Interview By Scott Ploof
Photography by Emily Harney
2008 U.S. Olympian and undefeated junior middleweight Demetrius Andrade (12-0, 8 KOs) continues to take the next step in his professional career as he will take on Omar Bell (8-1, 5 KOs) in the open bout of the ESPN2 Friday Night Fights live from the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, CT this Friday night. “This will be his (Demetrius) fourth time fighting at Mohegan Sun and already his seventh time fighting on ESPN since turning pro. He’s received great exposure on the national level, and I am also pleased that we have been able to showcase him right at home here for his fans on the east coast,” stated Joe DeGuardia, CEO of Star Boxing. “Demetrius is moving along well and has a very bright future ahead of him. This will be his third scheduled eight rounder and by the year’s end we expect him to be moving up to ten-rounders and distancing himself from the other top 154 pounders in the world.” FightNews had an opportunity to speak with Andrade about his extensive amateur career, his undefeated professional career, the fight and his future.
What first sparked your interest in the sport of boxing?
My father was my influence. I began boxing when I was 5 or 6 years old. My father has been my biggest influence. He has been in my corner since day one and is still in my corner to this day.
You had an outstanding amateur career by winning the National Golden Gloves in 2006 and again in 2007, including a Gold medal in the 2007 World Amateur Boxing Championships as well as qualifying and participating in the 2008 Olympics. At what point did you realize in your amateur career that you could parlay this success into a successful professional prizefighting career?
Well I always thought that when I started winning tournaments throughout my career, and then when I was younger, we realized that I could really do this, and I just stuck with it. Everything was going well, I went to the Olympics in 2008 and shortly after that I started my professional career.
What were some of the invaluable tools that you learned during your time in the amateurs that helped you not only to grow up not only as a man, but as a fighter?
The way that I have been brought up to fight was the best way for me to defend myself growing up. I learned different things along the way like a solid defense and good head movement. I always continue to grow and learn as a fighter. With each and every fight, I gain more and more experience. In training, we always work to perfect my game and we work on the same things and sometimes it’s a little bit different. I think by settling in sometimes and by having good movement and a solid jab, it gives you more time to pick someone apart.
Shortly after the Olympics in 2008, you quickly had your first professional bout in October of that year against Patrick Cape as you went on to win by a second round knockout. How much different did you feel fighting for the first time as a professional instead of as an amateur?
I had like tunnel vision at the time. I handled it like I was going in there to take care of my business. In that fight and in my first few fights, I was in there looking and going for the knockout, but now I am a much different fighter as I now go in there and stick to my game plan no matter what happens in the ring, I find myself to be a much better fighter sticking to my game plan than reacting if I say for example I hurt my opponent. I may still throw some power shots to try and put him away but I know that I still have to be more patient and stick to my game plan because sometimes a desperate fighter can be a dangerous fighter. If the knockout comes, that’s great, but if it doesn’t it doesn’t because our ultimate goal is to keep winning and move on to bigger and better things.
After your first professional fight, you continued on to fight several tough up and coming fighters as well including four fighters with only one loss on their record and three others that were previously undefeated before losing to you. Has your game plan changed since fighting in the amateurs or is there a difference in your opinion fighting on the professional level?
Just the difference that I see are now is to settle down more, and to settle down more on my punches, to be more accurate and pick the right shots. In the amateurs, there would be times where you need to land a lot of punches because mainly of how the scoring is done by punches landed. In the professional game, it is a lot like a chess match. You have to take your time and pick the right shots. You need to pick your punches wisely because if you don’t, you can make an easy fight a tough one. However it is my job to make it easy. I am sticking to the game plan and doing what I got to do in the ring.
Up to this point in your career in twelve professional bouts, you have knocked out eight of them. That gives you about a 66% knockout percentage. Do you feel that you are a power puncher or more of a finesse fighter with heavy hands?
I am more of a finesse fighter. I have power but if the knockout comes it comes, if it doesn’t it doesn’t. I learned by watching over my fights that when I am out there looking for the knockout, and then it doesn’t really come, then it makes me look sloppy. I rather like to see what I am doing when I am throwing punches in there. I have learned to be a little more patient in the ring so that I am able to pick my spots more accurately than in the past.
In your last bout back in January, you scored an eight round unanimous decision over Alberto Herrera who at the time was (7-1-1, 5 KOs) in Las Vegas. After having fought a majority of your career in New England, except for a few bouts in Texas, what was the experience like for you fighting for the first time in Las Vegas?
It was cool, but I keep in mind I have also fought all over the world, Brail, Russia, among other places. Fighting in Vegas was nice but it was nothing really super exciting about fighting in Las Vegas. Don’t get me wrong, when I am fighting for a world title shot at the MGM Grand that would be a different story of course, but that is in the future.
You have with each fight continued to fight better and tougher opposition. Are you pleased with the way your career has progressed thus far?
I am very happy with my career and its direction. I am 12-0 and everybody that I have been fighting has consistently been better than the last guy I had previously fought. Of course I am going to be fighting top guys, but at this point in my career I don’t need to be fighting any top guys I am not there. I am still fighting in eight round fights so right now where I am at I am good.
This Friday night, you will again be on ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights, this time taking on yet another tough challenge this time from Omar Bell (8-1, 5 KOs). What do you know about your opponent?
There were no You Tube videos out there or anything like that so I did not get a chance to see any video on him. My trainer got a chance to see him. You know basically we are going by his record. We knew that this guy is (8-1) and I just agreed to the fight because I want people to see that I am not looking to fight any bums, I am looking for guys with good records to fight. It is hard finding good people out there who want to put their records on the line to fight me and help me to advance in my career. We can get what we can until it’s time for the big boys.
How will it feel to be fighting near your hometown of Providence, RI at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, CT where you are (3-0, 1 KO)? Is there any added pressure fighting in New England in front of family and friends, or does it energize you to fight harder?
I like fighting at home because my family will be there because not everybody can travel to Vegas and all of these other spots, so I really enjoy fighting at home.
How has your training camp been for this bout? Has there been anything in particular that you have been working on in the gym in anticipation for this fight?
Training camp has been great. You know I have been training down in Florida. Everything is going very well for me right now. I have been working basically on all aspects of my game and just work each day to make them better.
What is your game plan going into the fight?
Basically the plan is to do what I do best. I can adapt to anything in the ring and whatever I need to do, I can get it done.
Do you have any predictions for the outcome on Friday night?
Yeah, I am going to win. I am going to give everyone at the Mohegan Sun a winning performance on fight night.
How long do you think it will be before we see Demetrius Andrade fight for a world title in the future?
I would like to fight for a world title by the end of next year.
Thank you for taking the time away from your training and preparation for the fight by speaking with us, do you have any other words for your fans at FightNews?
I appreciate the support and when my time comes, they will all see it, they will all see that I am the best!
First bout is scheduled for 7:30PM. Andrade-Bell is scheduled for eight round sin the jr. middleweight division and will go live on ESPN2 at 8PM ET. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased by calling Ticketmaster at 1 (800) 745-3000 or visiting www.ticketmaster.com. Tickets can also be purchased by calling the Star Boxing office at (718) 823-2000 or visiting www.starboxing.com. Tickets are also available for purchase at the Mohegan Sun Box Office. Tickets are priced at $80, $50 and $35. ESPN will begin live coverage of the event starting at 8PM ET.