Exclusive Interview: Tom Yankello

By Brad Cooney


Exclusive Interview: Tom Yankello

Boxingtalk caught up with possible trainer of the year candidate, Tom Yankello. Yankello currently trains Heavyweight Contender Calvin Brock, and rising Heavyweight Brian Minto. Yankello touches on how Calvin Brock's training camp is coming along as they prepare for Wladimir Klitschko and the world championship.

BT - How is calvin's training camp coming along Tom?

TY - He's looking awesome Brad. Calvin Brock will be the best fighter that Wladimir Klitschko has ever faced. Wladimir  has never fought a guy like Calvin with the complete package. Calvin has power in both hands, and he is the most well rounded fighter that Wladimir will have ever faced.

BT - Tom what do you do to keep Calvin grounded as he goes through all of this ?

TY - Calvin is very blessed in this category. Calvin is very level headed, and he is very strong minded, and confident. Going to the Olympics, and all of that amateur experience has helped him very much. Calvin is a veteran now, he's been boxing since he was 12 yrs old. Calvin is just calm, and confident, and my whole thing is that I just bring him more confidence. Calvin is in the best shape of his life, and he will be the best technically as well.

BT - Calvin has already proven that he can beat bigger and stronger guys. Calvin beat a much bigger Jameel McCline, so do you guys approach this fight the same as you did against McCline ?

TY - Without giving up game-plans or strategy, we know what we are in store for, we don't take that for granted. We know what we have to deal with. Wladimir is very, very good. I don't think that they realize how many dimensions that Calvin has though.

BT - Klitschko grabs and holds a lot, so what will you do to prepare Calvin for that ?

TY - We worked on that in camp, and to me Klitschko does do that very well. We have something in our game-plan for that, but hopefully we will get a good referee that will be able to take care of that. There has to be something done with excessive holding. There is a big difference between clenching, and excessive holding.

BT - Are you going to make it a point to the referee about the holding when you have the pre-fight instructions ?

TY - Absolutely right.

BT - Tom have you had a minute to reflect that with a win, you have the Heavyweight Champion of The World in your stable ?

TY - Yes it has sunk in, I have thought long and hard about it. I have always wanted this opportunity, I wouldn't have it any other way. Madison Square Garden for the Heavyweight Championship of The World, it doesn't get any better than that. I am definitely ready for this, it has sunk in. I have waited for this day since I first started training in boxing.

BT - You have a chance to be part of bringing the Heavyweight title back to America, what are your thoughts on that ?

TY - I have thought about that a lot. It's one thing being in the fight, it's another thing to accomplish bringing the title back to America. I would love to see Calvin after this to try to unify. I think Calvin has the ability to do it, and I think the public and the world would want to see that kind of competition. I think it's great for boxing and it will really bring boxing back if something like that happened again.

BT - Will Calvin Brock be the Heavyweight Champion on the morning of November 12th ?

TY - I have never seen Calvin Brock this good, and I predict victory. Calvin can knock you out, he can go the distance, it doesn't matter. Calvin can knock you out cold if he hits you right, so he can definitely take care of business. Calvin also proved that he can win by decision like he did against Jameel McCline. Calvin will be the Heavyweight Champion on November 11th.

BT - The old saying is that you have to knock out the champion in order to take his title, any concerns with that ?

TY - I think that Wladimir is a popular fighter and champion, but I don't like to think that judges will be unfair. I don't really concern myself with that. I believe Calvin will win rounds out-right, and keep it from being a controversial decision.

BT - Let's move on to Brian Minto. ESPN fans know all about Minto, he's one of the more exciting Heavyweights on ESPN. Minto fights Schultz over in Germany, and if he wins, and if Calvin Brock wins your name has to be thrown into the hat as possible trainer of the year.

TY - Well I appreciate that, it would be a great honor to be mentioned as possible trainer of the year. It's a lot of hard work, and I am concentrating right now on the Heavyweight Championship of The World. Brian Minto keeps getting better and better though. You have to kick Brian Minto out of the gym, he's just one of those kinds of guys. I have Brian in camp here, and he's in the best shape of his life. Brian will be perfect for his fight against Schultz, and it will be another big win for him. I think Brian Minto will be the surprise of the division.

BT - I think Minto against a guy like Oleg Maskaev would be a great fight.

TY - That's my exact thinking as well Brad. I think that would be a great fight, and we would love that fight. You better believe that Brian can win that fight, there's no doubt about it. We would love that fight, it would be our number one choice. I think that the people that have seen Brian on ESPN know what kind of exciting fighter that he is.

BT - Monty Mesa Cley, and Verquan Kimbrough update ?

TY - Both guys fight on November 17th in W.Virginia, a week after Calvin's fight. I have a very busy schedule coming up, and both guys are stepping up in competition on the 17th. Wins will bring both guys up to the next level. Monty will fight at 130lb, and Verquan will fight at 135 lb where he is stronger, and more comfortable there.

BT - Tom is there anything that you would like to say to the fans in closing ?

TY - I want to thank everyone for their support, and look for Calvin Brock to be The Heavyweight Champion on November 11th.


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