Greg Leon: Congrats on Jermall Charlo's (pictured) recent victory over Matt Korobov. Can you give us some thoughts on his performance?
Ronnie Shields: I thought it was a good performance. We only had about three days to prepare for Korobov, but he did exactly what I asked him to do. He won the fight and that's all that matters.
GL: Did you think Korobov made for a more difficult fight than Willie Monroe, Jr. [who failed a drug test] ever would have?
RS: Absolutely. You know look, Korobov was a decorated amateur fighter and he was making a lot of noise in the pro's until he got stopped by Andy Lee. That's one of those things where he got hit by a punch he didn't see, but it's easy to see that this kid could fight and we knew he was going to be tougher than Willie Monroe, but it was either fight him or don't fight at all, so we went through with the fight. Jermall wasn't going to turn anything down because that's not who he is and he's got no problem fighting whoever they put in front of him. In the first three rounds of this fight, I kind of lost him going into the ring because of what happened with his brother. I was telling him he's got to put that aside and we've got to concentrate on this fight. I didn't get on him in the first three rounds, but after that I had to a little bit. I told him, just listen to what I'm saying, he said ok and he did. He showed what a true champion is supposed to do.
GL: Were you surprised that Korobov was able to land his left hand with such consistency?
Ronnie Shields: "It's not that I was surprised, but at the same time I just knew everything Jermall was thinking about. His mind wasn't even really on the fight for a while, but he made the adjustments. He moved his head, he threw the jab more and he was letting the right hand go behind it more."
GL: He definitely finished stronger, that's for sure.
RS: "Absolutely. He finished the way a true champion is supposed to finish."
GL: Where does Jermall go from here?
RS: "The WBC has ordered us to fight GGG so as far as I'm concerned that's who we're going to fight next."
GL: Do you really think that's going to happen?
RS: "I do. Everybody else is talking except for GGG. The thing about it is, I don't what's going on with GGG and Loeffler, but I'm hearing alot of things that they're not together anymore. But until they tell me that it's not happening next, GGG is who we're fighting next as far as I'm concerned."
GL: When would you like to see Charlo back in the ring?
RS: "In May."
GL: Lara's in full blown training camp now, how's that going?
RS: "He's back and he's going to start sparring next week. Lara is Lara. He's always going to train and he's always ready to fight anybody."
GL: After not seeing round two in 2018, is it time for Efe Ajagba to step it up?
RS: "I think we've got to step it up a little bit in this next fight, but the thing about it is, it's tougher to get guys to agree to fight him. I guess we're going to have to start looking deeper into the heavyweight division. I'll sit down with Shelly (Finkel) and Al (Haymon) and we'll see what's going to be next."
GL: Based on what you see from him in the gym, how long do you think it will be before he's able to mix it up with some contenders?
RS: "He's only 24 years old, but I think within the next year he's going to be fighting contenders. He's got a lot to learn and the guys he's fighting now aren't really doing all that much for him, but the thing about it is, he's doing a lot more in the gym. People are going to see all that come together when the step up happens. When you've got a young fighter you want him to learn how to do everything he needs to do in the gym and then show it when he gets into the ring. He hasn't had a chance to show anything yet, because he's so strong that he's been getting rid of the guys he's been fighting with the first couple of shots he lands."
GL: What did you think about Harrison's win over Jermell?
RS: "To be honest with you I've been away so I haven't watched it since I've been back. At the arena I didn't see enough of it to tell you who I thought won, but from what I saw it looked like Jermell was winning the fight. Actions tell you a lot and I think when the decision was announced Harrison looked shocked. Fighters know when they win and when they lose and when they get a decision that they weren't supposed to get. I think there's going to be a rematch soon and I think the real Jermell will show up and he's got to. He's got to show that he's the better fighter."
GL: Closing thoughts?
RS: "We're looking forward to a great 2019. We've got some great cards coming up with a lot of great fighters and I think 2019 is going to be a very exciting year for boxing."