With the clock ticking down towards the highly anticipated World Series of Boxing (WSB) exhibition match between Mexico Guerreros and Cuba Domadores, we interview another member of the Mexican team for a behind the scenes glimpse at their preparation.
Today we are talking to Light Welterweight (64kg) boxer Juan Pablo Romero. He is the 2012 WSB Individual Champion, the 2011 National Championship gold medallist and the 2010 Continental Championship silver medallist.
What did your family say when you returned home last year as WSB Individual Champion?
My mother welcomed me home with tears in her eyes and kissed me, the rest of my family congratulated me too.
Muhammad Ali said “Champions aren’t made in the gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them – a desire, a dream, a vision.” What makes you a Champion?
The dream of being somebody in life, the desire to make my family and my country proud; The drive to win the Olympic Games and making boxing history -that’s what gets me up every day!
Do you ever watch the video for your WSB finals in London last year? What do you feel when you watch it?
I still get nervous when I watch it! I feel nostalgic and sometimes I think that it’s not me who is fighting! It’s something you feel deep inside that is inexplicable.
On the 29th of August you will face a Yasniel Toledo, currently ranked 2nd in the AIBA world ranking and a bronze medallist from the London Olympic Games. What is Toledo’s most dangerous weapon?
In general he is an excellent fighter. He controls the distance very well and always fights at his preferred (long) range. I think that ability to dictate the distance is his best weapon.
How do you intend to counter it?
The key will be controlling the range. I have to work at the distance that suits me better and use combinations of punches; a good strategy will lead me to success!
Do you think Toledo will make it for 5 rounds at the elevation of 2,200 m?
The Cuban fighters are always in great shape, I don’t think he will get affected by the altitude.
Tell us about your training in preparing for this fight.
A typical day is getting up at 6 am to go to the Mexican Olympic Committee facility where we train. We starting with Strength and Conditioning training. That goes from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. after that we have breakfast. We eat fruit and vegetables and ensure we are hydrated, that is absolutely critical to ensure we can perform for the next session. We rest until 1 pm then we start the second training session with tactical combat training for different fighters. In my case, for this bout I am exclusively preparing to deal with southpaws. After we finish the second training session we have a recovery period for the rest of the day.
How old were you the first time you stepped into the ring?
The first time I stepped into the ring I was 13 years old.
When did you know that you had a gift for boxing?
To be honest I discovered that I had a gift for boxing from the first moment I started to train!
Do you think you’ll box for the rest of your life?
Boxing is just a stage in my life but not all of it! A boxing career passes so fast. We have to do it while we’re young.
Out of all the current and past boxers in the world who would you like to face in the ring, and why?
I would like to face Vasyl Lomachenko as he is the best in the division currently. In terms of the boxers of the past I would like to face Oscar de la Hoya, Why? Because I want to beat the best!!
We know you are a great boxer. But what is your life outside boxing like?
I try to be a good person inside and outside the ring, I learned good values from my parents and that makes me special. I try to be a good son, brother and friend and I give a hand to those in need. I love “Ranchera” and “Banda” music [Regional styles of mexican music] and in my spare time I go to my village El Monte de Peña Villa del Carbón where my roots are. My people are always humble and nice. I like riding horses, as I learned how to as a child. I love the countryside and I feel at home there!