Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Firtha admits Wilder is a much better fighter

Nicolai Firtha admits Deontay Wilder is a much better fighter

Odd kind of fighting talk ahead of heavyweight showdown

From boxingnewsonline.net
REASONABLY well known to UK fight fans due to his exciting September 2011 slugfest with Tyson Fury (pictured above), 34-year-old Nicolai Firtha of Akron, Ohio faces what is arguably an even more daunting task in his next fight. The holder of a so-so, 21-10-1(8) pro ledger, Firtha knows he is in deep against new KO king Deontay Wilder, who he will face on the Bernard Hopkins-Karo Murat card on October 26.

But a brutally honest  “Stone Man” tells Boxing News he is pushing himself very hard in training camp and that he is going to give it his best shot against the 29-0(29) star next month.

Q: Is Wilder as good as everyone seems to think he is? You spent time with him in Wladimir Klitschko’s camp as he got ready for the Mariusz Wach fight.

Nicolai Firtha:  “I’ve got to say, he’s a juggernaut. He’s the LeBron James of boxing (US basketball star)! I think Wilder is a good kid, with a good team around him, De La Hoya Promotions (Golden Boy) and I have a lot of respect for him. He’s probably one of the best fighters out there. He has the tools, the skills and he does his job. I know this is a tough fight for me, and I’m training balls to the wall!”

Q: Did you spar Wilder when you were both in Klitschko’s camp?

N.F:  “No, I just looked in from the outside, but I saw a couple of things that maybe I can work on; a few things I noted. But the scary thing for me, and I’ll be honest, he [Wilder] gave Wladimir, the champ, the most rounds of sparring of any of his sparring partners in that camp. This is a fight I’m supposed to lose, I’m at the end of my career and I get that they will try and get me out of there early. But I’m training to go through hell so I can hang in there and then test him.”

Q:  You might land something big early and test his chin, which hasn’t been really tested at all yet?

N.F:  “(laughs out loud) I’m gonna have to do that! That looks like my only chance. I’m the massive underdog in this fight and I get that - he gets guys out of there early. He really looks like he’s on a straight route to the top. If I can last a few rounds, and my whiskers are pretty solid, then hopefully I can use some of the tricks I’ve picked up, some of the experience I’ve picked up in camps and during my career, like in the Tyson Fury fight. People don’t always realise it, but a good chin comes down to good conditioning. I’m running a marathon tomorrow (Sept 28) so hopefully some of that conditioning will let me get a little Joe Frazier bob and weave going. I know I can’t let him get his distance on me and keep me out there at the end of his punches. I’m a sitting duck if I let that happen. But every fighter gives you something and I’ll see what Wilder gives me and what I can capitalise on. This is a daunting challenge for me, no doubt.”

Q: Is Wilder the best young US heavyweight, or have you seen anyone better?

N.F:  “There’s no-one [better] that I’ve seen. And that sucks for me in this fight! He has better skills than I do and more power. But I thrive on the underdog role. I love it, man. I love it! I’m the small town guy and I have to KO the star. I can’t cry about it, but I know I have to win by KO. The judges won’t give me anything. Have I a real chance of doing that [getting the KO]? Yes I do. I’m always in great shape, that’s a staple of my game - I can never understand when a fighter comes in out of shape, as people pay a ton of money for a fight; you have to do your job and act like a real athlete - and if I can wear him down with my chin (laughs) and land a few shots of my own, we’ll see. But I can tell you this: I always make it hard time for my opponents. Always.” 

Q: You’ve been in with some top names - Alexander Povetkin and Fury for two examples - who is the better fighter Fury or Povetkin?

N.F:  “I pride self on going in with best. Povetkin is the sharpest guy I’ve been in with, but Fury has balls! He goes down but he gets up, and he’s long physically and uses it. Also, he’s getting smarter now. That’s an interesting question and that’s a great match-up right there. That would be a mega-fight.” 

Q: Has Povetkin got a shot against Wladimir, who he of course faces on October 5?

N.F:  “I’ve bragged about Povetkin ever since I fought him, and I can’t wait for that fight. I think and I hope, this will be a true test for Wladimir - and he’s a champ and needs to be tested. If Povetkin can get in the trenches, rough him up and if he holds up himself, it could be a tough fight for Wladimir. Povetkin had that great fight with Marco Huck, and how tough is Huck? I wouldn’t ever want to meet that dude in a dark alley (laughs). But the champ’s game-plan is so tough to crack. I love the Klitschkos, they’re great for the sport, they talk well and are good role models, even if they don’t always deliver the KO. And if Povetkin catches Klitschko? Klitschko has been caught and he has succumbed in the past. I’m not saying it will happen here, but I have a lot of respect for Povetkin and I really can’t wait for this fight.”

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