By Brett Bonetti
Fightnews caught up with Australia’s heavyweight Boxing prospect Mark “The Dominator” who is back in Australia for a short time.
Mark, so what has been happening since we last spoke to you?
I have had a lot of ups and lot of downs, I went over to America and resigned with Don King, my promoter, I’ve come back to Perth for a short time while my Visa gets processed.
When are you going back to Florida?
I am just waiting for my work Visa to come through which they say will be in the next two weeks, and then I am ready to test myself against the best Don King can line up for me.
What distinguishes you from other heavyweight boxers?
Well hopefully that I can string a sentence together, and also the fact that I am very fast, very agile and very dedicated. A lot of the heavyweights today are very lazy, fat, and a lot of people tell me that they are sick of seeing a lot of fat heavyweights. Well there are plenty of young heavyweights that are fit and ready to go and we just need the opportunity and I believe that I am one of the best prospects out there, I just need that one moment to shine
You are a big guy and look very fit, just how big are you?
I am 6’2″ and 231 lbs which is big compared to the average person, but compared to some of the big heavyweights around today, I am like a little kid. Nikolai Valuev who is one of the guys I am aiming to fight is 7′ and 308 lbs, The Klitschko Brothers are 6’7 and 246 lbs, so there are some monsters out there, but then there are also guys smaller than being successful, so as long as you can adapt and use your style and strengths to their weaknesses, it’s not a problem.
What is your world ranking at the moment?
I was ranked 17 in the WBC but I have dropped off the radar because I haven’t fought in over a year, they immediately dropped my from the ratings, but one or two fights and I will be straight back in there
Who do you want to fight and why?
Nikolai Valuev and the reason why I want to fight him is the challenge, he’s a 7 foot guy a gigantic Russian, he’s not just a big guy, he looks like a giant, he has been world champion, he is still rated in the top 10. The reason why I am chasing that fight is that not only does it excite me, Don King has both of us so when the promoter has both fighters it should be a bit easier to set up the fight. Valuev is having hand surgery at the moment so I have been annoying Don Kings office telling him to make sure I am the comeback opponent and I am prepared to go to Russia to do that. He has the pulling power because at the moment he is the bigger name, so I might be in Russia with 50,000 Russians screaming at me and booing me, but I look forward to it!
What is Don King like to deal with?
He is a very smart business man and he is no fool, when you out the camera on him he turns into a showman, he waves his flags, he puts on a show. In America they love it all, the glitz and glamor, a little bit like Vegas, the showgirls, the neon lights, he knows how to put on a show and he has been successful since the early 70’s and he is still one of the top promoters in the world, so he knows what he is doing.
Why haven’t you fought for over a year?
Some bad advice, some injuries, Visa problems, so a lot of different things, but in hindsight it was one of the best things that happened to me because I got to keep training and mature as a fighter, but also mentally learn how the boxing game works, meet a lot of new people, see who was there for my safety and my benefit and see who was there for a free ride or a dollar. Basically I got rid of all the parasites.
Are you a bit frustrated at the moment?
I was, but all the frustration was in my mind, because I have to relax and learn that I have just turned 29 which is very young for a heavyweight boxer, so we can go till we are 40, so for me I have got a lot of time. I have got a really good team and we are ready to launch!
What do you think of the state of heavyweight boxing at the moment?
I think it’s strong, most people don’t, the only reason why I think a lot of people don’t like it especially America is that a lot of the best heavyweights are from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Germany. The eastern Europeans are providing all the best fighters from the middleweight division it seems, so the Americans don’t have a top heavyweight, the Australians have never really had a top heavyweight which is what I am trying to do, so if you ask a Russian or German guy how they thing the heavyweight division is at the moment, they will say it’s the best it’s ever been.
Is Mark de Mori what the heavyweight division needs?
Yes, it is because you want a guy who can transcend the sport, you don’t want more big robots like the Klitschko’s or Valuev!
Did you really teach yourself to box by watching YouTube?
A few years ago around 2007, I didn’t really think I was heading anywhere special, I wasn’t very impressed with my abilities, I was still determined so I went to the gym and tried my own thing for once and got great success so I thought ok, maybe there is something in this and all I have done since is study my favorite fighters on You Tube, copy their moves, get told a thousand times over and over that I am doing everything wrong, but all I can say is that the results have been fantastic because I went from a local slugger to a world rated heavyweight.
We hear you have a documentary in the works on your boxing journey, how is that coming along?
It is not the normal boxing story where a guy comes out of nowhere and wins the world title, so far this is more about the frustrations, how the boxing world works and what really goes on which is going to be fascinating not only to boxing fans but to everyone.
Has an Australian born heavyweight ever made it to the top or even come close?
No, we have had a couple of guys we have claimed as our own, but no Australian born heavyweight has ever come close. We have had some decent heavyweights during the years, but what I am trying to achieve is just unheard of for a Perth boy who trained himself in his dads garage for both his knockout wins in USA.
Mark, thanks for your time today, keep training hard and we look forward to seeing you in the ring!
Follow Mark de Mori on Twitter at twitter.com/markdemori or at www.markdemori.com/