Exclusive Interview: James Moore

By Kirk Lang


Exclusive Interview: James Moore

Irishman to headline pre-St. Patty's Day card

Undefeated junior middleweight James Moore, who will be headlining a pre-St. Patrick’s Day fight card at Madison Square Garden on March 15, 2008 might have to make room in his trophy case.  In the month leading up to his fight against former world title challenger J.C. Candelo, Moore was honored by both the American Association for the Improvement of Boxing (AAIB) and New York’s Ring 8 of the Veteran Boxers Association as a "Future Champion." Moore hopes the engraved text on the two awards will ring true in the near future. If he can get past the experienced Candelo- who has faced former champions Winky Wright, Kassim Ouma and Verno Phillips-- then Moore will move significantly closer towards a world title opportunity. Boxingtalk caught up with Moore (14-0) at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in White Plains, New York prior to the start of the AAIB awards luncheon.
BT: You’re going to fight JC Candelo on March 15th. What are your thoughts going into this fight?
JM: It’s definitely the toughest fight of my career. You know, the guy’s got 18 knockouts. He’s been in with Winky Wright and Verno Phillips and Kassim Ouma and it’s definitely a step up in class for me. I think the time is right for me to step up. You know, I think out of the top twenty [in the junior middleweight division], I can definitely beat ten of them guys right now, so hopefully by the end of the year I can get up there in the top four or so.
BT: And do you think Candelo (27-9-4 with 18 KOs), is still a good enough fighter to be a measuring stick to see how you’ll do against him, as compared to how others did when they fought him?
JM: Well, he is kind of at the end of his career but he’s coming off the back of a fairly good win there [Editors note: Candelo defeated Anthony Greeley, 7-22-2 in his last bout] but, you know, a guy that has 18 knockouts, you know, the last thing you lose is your knockout power, so I’ve got to keep that in mind in this fight.
BT: Of the Irish guys on the scene in New York, you’ve kind of been under the radar a little bit. Even when you and John Duddy were with the same promotional company - Irish Ropes - Duddy got a lot more attention than yourself. However, in 2008, under a new promotional company - Celtic Gloves - you’re headlining a night of fights at Madison Square Garden. How does it feel to finally be coming into your own a little bit?
JM: I think now is the time. I just go about my business, keep my head down. Sometimes it can be hard when a lot of guys are getting a lot of publicity and sometimes when I’m doing some great work I’m not getting enough credit.
BT: Maybe you need to act wild and do something crazy to get more publicity. What do you think you need to do?
JM: Eh, well I did think about doing things like that but I could just never bring myself to do it.
BT: You’ve always come across to me as a humble guy and maybe that’s kind of why you’ve been under the radar a little. Do you agree? Do you think you need to get more animated, more hyped, maybe dress in flashy outfits?
JM: (Laughing) Maybe so, you know what I mean? But I can’t really see me dressed in flashy outfits. Maybe I do need an edge. Maybe I do need some selling point.
BT: As far as I recall you don’t have a nickname.
JM: No, no, a lot of the Irish guys have been calling me, because I come out to the ring to "Thunder Stroke," they’ve been calling me "Thunder." But I don’t think Arturo Gatti’s been retired long enough to rob his name, you know?
BT: You came here from Ireland, turn pro in August 2005 and now you’re 14-0 with 10 knockouts. Do you like where you’re at right now? Did everything happen faster than you expected or is the progression a bit slower than you had anticipated?
JM: Well, the progress is maybe a bit slower than I’d like but at the same time I’ve been a professional for almost two-and-a-half years. I’ve had 14 fights but I had some breaks in between, some injuries, some personal stuff outside the ring, but I think all in all, you know, I think my last couple of fights, I think I’ve kind of showed what I can do, so I definitely think this next fight, everybody knows the name in boxing circles, so it will be a good measuring stick for me.
BT: How many amateur fights did you have James?
JM: I had 314 amateur fights. I was in over 30 countries, been in training camps in Russia, Austria, Finland, Italy. I’ve even fought in Thailand.
BT: And living in the United States, living in New York, is it a culture shock compared to where you were raised in Ireland?
JM: Well, with all my traveling, I kind of lived out of a suitcase for three years when I was on the (Irish) national (amateur) team, the last few years of my amateur career. I love New York. It’s a greta place. I settled in the Maspeth area (in Queens). It’s a good Irish community, a good mix of people in there, so, you know, there’s always something to do, there’s always something going on.
BT: And tell me, where does James Moore see himself, career-wise, in one year?
JM: One year from now, I definitely think I’ll be in contention for a shot at a world title a year from now. Hopefully by the end of the year something might happen, you know, but you can’t look too far into the future. I’m not looking past J.C. Candelo, but definitely, if I win this fight, I’ll be looking at the likes of Kassim Ouma, and some of them guys up there.
BT: Any last few words for your fans?
JM: Come on March 15. It’s going to be a great fight. J.C. Candelo is a very tough opponent. He’s only been stopped once in 40 fights and I think we’re going to see the real James Moore this time.


Send questions and comments to: kirklang@yahoo.com