By Sylvana Ambrosanio

04/10/13 sat down with Heavyweight Clarence Tillman who will be fighting April 28th, May 19th and June 16th. "I will be back in the ring every month for the next three months." Yes you heard it right. "To me old school is having balls and fighting the best available - no ducking or pulling out," stated Tillman. Check out what he would like to share with you!

SA: Hey Clarence, thanks for talking to today. What are you up to these days?

CT: Thanks for having me. I'm just enjoying the last few weeks of summer here in New Zealand and preparing for my upcoming fights.

SA: You are due to face Franklin Egobi at the end of this month… 

CT: Yes, April 28 on the James Toney/Lucas Browne undercard. He's a British guy that moved to Australia. He's a veteran guy, so he'll be ready. I will be back in the ring every month for the next three months. April 28th, May 19th and June 16th all in Australia but 3 different cities.

SA: How much research do you do in the run up to a fight about your future opponent?

CT: I do very little. I may watch his last fight or two if I can but film can trick you sometimes. Selecting sparring partners is pretty important but if you can't find the right guys then you have to make adjustments on the go in the ring.

SA: What attributes do you feel you are taking into the ring that will see you come out victorious?

CT: As long as I'm in shape then I’m never worried. I've been blessed to have been taught by some great teachers of this sport so my skill set has never been a problem. I’ll probably weigh my lowest as a pro for this fight.

SA: How would you describe your boxing style? 

I think I'm a boxer/puncher and my best punch is my jab or left hook.

SA: Do you study boxers?

CT: Yes, I study the greats. I have every fight of James Toney, Evander Holyfield, Lennox Lewis and Gerald McClellan. I study them because all 4 could do it all - offense, defense. They could box or mix it up if need be.

SA: You mentioned "old school" fighters. What does this term mean to you?

CT: I used to train with Holyfield down in Houston when I was an amateur while he was trained by Ronnie Shields. He was just amazing to watch. His work ethic was insane. To me old school is having balls and fighting the best available - no ducking or pulling out.

SA: Do you relate yourself to any boxer?

CT: Hmmm I've never really thought about it!

SA: How important is it for you to stay active and fight as often as possible?

CT: I must be active or I lose focus sometimes and I'm behind the 8 ball already so I'm not turning anything down. Therefore I must be ready.

SA: You were overseas for training. Would you consider coming back and actually fighting here as well?

CT: Yeah I've been to England, Wales, Shanghai, Thailand, Indonesia and a few more places. Yeah I would go back in a heartbeat if the right situation came up. Whether it’s sparring or just training with someone that can help. The best fans are in Europe and they appreciate fighters more there. So hopefully I can get back over for a few months this year and have a few fights and makes some good contacts.

SA: Do you feel there is a difference between the training techniques in the places you have travelled?

CT: Yeah some places are more technical and others are more caveman style (laughs)! Just swinging for the trees… so a true boxer would box their heads off because you can tell when they bring some of these guys to the States or Europe.

SA: What was the reason behind you actually getting involved in boxing?

CT: My dad fought and my cousin Henry won an Olympic gold medal. I started when I was 8-9 but once I started playing football I stopped because football gave me a chance to earn a free college education. Then I came back to boxing after 10 years at 25 just to lose weight. I was 365 pounds and it just snowballed from there when one of the trainers asked me did I want an amateur fight.

SA: Do you remember your first boxing memory?

CT: I'm not sure if it was my first but the earliest one I remember was Mike Tyson vs. Marvis Frazier. I thought Tyson was Superman.

SA: Can you tell us about your time in the amateurs?

CT: The amateurs were great. I fought out of Lindley Boxing Gym in Greensboro, North Carolina and Savannah Boxing Club in Houston, Texas. I had about 40 fights. I went to a few national tournaments as well as a dual with the Canadian team. Our team was really good in Texas. We had the late Omar Henry, Lenard Lane, Hylon Williams Jr and the Charlo twins there at the same time. It was a lot fun travelling around the country doing what you love.

SA: You have now had 24 fights with a record of 11-11-2. Is there a fight in particular that you think was your best performance or was a tough bout?

CT: None were particularly tough. I made them tough by not being in the best possible shape. My best probably was Beau Tribolet. That was my first fight with Eddie Mustafa Muhammad as my trainer and I was in the best shape of my career. So I just let my hands go and got him out of there.

SA: Who is Clarence outside the ring?

CT: I'm pretty boring now ha ha. When I lived in Las Vegas I was out all the time. Since I moved to New Zealand I've been real low key. I read a lot and I've gotten into yoga so nothing really exciting anymore! I relax and just listen to music. Other than that I watch movies and old fight films. I just live by the motto "Just do it".

SA: How does boxing influence your life and how has having a career in boxing affected your family life?

CT: It influences my life heavily because it’s my profession and to be honest I have disrespected the sport by not being in shape and ready for fights. Family wise it effects me because my family is back in New Orleans and I’m halfway around the world. I don't have a wife or kids so I can pretty much do as I please... For now.

SA: There have been several high profile doping offences within the sport recently. Do you feel that there is an underlying problem and do you think that more could be done to make the sport cleaner and fairer?

CT: Well I know for a fact that it is a rampant problem. I've witness PED's being bought and used by fighters. The only way to stop it is heavy fines and long suspensions with a 3 strikes rule. Otherwise guys will take a chance if they know they'll get a 4 month suspension when they only fight every 6 months. Plus you need a unified rule. What's illegal in one place needs to be illegal everywhere.

SA: What would you like to achieve in the sport of boxing?

CT: Right now I'm focusing on getting myself physically ready and take it as far as I can. The good thing about boxing is that one punch can change your life.

SA: Do you have a message to your fans and supporters maybe?

CT: I would like to thank every boxing fan on the planet for continuing to support our great sport and I hope to have some great performances in the future to be remembered for!