By Dave Spencer / Fightnews Canada
Photo: Herby Whyne
It’s the best combination you can have in boxing; a tool chest full of talent validated with a hard work ethic that pushes you above and beyond. For Canadian lightweight Ghislain Maduma (10-0 6KO) who returns to action tonight in Montreal against Sergio Priotti (25-12-2 8KO), the two complimentary but succinct disciplines are now being intertwined, something that wasn’t always the case for the talented fighter.
The Congo born fighter who got his first taste of the sport by watching tapes of Roy Jones has always had the talent, but is now following up hard with the necessary hard work. “I told my uncle it looked easy,” Maduma recently told FightNews of his days as a know-it-all teenager, a comment that earned the youngster a trip to the gym and the beginning of an amateur career that included close to eighty fights and trip back to his native Congo and an attempt to crack that country’s Olympic team. “As an amateur, I was good, I was talented, but I was not an athlete. I was a talented guy who was doing boxing, I was not training as an athlete. When I finally turned pro, I wanted to do it for myself and really train as an athlete. I started really working and making boxing a priority in my life.”
Maduma was undecided as to whether to turn pro after his Olympic dream failed to materialize but was spurred on by his trainer Mike Moffa and those who the five-time Quebec champion cut his teeth with coming up and having success in the pro ranks. “I was watching everybody having success and in the back of my mind that I could do it. You need the motivation and after the motivation you need to put the work in. Without work, motivation means nothing. When I started working, the success came by itself. The first day I started boxing I had the talent, but when I started working it hard, I really saw the benefits.”
So far, Maduma likes what he sees.
“I’m enjoying it, each day is different, when you’re not used to working hard, they give everything to you when you have talent. You do see things that you do when you really work for it. You don’t have the same level of happiness you do when you really have to work for something instead of just being given to you because you have talent. I’m enjoying it every day. The jogging, the conditioning, it’s hard but I’m enjoying it. It’s because everyday I’m getting a little closer to something I never was as an amateur fighter.”
So far the results are showing. In his last fight, Maduma drew Pedro Navarrete, a right of passage for all Montreal fighters making their way up in the lightweight category and a fighter who will make you work for the duration and take you to the scorecards. Maduma did as well as any of his Canadian contemporaries and scored an early knockdown before the Mexican fighter closed it down and put on the track shoes for the duration. “There are guys that sometimes it’s hard to look good against them,” said Maduma, “You just have to take the win and move on to your next fight. You need two guys to make a fight, but you can’t blame him, I think maybe I hurt him much more than I thought I did. For the first two he was there, watching what I was doing, but after that he just disappeared.” The fight provided Maduma with his first ten round foray and some needed experience. “It was my first ten rounds and I just had to stay calm and not get over-anxious just to please everyone. Do what I have to do.”