|Steve Cunningham: “I am leaving Poland with that belt around my waist!”
INTERVIEW By Benny Henderson Jr - A.K.A "Big Dog" (Oct 27, 2006)
After road blocks and upsetting setbacks ‘USS Cunningham’ sets his sails for Poland in search of a world title strap. Undefeated cruiserweight contender Steve Cunningham 19-0 (10) doesn’t fret over challenges; in fact the Philly fighter will travel to face such a confrontation in heading to Warsaw, Poland November 25th to square off against the once beaten Pole Krzysztof Woldarczyk 36-1 (27) in a scheduled twelve round championship clash for the vacant IBF cruiserweight title.
Cunningham competed on the All Navy boxing team assembling a stellar amateur record and made his way to the pros in 2000 winning his debut via split decision. Since his introduction into the bang for your buck sport the Philadelphian pugilist has found success with his superb boxing abilities and proficient work ethic. Under the tutelage of famed boxing trainer Richie Giachetti, Cunningham has defeated the likes of Forrest Neal (TKO4), Guillermo Jones (SD10), Kelvin Davis (UD12), and in his last outing he stopped journeyman Lloyd Bryan by fifth round TKO victory.
Steve was set to face the former undisputed cruiserweight champion O’Neill Bell but that bout fell through when Bell pulled out due to dental issues and was stripped of the IBF strap. He was set for a rematch against former foe Guillermo Jones, but the Panamanian pulled out four days before the bout due to heart complications, but now it all seems to be coming together and Cunningham is excited about finally getting the shot at the major world title strap and he is confident of a victory
In this exclusive Doghouse interview Steve gives his thoughts on his upcoming match-up and the journey he took to get to the title, enjoy.
Benny Henderson Jr.: Well, after a few set backs it seems you are going to finally get your shot at the IBF cruiserweight strap. I know it must have been frustrating with all of the hoopla and such but now it is a go, so give us your thoughts on your championship match-up, and it finally materializing.
Steve Cunningham: My thoughts on that stuff, I think Krzysztof is a pretty good fighter, he has pretty good defense and offense and he is smart. His style and my style makes for a real good fight, a competitive, aggressive and explosive fight. We are on our way to Poland to basically go over there and show the world that we are willing and able to be champion. If feels good to get the call, you get the call to fight this guy and all the excitements pops in but you know being that my last two fights fell through as they did I still got the excitement, I am not thinking about this fight falling through. I take that energy into the gym; it is a dream come true.
BH: You are going to battling the once beaten, very hard hitting Krzysztof Wlodarczyk, on top of all that you are traveling to his home country to fight for the vacant title. How much pressure is on your back and how are you dealing with all the strain?
SC: I have only fought in my hometown once. (Laughs) I think all the pressure is on him, he has to perform in front of all his people. I am going over to do what I am being sent over there to do, and that is to win. He has to perform for his people, I have to go over there and basically bring my title back so there is no pressure on me. I flew to South Africa and beat Rothmann in his hometown, I don’t mind it, it motivates me. I have my mind on my goal, and that goal is to be champion and leaving that ring with that belt around my waist. I am not fighting all of those fans, I am fighting one guy. (Laughs) Now if I were fighting all of those fans then we’d have a problem. (Laughs)
BH: What do you see as the winning keys to victory?
SC: The thing that has made Steve Cunningham victorious to this date, first of all obedience, honor and faith for my God, and to my God. Knowing what He says I can do, and He says in Deuteronomy I am the head and not the tail, I am blessed going in and coming out. That takes cars of me going to Poland, I know I am blessed because of what God says, also the abilities and attributes He blessed me with coming up and through the rankings, the movement boxing and speed, that can basically stop anybody, it is the same plan, of course this is a championship bout and we are turning up some things in training camp. We are looking for a good turnout.
BH: Not to harp on the whole traveling bit but you are traveling to not only his hometown but as well as his home land of Poland, does this automatically put you into knockout mode? I mean do you feel that is the only
way to victory or can you honestly trust the judges?
SC: From what I have learned one judge is from Italy, one is from I think Germany and one is from America, and we have an American referee so we won’t have to worry about some crazy favoritism form the ref. When we first heard about this my wife, family and I prayed about God giving us a fair shake, may the best man win, but of course after that we aren’t worried, after we put our prayer up that’s it there is noting more we can do. So me going into knockout mode would hurt me, that’s not how I can… Of course I can do that when I have too, other than that it will be the same old UUS Cunningham, my faith is in God and we are going to get a fair shake.
BH: Now to a non boxing related question. It must have been a gigantic blessing to finally get Kennedy home, just give us your thoughts on having your daughter home for the first time since her birth?
SC: Having my daughter home has completed my family, no more going to the hospital. It is beautiful to have the family at home where they belong. Truthfully with the past two fights falling out, of course I would have loved to fought O’Neil Bell on Showtime and took my stab at being the unified champion as well as fighting Jones, but God has His plans at that time I had off helped me at home stabilizing my family. No this fight comes up after she is home and it is perfect, God has His plan and part of His plan was for her to come home this year that is a beautiful thing, even me winning the title can’t top her coming home.
BH: How has camp been and when are you leaving out to Poland?
SC: Camp has been good; I have had some pretty different sparring. We are leaving to go to Poland November 15th so we will be there ten days and enjoy Warsaw as much as we can, and do what we came to do and that is to go to work.
BH: If you could say anything to your opponent, what would it be?
SC: Well, one thing my wife and I noticed this cat’s name is called Diablo, the devil, so I just want to say that Jesus is the way! (Laughs) That is the only way, I hope he knows that, and train hard because I am coming to win and I am sure he is going to show up for it and like I said it is going to be a good fight.
BH: Is there anything you want to add to or say in closing of this interview?
SC: To all the fans that believe in prayers and Jesus Christ just put us up in prayer while we travel overseas to go over there to become cruiserweight champion and I thank them for their prayers for our daughter. Obviously we see that the prayers have worked and we thank them very much.
I would like to thank Steve Cunningham for his time and thoughts, for more info please visit: www.usscunningham.com
© Copyright / All Rights reserved: Doghouse Boxing 1998-2006