By Sam Geraci
Photo: Star Boxing
On Saturday, undefeated American heavyweight prospect Ritchie “Silverback” Carmack (12-0, 10 KOs) of Dalton, Mo., makes his second consecutive step-up in class when he takes on New York fan favorite Vinnie Maddalone (36-8, 27 KOs) in a ten round bout at The Paramount in Huntington, N.Y.
The quiet Missouri native, who is as admired in his hometown of Belton for his work with individuals with disabilities as he is for his boxing abilities and strenuous training regiments, which include pulling vans like a World’s Strongest Man does, believes he is the most unique heavyweight and that he is on the cusp of competing against the division’s best.
At 24, 6-foot-2 and over 300 pounds with quick hands, fast feet and a successful amateur background, Carmack might be right. At the very least, with an impressive showing against Maddalone coupled with his devastating November knockout of Carl Davis (16-5, 12 KOs), a bout in which he was brought in to be bashed for Davis’s birthday, Carmack should position himself alongside 20-year-old prospects like Mexico’s Andy Ruiz, Jr. and California’s Alexander Flores as one of the most promising young heavyweights.
In the following interview with Fightnews, Carmack discusses his place in the division, his matchup with Maddalone, his amateur background, his best asset as a fighter, his Midwest roots and more.
You’re undefeated and coming off your biggest win against Carl Davis. What will a win over Maddalone do for you?
I think it’s gonna put me in a spot where everybody will finally notice me and the skills that I have.
Why haven’t you been noticed yet?
It’s understandable because the only fighter I’ve faced with a good record is Carl Davis. I think following that with a win over Maddalone will put me in a whole different ballpark.
How would you describe your style?
I’m a big guy, but I’m a boxer. I have plenty of power, but I don’t just rely on it.
When you say a you are a big guy, how big are you gonna be for this fight?
I don’t really know, but I’m sure I’m close to what always weigh [over 300 pounds). For my weight, people don't really expect me to move well and have fast hands, but that's how I train. I can go many rounds. Actually, my weight works to my advantage because I think my opponents underestimate me when they see my size.
Have you always been a big kid?
Oh yeah (laughs). When I started fighting at eleven, I was 6-foot-2 and weighed 230.
Why did you pursue boxing?
Well, to be honest, I was a football player and played all types of sports and when we moved to Dalton, my parents decided that whenever I had some free time I should box. Without me ever knowing, when I came home from a practice, they told me they had signed me up for boxing and that I started the next day. A year from that time, I was ranked number one for my age and weight.
Can you describe your amateur background?
I was number one in the US for three years in a row; I won the Kansas City Golden Gloves for five years; I placed silver and bronze in the Junior Olympics. I have had a lot of success and experience at the amateur level.
How has your deep amateur background prepared you for guys like Davis and Maddalone?
I've fought all types of boxers from all over the world and I have power, so I'm not concerned about any fighter.
What do you expect Maddalone to do in the fight?
I expect him to come straight at me. I think he's gonna try to get me out of there quickly. He's gonna try to brawl with me.
What's going to be the result of this fight?
I'm gonna outbox Maddalone. I don't ever really look for the knockout, but if it comes I will take it. I'm more of a boxer than anything.
Is the anything that Maddalone does that concerns you?
No. Not really. Like I've said, I'm used to fighting all types of fighters and I've faced fighters with his brawling style before. I know what I need to do. I'm gonna get in there and do what I do best.
If you had to select the best element of your game, what would it be?
Definitely my jab. I've got a strong, fast jab. I use it really well, and it usually overwhelms people.
Where would you rank yourself against today's heavyweights?
I'm not really sure because there aren't really too many people like me in the heavyweight division. I think I'm unique.
How far are you then from challenging one of the top heavyweights?
I do believe within one year, but don't get me wrong; I'll fight anyone today.
Generally speaking, it's difficult to make it out of the Midwest. Do you plan to relocate?
It's very hard but I do plan to stay. It's where I grew up and it's where my roots are. I don't wanna leave. My friends, family and everything I know are there. It's home.
Can you elaborate on the relationship with your team, your family and your Midwest roots?
John Carden [manager] and Keith Sudduth [trainer] are like family. You know, I grew up in the small town of Dalton, Missouri, that probably has less than 20,000 people and I’ve always been an athlete. I played running back and middle linebacker in high school and my high school life consisted of sports. Everyday, I was going to football practice after school then I was changing in my parents’ car so I could get straight to boxing practice.
Can you elaborate on your home life today?
We are a close family. I have three daughters, and I’m engaged to be married. Basically, I train and go to work full time so I can support and enjoy my family.
You have a pretty interesting full time job working with individuals with special needs. Can you elaborate on what you do?
I work as a behavioral specialist for special needs kids in a group home with kids who range in age from twelve to twenty-one. What I do is make and implement plans for their everyday living and then I try to help them follow those plans so they can learn to live on their own. It’s really a rewarding job because I help people find their independence.
Is this a career that you intend to continue pursuing when you are finished with boxing?
It’s really a cool job, and it’s something I will always be involved with.
What are the challenges of boxing and working full time?
There’s just not enough time in the day to do everything, but you just have to make a plan that works for you and stay dedicated to it—work, family and boxing.
Any plans after boxing?
Travel the world and take care of my family.
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Maddalone-Carmack headlines Star Boxing’s popular “Rockin Fights” at the Paramount. The Paramount is located at 370 New York Avenue, Huntington, New York, 11743. Doors on the evening of the event will open at 7PM with the first bell at 8PM. For directions and more information, please visit their website at www.parmount.com. Tickets are on sale through Ticketmaster, or through The Paramount Box Office, (631) 673-7300 in addition to the Star Boxing Office, (718) 823-2000.