By Sylvana Ambrosanio

Amateur boxer Mike Marshall sits down to talk with SylvanaBoxing.com about his amateur career so far, his plans for the future and his life outside the ring!

"I'm not like other fighters, but I have no problem fighting with you if I need to. I have fast hands also which is a very good thing. My will is so strong that I will take your will to fight from you. I don't like quitting at all.

SA: Mike, thanks for talking to SylvanaBoxing today. How are you?

MM: I want to thank you for the opportunity to be featured on your website. I'm fine, staying in the gym, and staying out of trouble.

SA: During your amateur career, you made it to the final of the Empire State Games as well as the final of the Golden Gloves. What would you say has been your proudest moment to date?

MM: Actually, I just made it to the finals in the Empire State games, when I fought Earl Newman Jr. My proudest moments happen every time I step into the ring. Whether it's sparring or a fight, I just want to perform and stay out of the streets.

SA: What is your overall amateur record to date?

MM: My amateur record is 6-7, a lot of my losses where robberies. Hey, it's the amateurs so as long as I make sure it doesn't happen in the pros. See, I started late in boxing at 18, so I'm still learning on the job. Never the less I got to knock people out and not leave it to these blind judges!

SA: Was there a person that inspired you to get you into the sport or was it just something that happened?

MM: What got me into the sport was a street fight in high school. I got jumped by a local Bloods gang in my old neighborhood in New Jersey. It was 12 against 1. I couldn't run. My pride and heart wouldn't allow me to, so I fought. I stood my ground because I was hard headed and still am somewhat. I took and gave an ass whooping, and just walked home like nothing happened. My grandmother called the cops, and they suggested that I look into the sport.

SA: Let’s talk about your fight experiences to date... what is going through your mind when you enter the ring? Can you use the atmosphere from the crowd to motivate you or are you that “zoned in” that you can’t feel it?

MM: My fight experience is quite extensive including sparring pros, contenders, Olympians, and champions. So I get a lot of experience in the gym. They don't take it easy on me and I don't take it easy on them. When it's fight time I don't even hear the crowd, because I'm so menacing they usually cheer for the other guy, until they actually see me fight. I usually win over the audience at the end of my fights because I show great will and heart.

SA: What would you say are your best assets that you develop in training and use to your advantage in the ring?

MM: I would say my best assets are my jab and my crafty style. I'm not like other fighters, but I have no problem fighting with you if I need to. I usually just rely on my skills and box. I have fast hands also which is a very good thing. My will is so strong that I will take your will to fight from you. I don't like quitting at all.

 

SA: Has there been a fight which you have found particularly tough?

MM: Yes, the 2010 Golden Gloves. I lost a decision to some guy from Queens. It was my first fight as a Middleweight. Actually, it was my first time in life being 165 pounds. I fought all three rounds and the kid was running around like a chicken with his head cut off. I hate chasing fighters around the ring. My previous fight was at Super-Heavyweight, but I will not use weight loss as an excuse. It was a learning experience for me. Nevertheless, I put on a good fight.

SA: What are your thoughts on turning pro at the minute, is it something that you will be looking at soon or have you got more to achieve in the amateurs?

MM: If I had the opportunity, I'd turn pro tomorrow, but I learned that boxing is not about who's the best fighter anymore. It's a business, so I'll stay in the amateurs until I find investors or a decent promoter who will put me on their card. You got guys running around here with 12-0 records and they can't fight at all. I beat up a pro with that record the other day in the gym. So I just wait until I shine a bit more in the amateurs. People in New York City are talking about me anyway, so I guess that's a good thing.

SA: How important do you feel it is to have a decent amateur career?

MM: The amateurs is where you learn. Some guys just have 5 fights turn pro and become champion. I have more experience than that but I'm just playing my cards right. The amateurs is where you get your schooling. Some people catch on quick, some catch on slow, but at the end of the day, I get it.

SA: Do you think that a boxer can be at the top of his game in the amateurs, but then fall short in the pros?

MM: Of course, just because you’re a good amateur doesn't mean you'll be a good professional. It happens. You can be a top amateur and fall short in the pros. I see it all the time. Also, some of the worst amateurs become excellent pros...that's funny to me. This whole boxing game is funny.

SA: What is your best punch?

MM: My best punch is my jab. I started out with a hate for using my jab, but in the long run I appreciate it for opening up so many doors. I broke my last opponent's nose with the jab. So I'm in love with it now.

SA: Is there a pro boxer that you can maybe liken yourself to in terms of ability and style?

MM: My boxing style is unique, I take from everybody in the sport. James Toney, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Kid Chocolate, Joe Louis. I just steal from everybody and come into my own. Sitting down on my shots is important to me also, I gotta knock people out now. The amateur boxing scoring is the worst.

SA: What would a typical day look like for you in training and how often do you train and for how long each day? 

