second of my life of all the blessings he has shed over me and my family and fighting on HBO has been one of the biggest.”



The Nicaraguan-born fighter turned pro in 2005 and won the WBA strawweight title three years later. He made three successful defenses before migrating to junior flyweight where he won the WBA belt. This time he made five defenses before again abdicating his throne. Last September, “Chocolatito” matched his mentor, the late great Alexis Arguello’s feat of winning world titles in three weight classes when he stopped Akira Yaegashi in nine rounds.

Last week, Gonzalez spoke to RingTV.com from his training base in Southern California about his upcoming fight, the flyweight division and his future ambitions.

 

Anson Wainwright – What are your thoughts on your upcoming fight with Sosa?

Roman Gonzalez – Through time, I have found out that every fight is the most important, first because God has given me health and strength once again to be able to fight, second because Edgar Sosa is a great champion with an amazing legacy, third – and not least important – it is the debut on HBO, something that me, my promoter [Teiken Promotions] and rest of team have dreamed about for a while now. Also, fighting on the undercard of a champ like “GGG” is also amazing. I believe that GGG is a great champion and I also think Willie Monroe Jr. is very brave and determined because his manager mentioned at the press conference that he did not [for one moment] doubt in fighting GGG. That says a lot.

AW – You have seen Sosa fight previously; he held the WBC 108-pound title for a while. What does he bring into this fight in terms of strengths and also areas you can exploit?

RG – I believe Sosa is a great fighter. He defended his title, I believe, 11 times [10 successful] and that is a great accomplishment, so I know he has a lot of power as a fighter and also as a person who will give his best on May 16th to win another championship belt.

AW – This won’t be your first fight in America. You’ve fought there three times already. Does that help?

RG – I believe every fight is different but as long as you place your faith in God and ask for His strength, you can come out a winner because He controls our lives when we believe in Him with all our might. USA is definitely one of the best boxing stages in the world and exposure is important because I know people like to see all different weight classes, so I am happy we will get good exposure in the USA.

AW – Tell us about your training camp for this fight.

RG – I started my training camp in my hometown of Managua. At 4:00 a.m., I start my routine running 12 kilometers up a famous uphill road called El Crucero, then I stretch for 30 minutes and rest. At 1:00 p.m., I go to the public gym Roger Deshon in Managua and train for three hours. Afterward, I stretch again and rest. Right now I am in Indio, California finishing my training camp with my fellow friend and [IBF bantamweight] champion Randy Caballero, who is Nicaraguan as well as his trainer and dad, Marcos Caballero.

We love it down here. We are using the facilities of the Lee Espinoza Coachella Valley Boxing Club, where so many champions and boxers have been made and trained, so it feels unreal to enter every morning to a space that has held so much talent. I feel blessed with my promoter and team that gave me this opportunity and with the hospitality I have received from the Caballeros and Lee Espinoza. They are truly amazing people.

AW – As well as being the RING magazine champion, you are ranked No. 3 in the Pound-for-Pound ratings. How do you feel about this?

RG – I think it is a very important accomplishment that people rank me at that place. I believe God has me there for a reason, so I train every day the hardest I can to not let myself or anyone down, most importantly my family and country that has always believed in me.

AW – You’ve got a lot of respect from fights fans and people in the sport for your skills and how humble you are. What areas do you feel you can improve on to become an even better fighter?

RG – I believe in every aspect I can improve. We are in this world to learn something new every day. It is a blessing that God gives us one more day of life, so you must make the best out of each day and learning is a blessing. I will never stop learning how to box better or be a good human being; that is the process of life.

AW – When you look at the flyweight division, what are your thoughts and also the other current champions, WBA/WBO titleholder Juan Estrada and IBF titlist Amnat Ruenroeng?

RG – I believe it is an explosive division; there is a lot of talent and I pray to God that he gives me the chance to fight all the champions and fighters of the division. I love boxing and I believe we should always prepare for harder challenges ahead. To me, the only way to become better is to fight the best, so I always pray for them also, that God gives them the strength to keep them healthy and competitive so we can get to fight someday.

AW – A rematch with Estrada has long been mentioned. Would you like to make the rematch a unification for your WBC and RING belts and his WBA and WBO titles?

RG – I believe it would be a good fight because he is a good fighter. He has two belts and a lot of the boxing fans would like a rematch, so I believe it will be a great fight. Hopefully we get a chance at a rematch.

AW – Without looking too far ahead, what goals do you still have in boxing?

RG – Only God can really answer this question but I hope I can keep fighting on HBO. I would definitely love a chance to unify all four belts in the division and also have a chance of winning one or two more belts at different divisions but I sleep in peace because these goals lay in God’s hands and He will decide what I will accomplish as long I have faith in him and discipline, which is a key factor to attain goals in life.

AW – Please share a little about your life with us.

RG – I live in Nicaragua, I believe it is the most beautiful country in the world. It is a very safe country; the government helps the poor people and the athletes, so I am forever grateful. I have two children but I am not currently married. I am a normal person like everyone else. Some people ask me to sign a glove or take a picture with them and, to me, it is overwhelming because I feel God should receive the glory. I am just His servant.

AW – In closing, do you have a message for Sosa and the fans who are looking forward to seeing you fight on May 16?

RG – To Sosa, I would like to tell him that I believe he is a great human being and a great champion, a role model of this amazing sport. I admire his faith in God and he will always have a fellow Christian friend in me. To the boxing fans, I would like to thank them for supporting me, for following my fights when they were not on HBO and for always believing in me. I promise I will give my best to never let them down.

 

Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected] and you can follow him at twitter.com/AnsonWainwright

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