|Rob Calloway: The “All American Prizefighter”
Interview By Ken Hissner (March 3, 2008) Doghouse Boxing
Rob Calloway is boxing’s All-American Prizefighter from the heartland of America in St. Joseph, Missouri. He has had 81 prize fights for a record of 73-7-1 (57) and currently holds the WBC Continental Americas, IBF International and NABA cruiserweight titles while being ranked #14 by WBO, #13 by WBA, #15 by the IBF and #14 by WBC.
I caught up with Calloway at the Dover Downs, Delaware Hotel & Casino the day before his good friend BJ Flores was fighting Darnell ‘Ding-A-Ling Man’ Wilson for the USBA cruiserweight title on ESPN2. This is one genuine person whose goal is to win the cruiserweight title of any of the organizations. His trainer is Marshall Kauffman, who also serves as trainer of former WBC heavyweight champion Hasim Rahman.
Ken Hissner: Rob, what kind of amateur background did you have?
Rob Calloway: I was 3 time Kansas City Golden Glove champion; USA, ABF Regional champion and runner-up in the National PAL. I was also a semi-finalist in the Golden Gloves and USA Nationals in 1991 and western Olympic Trials in 1992 (40-7, 20 KOs).
KH: You only lost once in your first 35 fights but I see you had 4 no decisions.
RC: I knocked out Dan Salcedo (3rd), Shawn Clarkson (1st), Dan Kosmicki (6th) and decisioned Jason Nicholson. These were put down as ND without me or my opponent being aware of it at the time so the promoter could use the opponent I either stopped or beat without being put on suspension.
KH: I notice you beat Darrell Spinks (14-1) in 1999 for the IBA Continental Americas title. Is he one of the famous Spinks family members?
RC: He is Cory’s (current IBF light middleweight champion) brother and Cory fought on the undercard as well that night.
KH: When did you first win any kind of title bout?
RC: In 1996 I stopped former world light heavyweight challenger Frank Minton for the WAA Canadian American light heavyweight championship.
KH: You had won 30 straight until you met Kenny Keene (46-3) in his hometown of Boise, Idaho, for the IBA cruiserweight title. It’s as hard for a visiting fighter as it is for a Democrat to win in Idaho. What happened?
RC: The fight was aired in my hometown live on the radio with both commentators having me winning by at least 4 rounds. I felt like I was the winner of the bout.
KH: In early 2001 I see you stopped former heavyweight contender James ‘Quick’ Tillis (42-21-1).
RC: James was way past his prime but could still fight and I stopped him in the 9th round via TKO in winning every round.
KH: Later that year you travel to Denmark to fight Tue Bjorn Thomsen (21-1).
RC: The judges were all Danish and I felt I won by at least 2 points. I should have stopped him a couple of times but he got out away each time.
KH: In 2002 you had your first of two fights with current WBA heavyweight champion Ruslan Chagaev (5-0) which ended in a technical draw when you were cut from a head butt.
RC: I took that fight on a week’s notice because I wanted to be on Showtime.
KH: In your very next fight you are in with 2000 gold medalist Audley Harrison (8-0).
RC: I felt I was ahead on the cards going into the 4th round. He landed a left uppercut that broke my jaw. I finished the round and I felt I won that round as well but when my corner took out my mouthpiece blood gushed out and the doctor stopped the fight.
KH: Your next fight you are giving up over 60 pounds fighting 7’0” Julius Long.
RC: My first fight back after breaking my jaw and I should have taken an easier bout but I won 10 of the 12 rounds. He was huge though.
KH: In mid 2004 you are in with former WBC heavyweight champion Hasim Rahman.
RC: I have only been stopped twice. First the hardest right hand, that being of Rahmans. The second, the hardest left hand that being of Chagaev’s in the 2nd fight.
KH: You win 7 straight and go to Australia to fight big Bob Mirovic (25-14-2).
RC: I was treated great in Australia and it was one of my best wins of my career. He was a big guy! Fox Sports Australia voted it 2005 Fight of the Year. Bob had my eye swollen but I broke his jaw in the 9th round. I won the decision Down Under.
KH: In 2006 you travel to Germany for your rematch with Chagaev who is now 18-0-1.
RC: Like I said earlier, he hit me with the hardest left hand I have ever been hit with.
KH: A couple fights later and you are on ESPN2 with big Jameel “Big Time” McCline giving up over 50 pounds in weight and 4 inches in height.
RC: It was a great fight and Marshall (Kauffman) put together a game plan for me to stay in close and on his chest. I had never fought this way before but he knew I had the guts to do it and now I like fighting on the inside better than ever. Get this. No sparring for the match either!
KH: I was very impressed watching your win over heavyweight Terry Smith (30-2-1).
RC: Terry is a friend as well and I wish him the best as he is a tough guy. We had a good camp even though it was very short so I know if we ever get to have a full 6 weeks we will beat any cruiserweight in the world!
KH: In your bout against Galen Brown (29-4-1) you fight for the WBC Continental Americas, IBF International and NABA cruiserweight titles. Only thing is Brown comes in at 214 pounds. You stopped him in the 4th round.
RC: He knew about the fight for 6 months. He even went to camp. It was one of the easiest fights in my 81 fight career.
KH: You have a fight scheduled on March 15th at the Days Inn in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
RC: My WBC Continental title will be on the line against Juan Carlos Robles (9-0) in Allentown. I’ve seen him on video and he seems to be a tough guy.
KH: Who is in your team?
RC: Marvelous Marshall Kauffman, head trainer; Sid Brumback, cut man; Joe Pastore, strength and conditioning coach and Jason Redmond, 2nd in corner.
KH: Who do you look forward to fighting?
RC: I want to fight Arslan (Firat Arslan, holder of minor WBA belt), Haye or Enzo winner. (David Haye, WBC & WBA holder. Enzo Maccarinelli, WBO holder) I am the IBF International champ so I would love a fight with Steve (Cunningham, IBF holder) as well. I just want my chance to train for a world title fight so I can give myself the best opportunity to win the world title.
KH: How did you and the new USBA champion BJ Flores become friends?
RC: BJ came up through the amateurs after I did and his dad and my father-in-law were friends so I have always been friends with BJ and followed his career.
KH: I understand you are a man of Faith.
RC: I am a Christian and my family and I attend Wyatt Park Baptist church here in St. Joseph, Missouri. The same church my wife and I got married in on July 6th 1991. Wow, almost 17 years ago. Her father was like a father to me and was in my corner for every fight I had amateur and pro until he passed away in 2000.
KH: I will see you in Reading at your training camp and on March 15th at the Days Inn, in Allentown for your title defense against Juan Carlos Robles.
RC: I look forward to it.
e-mail Ken at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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