MM: I sleep in the gym. I wake up when sparring comes. I spar about 7 to 8 rounds a day. Last week I boxed 27 rounds all with professionals and maybe another amateur that's still in the Golden Gloves. I go running at night before bed. I’d rather spar than do anything else. You got guys that hit the bag all day but not me. I like to hit people all day. When I sleep I dream about hitting people.

SA: Where and who do you train with?

I train in Starrett City Boxing Gym in East New York, Brooklyn. Right next to Brownsville. Former World Champion Luis Callazo trains there too, along with me, title contender Danny Jacobs, Middleweight Champion Curtis Stevens, Heavyweight contender Vinny Maddalone, and Jr. Middleweight Dushane "Tyson" Crooks. I box with all of those guys before their fights. I'm also in camp with Light-Heavyweight prospect Travis Peterkin. I give all these guys work, whatever they need - 7, 9 rounds, whatever. I just want to box.

SA: So how important is sparring as a part of your preparation?

MM: Sparring is very important to me. It allows me to see and visualize what I am actually capable of in the ring. I treat an actual boxing match differently but in sparring, I work on technique. Sometimes you have guys that want to go to war in the gym. I take advantage of those guys because they are animals that are afraid to use their skill. I usually make guys like that quit after the 3rd round. I spar with everyone, it doesn't matter to me. When I step in the gym I yell out "LET THE BEATINGS BEGIN!" That lets everyone know I'm ready to work. Whatever, whoever, whenever. I take em all from Flyweight to their Momma's Weight!

SA: Also, how important is mental preparation for you before a fight?

MM: My mental preparation before a fight is important. I stay cool, calm, focused and ready to work. There was a point where these robberies where messing with my head, but I told myself “forget the judges and just do my job”. I'm not one of their favorites; they must think I'm just a kid off the street or something until they see me fight. I come to hurt, so that's all that’s on my mind before a fight. I’m gonna break something or die trying. Like I said before, the last guy I fought, I broke his nose.

SA: Let’s talk a bit more about that last fight you refer to. What are your thoughts on it?

MM: My last fight was complete trash, even though I was the main event. I was sharp, knocked the guy down, and broke his nose. The last round they took a point away from my opponent for holding and he still won a 3-2 decision. It was so bad that the guy running the golden gloves told me it was complete B.S.! I was in the guy's hometown and the crowd booed him after they heard the decision. People were running up to me like I was famous or something and they were really angry at the judges. Them telling me “you’re the winner” - that was a great feeling. Still, all in all, I wish these judges would do the right thing.

SA: Do you think boxing is a fair game?

MM: Absolutely not! A lot of the top guys are at the top because someone rich put them there. When you have money you can put judges in your back pocket. It's very crooked, but like I said if you’re fighting me, then I'm gonna make it my business to break a bone on you by any means. Win, lose, or draw.

SA: When will you be back in action and what can we expect to see from you next?

MM: Right now I'm just in camp with pro boxers. Now that I'm out of the Golden Gloves, I'm waiting for the next tournament or show fight. I'm hearing they’re getting rid of headgear and bringing the 10 point must system into the amateurs. I can't wait till that happens.

SA: Who would you say are your favourite current and all-time boxers?

MM: James Toney is my favorite fighter. I have a lot but he's the cream of the crop. I like his crafty slipping and old school style of fighting.

SA: As a boxing fan, is there a fight that you are particularly looking forward to watching?

MM: Lamont Peterson vs. Lucas Matthysse is a fight that I'm looking forward to on May 18th (a day before my birthday). Very tough fight.

SA: Who is Mike without the gloves? What do you like to do for fun?

MM: My life outside the ring is simple. I work also so that keeps me out of trouble. I'm a real laid back, funny guy. If I wasn't a fighter, I would be a comedian, because life is funny. The way things play out is funny, so I just sit back and enjoy the show. I grew up in the hood in New York and New Jersey. Irvington, New Jersey is one of the worst parts of New Jersey. I fought almost everyday. I’m glad I got out of there.

SA: So how does boxing affect your life? How does your family feel about you fighting?

MM: Boxing changed my life for the better. It keeps me in shape and gave me a different outlook on life. Boxing actually made me smarter than any school ever would. It prepared me for the tough world and to face my fears head on. My family is supportive, especially my grandmother. She believes I can do it, so I make it happen everyday that I'm breathing. It’s all for her.

SA: Anything that you would have liked to have achieved by the year end?

MM: I just want more fights. More experience to prepare me for anyone or anything.

SA: Is there anything that you would like to share with the fans/supporters/readers before leaving?

MM: To the fans of the sport of boxing - Don't believe the HYPE because that's all it is... hype! Read between the lines, support real fighters. Not just fighters with "undefeated" records, because there is someone for everybody. These guys are running and ducking from real fights. Me, personally I show up and show out when it's time to fight. God bless and continue to support real fighters with actual talent.

You can also follow me on twitter @FlyMikeMarshall