Photos: Team SES / P. Gercke
Two days before the biggest fight of his career against WBO champion Robert Stieglitz, Nigerian Isaac Ekpo has made a declaration of war against WBO super middleweight champion Robert Stieglitz.
You are for the first time in Europe/Germany and have a big opportunity to contest a world title fight. Great excitement, are you nervous?
“No, not at all! My team and I we are very relaxed. With a stroll and the work here in our gym we are getting ourselves in a good mood here in Leipzig and feel super comfortable. But there is a lot of new impressions, everything is so clean here. At the market we bought fruit, super fresh. So we do not know that at all!”
You already have international experience as an amateur at the 2004 Olympics in Athens. How has your athletic development been to date?
“First of all I was soccer, goalkeeper in my youth. I was really hoping that idea was a good one. But when I learned about boxing, the motivation was bigger. The man against man situation that involves only you yourself, this is my thing. So I switched at almost 20 years old to boxing and two years later was nominated for the Nigerian Olympic team for Athens. There, I’m got in the quarter-finals and turned pro the next year. This is lucrative for an African!”
Do you have special role models or what particularly drives you?
I am a great admirer of Floyd Mayweather. His fight against Cotto was the best fight I’ve ever seen. My support, my drive is my faith in God. He is always with me, I am fighting for and with him. So on Saturday against Robert Stieglitz, my inspiration is the lion, the strongest animal in Africa – I will rise and fight like a lion. We first want to conquer Europe and then the United States. This is my dream!”
How do you motivate yourself immediately before a fight?
“I like to sing, I listen and sing gospel music. As I said, God is my companion!”
What do you have to say about world champion Robert Stieglitz?
“First of all. we owe him great respect. He is a great champion, a great fighter. Also that he is fighting me with my record (22-1, 16 KOs) and so many KOs shows that he is a great champion. Not everyone would have done that. But on Saturday I will leave the respect in the corner. I’m known as the “The Grenade” so for Robert I’m a ticking time bomb that begins with the first bell. I will defeat him. My KO prediction is for the 7th Round, he will then know my fists without respect.”
What makes you so sure of yourself that you can make such a clear declaration of war?
“Well, I’m just a surprise package for Robert. We know that he could not sift through many fights of mine on DVD, there were just a few transmitted on TV in Africa. So, how can he be so completely ready for me? He’s in for some surprises. I am a “surprise” and so it can only mean a KO for me, the new WBO champion of the world – Isaac Ekpo.”