Tony Grano Interview

By Kirk Lang


Tony Grano Interview

Heavyweight is now 10-0-1 after KO of Jed Phipps

Headlining his first main event on Friday, heavyweight Tony "TNT" Grano crushed the more physically imposing Jed Phipps in less than a round at the Connecticut Expo Center in Hartford, Connecticut on Friday night. Referee Johnny Callas waved off the short but crowd-pleasing fight at the 1:25 mark after  Phipps, getting hammered along the ropes, slumped to the canvas. 

Phipps came in with a record of 17-6 with 10 KOs and was supposed to provide a stiffer test than Grano’s previous knockout victims. However, Phipps, just like the rest of them, got taken out in the early going. Eight of Grano’s nine knockouts have occurred in either the first or second round. Larry White, back in October, stuck around for most of the third.

Grano, the 2005 United States amateur heavyweight champion, is now unbeaten in 11 fights as a pro (He is 10-0-1). After his less than  three minutes of work, he sat at a table to sign autographs for about 15 minutes, and also spoke with Boxingtalk.
BT: Tony, Jed was supposed to be a pretty tough guy. What happened?

TG: I just went in there and established my jab. I thought he was going to rush me so I just went out there and took control of the center of the ring. He was jabbing with me. I was jabbing back with him. I caught him with a couple pops with the jab and then I went downtown with the straight right to the body. I saw him squint. It had a little bit of an effect. I saw that so I jumped on him. When I see I’ve hurt somebody or have somebody discouraged I smell blood. I go after them. I just caught him with some clean shots and I overwhelmed him.

BT: Tell me how you attract so many fans. It’s ridiculous the following you have.

TG: I’ve got a great fan base.  I’ve got great support. I’m just a personable person. I’m humble. I thank everybody for coming. I love all my fans and it’s great to see them come out and support me.

BT:  You’re taking your opponents out so quick. Why not take your time and get some rounds in?

TG: I would. I was planning on going eight rounds with him, eight hard rounds. He was a tough guy with a good record. He was the toughest guy to date, record-wise, that I was going up against. I was taking a step up. You know, my last couple guys, the last guy, was a cupcake, no offense, but it was because my original guy fell out so it was a last-minute replacement and we had to take it. I was just as upset as my fans were because the guy shouldn’t have been in there with me. I knew this guy wasn’t on my level but I knew I had to train hard to beat him and I did. I trained real hard and I went in there and one thing, you know, leads to another. I just went in there looking  to touch him with my hands. I know when I touch people clean they go to sleep.

BT: What did it mean to fight in Hartford, in front of your hometown fans, in your first main event?

TG: Great. First main event. I couldn’t ask for anything better. It’s local. It’s local for all my fans to get to. Mohegan Sun [Resort Casino] is a great venue too but we wanted to do something here in Hartford.

BT: You first began showing signs of vastly improved hand speed in your fight against John Turlington at Foxwoods Resort Casino back in March. The rapid-fire combinations were on display again tonight. Have you really been working to improve your hand speed?

TG: I have. I’ve got a great trainer in Andre Rozier and in my other trainer Gary Starks [Senior]. Gary Starks I work with more on my hand speed. Andre’s a technician. He works on my technique. He keeps my defense good and my counter-punching sharp and Gary  Starks, I get a little more work with him. My hand speed just goes up.

BT: And what’s the goal for the next year or two?

Geez, you’re talking two years. You’re looking at the TG: next world champ bud. That’s my goal, by 28, to be the heavyweight champion of the world.

BT:  Some people would say you’re not a big heavyweight in this land of the giant heavyweights nowadays and that you have a tough task ahead of you. What do you have to say to that?

TG: The bigger they are the harder they fall. Like I said, I hit just as hard as any heavyweight out there, no matter how big they are. I’ve done work with Oleg Maskaev, the heavyweight champion of the world. I did a little sparring with him before he beat Rahman. I was just doing a lot of sparring with [former world title challenger] Monte Barrett and Curtis  Stevens. Stevens is a little guy. He and some of the other little guys get my hand speed up and help me work on being sharp. Those guys are small but quick so everything comes into play.

BT: Are you worried you’re not getting the rounds in you’re going to need when you make that step up in class?

TG: No, I get them in my sparring. I do the work and train. It’s a gift when they fall down this early. I don’t get paid for overtime. That’s why I do all of my work in the gym.


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