|Oisin Fagan: “Kimbrough has never fought a mad hungry Irishman before!”
INTERVIEW By Benny Henderson Jr (Dec 21, 2007) Doghouse Boxing
Coming up December 30th from the Mountaineer Race Track in Chester, WV, the 135-pound prospect Oisin Fagan 20-4 (12) takes on ‘The Show’ Verquan Kimbrough 18-1-1 (7) for the vacant USBA lightweight title in hopes of stepping out from a prospect to a contender.
Hailing from Dublin, the Irish-born boxer who now resides out of Oklahoma serves as a school teacher, and hopes come fight night can teach Kimbrough a lesson or two.
In his quest to be the best the thirty-three year old Fagan has tacked on the Oklahoma state lightweight title as well as the Irish light welterweight title. Oisin has defeated the likes of Jeff Thomas (TKO 7) and Josh Hammock (KO 1) and has gone the distance against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr as well as losing a controversial split decision to the undefeated Paul Spadafora.
Earning a 4-1 (3) record this far for 2007, Fagan hopes to close out the year with what would be the biggest win of his career. In this exclusive interview Fagan conducted with the Doghouse, the fighting Irishman breaks down his match-up against Kimbrough and chats about his career, enjoy.
Benny Henderson Jr.: Hey brother, great to have you back on Doghouse Boxing, before we get to your upcoming fight let's dive into 2007. You have had a good year thus far banging out 4-1 record, what grade would you give yourself up to this point?
Oisin Fagan: I probably deserve an 'A', but since 2 of the 3 judges in the Spadafora fight messed me around and gave a split decision against me, I guess I'll have to drop to a 'B', but hey, those 2 judges get 'F's' (laughing).
BH: Now to your upcoming bout, you are facing the once beaten Verquan Kimbrough December 30th, give the readers your thoughts on that fight?
OF: It's certainly a fantastic opportunity for me. It's not everyday that an elementary schoolteacher will get a chance to fight for the USBA title. Kimbrough is a very slick opponent and was a top amateur before he went pro. And now, as a professional he's the current IBC world featherweight and lightweight champion, not to mention, the IBA world featherweight titleholder. He's lightning fast and a great mover. However, I'm quietly confident and I'll do what I do best and keep the pressure on him. Having said that, being on the road and fighting on his promoter's card is always a cause for concern. Sometimes it's not how well you fight, but rather, how well you know the officials on the night.
BH: I have seen you as well as Kimbrough fight before, my opinion you two have similar styles, you both have quick hands and throw a lot of punches. What is your opinion on the match-up, what weaknesses do you feel you can capitalize on and what strengths do you think will cause you problems?
OF: I think it's interesting that you think we have similar styles Benny. I'm of the opinion that our styles are nothing like each other actually. He's got much faster hands than I do and he's a very slick fighter; however, I think I'm a lot busier and I think I can wear him down. He hasn't the greatest chin in the world and has been down plenty of times in his career; whereas, the only time I've been down was a slip against Chavez Jr. early in my career.
Furthermore, he's never fought a mad hungry Irishman before. We Irish are not usually the most skillful fighters in the world, but we're a different breed when it comes down to the nitty-gritty. Another thing I noticed is that I've fought the better opposition, by looking more closely at his record. And after I watched some tape on him, I think I saw a couple of things that I'll be able to take advantage of. There are certainly a few holes in his armory and I think he might be surprised in the championship rounds when I'm still walking through everything he's throwing at me.
BH: You know I was reading your blog on your upcoming bout against Kimbrough, you yourself said, "it's a long shot and I'm not expected to win, as this guy Kimbrough is a hell of a fighter." Are you coming in this bout with the mind set that your back is against the wall, and if so what does that feeling have on your morale?
OF: Ha ha Benny, that's just how I roll. I try to be as humble as I can and I don't mind everyone thinking that I'm going to get beat up, because when it doesn't happen it's an even better story (Laughs). And, imagine I come out with the "big upset"? Then, it becomes major news!
Let me make it clear though. I have every confidence in my ability. I don't think there's anyone in sports today with a heart like mine, so even though I might not be the most skillful boxer in the world, I'll give anyone in the world a battle because there's no quit in me; therefore, I don't care who I fight. Simply put- I'll either win or I won't, but once I have no injuries going into the fight, I will never let myself down and every fight that I've ever lost in the past has always been voted the 'fight of the night', because I bring intense aggression each and every time I enter that ring. Furthermore, I have great faith in God and I trust that what's meant to happen will happen, but it's comforting to me to know that 'God loves somebody who tries', because I'm certainly that.
BH: Any pressure with this fight being for the vacant USBA lightweight title?
OF: There's no extra pressure on me Benny. Remember, I'm in his hometown and I'm not expected to win, so I'll let him handle the pressure. Anyways, he'll be under pressure all night from my tenacity, so what's a little extra from his hometown fans going to do? Since it's for the USBA title, it just makes me more determined. The last Irishman to win the USBA title was Steve Collins before he won the world title. So, that's added incentive for me to win this fight. Steve was a great fighter and to be mentioned in the same breath as him would be an honor.
In fact, lately, I've taken a leaf from Steve's Collins' book. When he fought Chris Eubanks and won the world title, he visited a hypnotherapist in preparation, to condition his mind never to quit. I too have been frequenting a hypnotist every week for the past 2 months, so in my mind, I think the only way I lose this fight is if it goes to the scorecards and the judges pick the hometown hero. As far as I'm concerned, my mind has been conditioned and it won't allow me to quit- I'll keep coming after him, like a bull. Some say that using a hypnotherapist is a crazy tactic, because I might not go down even if I'm badly hurt, but fighting is my life and I have to allow myself every advantage to win. Winning is the only outcome for me. I will be dreadfully disappointed if I lose this fight.
BH: If you could send out a message to Kimbrough before the fight, using Doghouse as your platform, what would you say to your upcoming opponent?
OF: I'd just like to thank Verquan for giving me this opportunity. I worked out hard all throughout Thanksgiving and the recent ice storms here in Oklahoma and I'll be training on Christmas day and all throughout the holidays. I'm away from my friends, family and girlfriend and can't return home to Ireland this holiday season because of this fight; therefore, I have an inner resolve to win this, so that my sacrifices were not in vain. If he Verquan reads this and thinks he's taken me too lightly, it's too late to start training hard now. He should have thought about that when he was stuffing his face with turkey on Thanksgiving Day, while I was out running 10 miles. (Laughs)
BH: Anything in closing?
OF: I just hope God blesses us both and lets the one who put in the most work, win this fight. I'm really looking forward to it and can't wait to actually get in that ring and get started. With his great amateur pedigree, Verquan looks like he'll be the strong favorite; however, he'll have to kill me before I stop coming at him, so I hope he's prepared for that and anyways, I don't feel like dying that day (Laughs). Thanks for the interview Benny. I wish you and all your family a great Christmas.
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