On December 4th undefeated IBF super middleweight champion Jeff Lacy will defend his title against old schooled fight veteran Omar Sheika at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. The scheduled twelve round bout is set to be televised on Showtime and this should be a crowd pleaser. Sheika is a two-time world title challenger who no doubt poses a threat to Lacy’s young career. Sheika, who began his stellar career back in 1997, has compiled a respectable record of 26-6 (17). He is an in-your-face kind of fighter that isn’t afraid to mix it up at times and has proven himself throughout his seven year career. He has impressive victories over such fighters as Anwar Oshana, who was 21-1 at the time he and Sheika met in the ring in 1999. Sheika floored Anwar four times en route to a second round TKO victory. In the summer of 2000 Sheika stepped in the ring with Glen Johnson, (you know, the guy who just recently put Roy Jones Jr. literally to sleep) to pound out and get the majority decision over the experienced veteran. After a four fight losing streak Sheika has rejuvenated himself with a three fight winning streak and looks forward continuing his streak and finally get the prize he has been denied, the title of World Champion. Will the third time prove to be a charm for the twenty-seven year old scrapper? Check it out December 4th on Showtime to see if Omar Sheika will hook Jeff Lacy.
Photo © Brendon Pierpaoli, DoghouseBoxing
Benny Henderson Jr.: How has your training been going for the Lacy fight?
Omar Sheika: Everything has been going fine and I am just looking forward to fighting Lacy and becoming the new champion.
BH: Your fighting a guy who is young, powerful and has superb boxing skills and just came off a win over highly regarded fight veteran Syd Vanderpool. Where do you see your self in this fight as far as what do you bring to the table that Vanderpool didn’t bring or the other sixteen Lacy opponents couldn’t offer?
OS: Well basically you can’t compare me to Vanderpool. Our styles are totally different. Vanderpool tries to be a boxer and doesn’t basically have any power. And basically no disrespect to Lacy he is the champion but he has fought seventeen fighters and none of them is my quality and he hasn’t faced anybody like me and he will find out on December 4th. He is used to people being scared of him and running around and people trying to basically survive but he will see a different style with me. He will see some power boxing; you know, something that he has never seen before. Somebody that is going to take it to him and fight him. He has never been tested, he has never really been hit right on the chin to see how good of a punch he can really take. So I am looking forward to doing all of that and let’s see what he really is about.
BH: Your first bid for a belt was back in 2000 for the WBO super middleweight title in which you were stopped in the fifth round by Joe Calzaghe, and then again in 2001 in the IBF super middleweight title eliminator against Thomas Tate the fight was stopped, and then you had three other failed attempts in a title match, now once again you are going for a title. How much pressure is on you to finally get that monkey off your back?
OS: Oh man you don’t understand how much pressure it is and basically for the Calzaghe fight I got head butted and totally jerked out there, they just declared him the winner. And when I fought Tate basically I was beating Tate the whole fight but they stopped because of my eye for acts of caution and when I fought Lucas I broke my hand in the third round so this fight means everything to me. I’m trying to become champion and fighting in the States comfortably against a good solid opponent so that’s why I took extra hard training for this fight because I know this is it for me, this is a chance for me to become champion and plus take that monkey of my shoulders.
BH: We know a win against Lacy would be big for your career, but how about the personal side? After dropping four bouts in a row you have gone on a three fight winning streak. How significant is this battle for you in the terms of a personal victory just to keep the winning streak alive?
OS: Oh like I said this isn’t just a championship fight for me, it is something to prove to a lot of people that has doubted me. Just to prove to myself that I am capable of becoming champion of the world and basically just move on. I don’t want to start over again. I am on a streak and I want to keep it that way and just becoming champion would mean everything to me. Basically I am in control and knowing that I don’t have any distractions, I look forward to the future.
BH: Can you give us some of your fight plan?
OS: Well basically I am going to fight like people know I fight. I can box and I can punch so basically I am going to mix those two together and go in there and retaliate on what he is trying to do and go from there. What I learned about boxing is that it is a mind thing. 80% is in your head and basically become a smarter fighter and that is what I think I have done it these past few fights so I am going to do what I have to do to win. I will be confident in what I can do and knowing that Lacy is a slow fighter and basically that is the only way he knows how to fight is to come forward and try to take you out. He doesn’t jab, he doesn’t box, he doesn’t have any foot work and doesn’t move around the ring and he doesn’t do any of that and he hasn’t seen any of that. My only concern is doing what I have to do and basically use my skills and my talent.
BH: Is that the flaw you see in Jeff’s style that you feel you can capitalize on or use against him?
OS: Oh of course my style and Lacy’s style are very similar we basically like people who stand in front of us. So now it is about who is going to be smarter and better. If he comes right at me, hey that is what I want, I don’t have to look for him. My speed and my power will dictate the fight.
BH: You have fought some tough bouts in your seven-year career; your second bout against Pemberton when you both went down, your win over Glen Johnson, the list goes on. Can you give us some of your most memorable moments in your career?
OS: Basically every fight for me was big but I think this is my biggest and there is a lot I would like to do. I would like to get Pemberton again and beating Lacy would put me in that position where I control everything and basically this is my biggest fight coming up. I’m not looking at the past I just know that I have a lot of experience from fighting better quality opponents and I have to take everything into this fight. My main concern is beating Lacy.
BH: How would you define your career so far?
OS: Well basically up to date right now after December 4th it will be like a new beginning for me. And that is what I am looking forward too.
BH: What do you feel the future holds for yourself?
OS: Like I said I think I can become champion. I am a more marketable person than Lacy and basically I am a fighter that is always in a good fight and I give it 100%, so there are a lot of good opponents out there for me and a lot of good fights that can be made. My concern is becoming champion and I’ll take it from there.
BH: Anything you would like to add in closing or say to the fans?
OS: It is going to be a tough and exciting fight and I am hoping that everybody will tune in to it to see me fulfill my dream in becoming the world champion.
I would like to thank Omar for his time and I would like to thank Omar’s manager Nedal Abuhumoud for setting up this interview.
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