Exclusive Interview: "King" Benny Cruz

By Mike "Kryptonite" Altamura


Exclusive Interview: "King" Benny Cruz

At 9-0 (7), junior lightweight/lightweight "King" Benny Cruz is one of the rising stars on the Australian boxing circuit. Part of the strong West Australian stable, Harry's Gym, Cruz will look to extend his unbeaten streak when he meets Argentinean Ariel Burgos in an eight-rounded on the Danny Green/Omar Gonzalez undercard Wednesday night. Boxing Talk caught up with the 24-year-old earlier today.

Mike Altamura: Firstly, how are you feeling two days out from the fight?

Benny Cruz: Yeah, very good. Really good. I've done my weight well this time, and getting better and better at it. I feel a lot fresher than I did last fight, overall my fitness is good, I feel really good, and I'm ready to go again.

MA: You've had a couple little stumbling blocks while preparing for fights this year. Has this been a good preparation?

BC: Yeah, like I fought a month ago so I'm fresh off a fight, so it's not like I'm coming back after a few months. I haven't been ill this time; I had to overcome some sickness before. This time I've had a good preparation, a bit more strength work, and was able to do everything this time so this time around I'll be a lot better than I was last fight.

MA: Who have you been sparring with?

BC: Uh, mixing it up a bit. I done a lot of rounds with Gairy St. Clair. Tough sparring too, not just play sparring. We've been going pretty hard at one another. I've done a bit with Dan [Dawson]. Jozef McNamara, I've done a bit with him, a few of the other boys from our gym, Khalid [Ahmed], and a few rounds here and there with some amateurs.

MA: You're fighting Ariel Burgos, he's a 14-4 Argentine. What do you know about him?

BC: Very little at this stage. All I know is he's 14-4, that's about all I know. He must be pretty sleek, I know he's not a big knockout puncher, I know he's only had a few knockouts, and basically I don't know much at all. I'm trying to get a look at him if I can before the fight.

MA: Has your team been able to obtain any footage?

BC: I'm not sure. Maybe we have, I don't know yet. We'll have to sort that soon.

MA: Your trainer Craig Christian always talks about seeing his boys continually learning in the gym, and then showing those improvements in the ring. What improvements can we expect to see in your arsenal this fight?

BC: Oh, what improvements? Just in general, I think I'm getting a little bit more smarter in the ring. I think one of my improvements is I'm starting to make people do what I want them to do, not always react. I'm trying to put them in a situation where I can expect what they're gonna throw. And being a little bit more tidier, keeping my guard up a bit more, still keeping my good movement. I'm not too sure. Maybe just a little bit smarter I think.

MA: Earlier this week fellow Australian prospect Michael "Rocky" Katsidis made a challenge to fight you. Did you see that?

BC: No, I didn't watch the fight.

MA: So you've only heard about it then. What's your reaction to it? Is that fight a possibility?

BC: I definitely think it is. It just depends, because I might be going back to junior lightweight. But it's still a possibility anyway. We haven't really honestly sat down and talked about it or anything, but it could be on the cards. But I think it makes me feel good. It's guys like him that are also, everyone is talking about as a big thing, he could be the next big thing, and if they're asking for me then it only makes my profile higher, it only means that I'm getting somewhere, so it makes me feel good in one sense. That could very well happen.

MA: If victorious Wednesday night, what's the next logical step for you?

BC: Logically, I think I've got a fight about four weeks later on the Gold Coast, Queensland. I don't even know who the opponent is gonna be there or anything like that at this stage, I think that is still trying to be sorted out. I know I'll be on that card more than likely and then probably on the Danny Green card (December 12: I'll have a bigger one).

MA: Do you have anything to say in closing, Ben?

BC: No, just that I've had a good preparation for this fight, and I think you'll keep seeing me getting better and better as these fights go along.


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