In talking with Lovemore N'dou, one quickly surmises that the Black Panther truly believes he is one of the best fighters in boxing's deepest division, and he may not be too far from the truth. N'dou gave Sharmba Mitchell, Kostya Tszyu's heir apparent to the junior welterweight crown, and the best prospect in the class, Miguel Cotto very tough fights even though he was the late replacement in both scraps, and had to prepare for his battles within a matter of weeks. N'dou knows he can take on anyone his promoter Dan Goosen puts in front of him, but Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Arturo Gatti tops his wish list. For if N'dou had at least six weeks to prepare with his new trainer, the former belt holder of three divisions Jeff Fenech, then the Black Panther may overwhelm his opponents with the same boxing skills that forced Ruben Diaz to retire in his corner last week during N'dou's most recent outing. BoxingTalk caught up with the Black Panther to get his thoughts on his performance in the ring last week, how he has improved with Fenech in his corner, and what he has in store for the 140-pound division in the near future. BoxingTalk: Lovemore, Congratulation on your win this past Sunday.
Lovemore N'dou: Thanks Darren, It's good to be back in the ring on the winning side. BT: For those who were not able to see the fight, could you please explain how you felt the fight went down?
LN: All I did was fight at my own pace, and let the fight go my own way. From the first round, I just let everybody see who the boss was in there. I was controlling the fight with my jab, which I always do, and not only that but I was landing body shots and punches to the head. I knew I would eventually break Diaz down, and in the fifth round the first body shot I landed put him down. He didn?t want anymore after that, and he didn?t come out for the sixth round. BT: This fight did not seem to get a lot of publicity here in the States, how long did you have to prepare for Diaz?
LN: I had a month to prepare for this fight, but I have been training since I' ve gotten the go-ahead from the doctors. I felt a lot stronger in this fight. I did what I had to do, I put him down with a body punch, and he didn?t come out of his corner after the fifth round. BT: You injured your rib last May against Miguel Cotto. How did they hold up against Ruben Diaz on Sunday?
LN: My ribs are pretty good now. They weren't broken just the cartilage was barely bruised. When I sparred in the gym I had some rib protection just in case something happened, but nothing did, and my ribs feel good now, and I'm ready to take on the top 140-pounders in the world. BT: What did you do to Diaz keep him form coming out for the sixth round?
LN: I was causing too much punishment. Every punch I hit him with I could see him wince. This is a good sign that the work I've been doing with Jeff Fenech has been paying off. I believe if I fought Miguel Cotto or Sharmba Mitchell the way I fought Diaz, I would have stopped them both. What I'm saying is if only I had Jeff in my corner for those fights, I believe I would have stopped them. BT: What did Jeff do to prepare for your fight against Diaz that you didn?t do against Cotto or Mitchell?
LN: He's not trying to change my style at all, he's just trying to better myself. What we've been doing in the gym is going back to the basics. Getting my fists right, and by getting my fists right I can get my punching power right. Jeff showed me in my last fight that with every punch I hit Diaz with, he was ready to go. I could have stopped him in the second or third round if I wanted to but I wanted to give the fans more rounds to watch so they could see the different Lovemore N'dou. BT: How did Jeff feel about your performance last week?
LN: He was impressed with my performance. I did everything he wanted me to do. Everything we practiced in the gym I put into action for the fight. Jeff knows what it takes to win, and I?m so happy I?m with him and together we will win a world title. BT: In what was one tune-up fight since your rib injury, do you really feel you are ready to take on the best in your division?
LN: I feel great. Like I said I'm ready to take anybody on. I?m surprised that Michael Stewart is ranked above me (in the IBF) and is getting a shot at Ricky Hatton. If you look at the Mitchell's fight against Stewart, Mitchell knocked him down three times. I gave Sharmba a hell of a fight, in a fight that I believe I won, and you would think considering my performance that I would be ranked above Stewart, but that's boxing. My day will come and I?ll get a shot at either Hatton or Kostya Tszyu. BT: Do you feel that Hatton did not want you because you are more dangerous than Stewart?
LN: I think it's that, but also because they're fighting for the number one position, the IBF has to look at the top contenders, and since Stewart is ranked above me, than of course Hatton will fight him before he fights me. I do believe though that Hatton has always avoided me. BT: Since you and I talked last, Floyd Mayweather Jr. has entered the junior welterweight division. Is he on your list for possible opponents?
LN: Look, Mayweather doesn't want to fight me. HBO gave Mayweather two names to choose from, Lovemore N?dou and Chop Chop Corley, and he chose Chop Chop because he knew Chop Chop would be an easier fight for him. A lot of the 140- pounders out there, they like to talk, but when it comes to reality they don't want to fight anyone they know will give them a tough fight. I want to fight all the top 140-pounders. BT: Now that Vivian Harris is not taking on Hatton, would you fight Harris?
LN: Harris talks too much, but he is one of the guys I'd want to fight. If he wants to show that he's a man, I'll bring him out here to Australia if he wants to, and if he doesn't want to then I?ll come over to America and fight him anyway. BT: You have mentioned who you want to fight next, but do you know who you are actually going fight next?
LN: I'm looking to get back in the ring sometime in October. There has been talk about fighting Vince Phillips here in Australia. If not him then I?ll take on anyone for the IBF number two vacant position. I just want to be in the position so that when Tszyu fights Mitchell I will be able to fight the winner. The Goosen guys know who I really need, and I?m sure Dan is working hard to get me a top rated opponent.
BoxingTalk thanks Lovemore for taking the time to speak with us. We wish him continued success both in and out of the ring.
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