Back in November of last year, Nigeria’s Olanrewaju Durodola travelled to Russia to take on unbeaten knockout terror (and, many people said, sure thing to win a world title) Dmitry Kudryashov. Shocking the local cruiserweight, Durodola got through a tough opening round and then stopped Kudryashov in the 2nd.
Winning the WBC Silver title, the 35-year-old scored the biggest win of his four year pro career. To his dismay, Durodola was later accused of having used an illegal substance in the fight (later he was cleared and exonerated) and he now says his promised shot at WBC cruiserweight champ Grigory Drozd may not happen.
Here the 22-2(20) contender speaks exclusively with Boxing News:
Q: It was a great win, and an upset win, that you scored over Dmitry Kudryashov in Russia last November. Were you surprised yourself you stopped him so quickly?
Olanrewaju Durodola: “I never knew it would be that quick, but I was ready for him, I had studied him. He [Kudryashov] is a big puncher but I am too! We had our game-plan and we knew he took the fight with me because of my age, he saw I am 35 and he thought I was old. But they don’t know how strong we are in Africa, and they never see what I do, training every day. So I surprised him.”
Q: Kudryashov was knocking everyone out at 18-0, all his wins coming by stoppage. He caught you in the opening round, how badly hurt were you, if at all?
O.D: “He came out very fast, but I knew he would do that, so I came out fast myself. And when he attacked me, I used my guard. But whenever [previous opponents] fought him, they just tried to cover up and not punch back and the fight was over. Thank God I used my speed and my talent and I fought back [when I got caught in the opening round]. I trained very hard for the fight. I want to make something [of myself] in boxing, I wanna make some money. They [The Russian Anti-Doping Agency] said after the fight that I used drugs. I don’t use drugs, I use my natural heart. I trained my mind and my body for the fight. I use what God gave me. That’s why I am called God’s Power.”
Q: You are in line for a WBC title shot, and we read it would be against Grigory Drozd. What is the latest on that?
O.D: “What I know is, they told us in Russia that the winner out of me and Kudryashov would fight Drozd for the world title next. Now they are saying I used drugs and they are avoiding me. They are saying Drozd will fight Ilunga Makabu next instead of me. I’m waiting for the chance to fight Drozd, or I’ll fight Makabu. But now they are avoiding me.”
Q: Would you go back to Russia to fight?
O.D: “I don’t know, after what they said about me using drugs. If the money is right [I would]. I’ll see what my manager puts on the table for me. I’m not scared of anybody. I’ll fight anyone. I’m ready. I’m in Nigeria now, spending time with my family, and I am training every day.”
Q: You have won your last five fights, since losing a decision to Thabiso Mchunu in January of 2014…
O.D: “ I fought Mchunu for the NABF title and he was smart, he fought smart. I know that nobody is King Kong, no-one can beat everyone – look at Mike Tyson, he was knocking everyone out and then he lost. I used to be cocky like that and that’s why I lost in the past. The only fighter who has never lost is [Floyd] Mayweather and that is because he is very smart. I took the fight with Kudryashov and I fought smart. Now I want either Drozd or Makabu, or I’ll fight Kudryashov again and then Drozd. I have earned my shot.”