HAVING reeled off three straight wins since his exciting and somewhat controversial stoppage loss to Tyson Fury, 38-year-old Philadelphian Steve Cunningham, 28-6(13) is looking for win number-four against unbeaten Ukrainian Vyacheslav Glazkov. The two will clash in Canada on March 14 and Cunningham says a win over the 19-0-1(12) contender will move him one big step towards challenging for a version of the heavyweight title.
The former two-time IBF cruiserweight king had the following things to say:
Q: First of all, Steve, how has camp been for the Glazkov fight?
Steve Cunningham: “It’s gone well. We’ve done lots of sparring, I’m just about to go swimming (laughs) and we’re doing the things we need to do to get the job done, to get the win.”
Q: How much do you know about Glazkov, his biggest win is probably the decision he earned over Tomasz Adamek – a guy you looked to have beaten only for the scores to go against you.
S.C: “Yeah. I commented on his win over Adamek, as well as his win over [Derric] Rossy. I was at his fight with Malik Scott. I’ve seen quite a lot of Glazkov, we have the same promoter (Main Events). He’s nothing to underestimate or play with. He’s a former Olympian, and that should really say enough [about Glazkov’s capability]. He’s a very good fighter. To have reached the elite level as an amateur, that always helps at pro level. Yeah, he’s a darn good fighter.”
Q: You have made it clear it is your absolute goal to become world heavyweight champion. Will a win over Glazkov get you closer to a title shot?
S.C: “This fight, the winner will become the IBF No.1, so I’ll look to fight whoever it is that has the IBF title, be it Wladimir [Klitschko] if he still holds it. Yeah, it’s a dream to be closer and closer to the title.”
Q: Am I right in saying this fight will be your first fight in Canada, amateur or pro?
S.C: “Yes, this will actually be my first time visiting Canada; I’m a little excited. Montreal is a beautiful place and I’m looking forward to it.”
Q: Who do you think is being looked at as the favourite to win between you and Glazkov?
S.C: “Our mindset, my team and I, is that he is favourite to win. He’s younger, he’s an Olympian, he’s European and he has a big fan base. He’s kind of being looked at as the next Adamek by Main Events. But that’s always been the case throughout my career, as a cruiserweight and as a heavyweight – on paper, lots of guys have been favourite to beat me. I don’t care about any of that, it’s my job just to get the win. The Adamek blemish, it doesn’t hurt me because everyone saw what I did to him. Everyone knows the sport is bullshit with some of these judges and the scores they hand in. Everyone saw what happened in the fight.
“And the Tyson Fury fight, where I got knocked out. We felt it was dirty and underhanded, some of the things he did during the fight. But what happened happened. I was more angry at The New York State Athletic Commission than I was at Fury. We protested, and they said they saw nothing untoward. But my great trainer (Brother Nazim Richardson) he told me that Fury actually did a good job. He said that he [Fury] did what he [Richardson] used to do when he was fighting! He told me how Fury adjusted, knowing he couldn’t match me for skill level. Sometimes, a fighter will say ‘f*** it,’ and will do anything to keep from losing.”
Q: And how good is Fury in your opinion?
S.C: “Well, you know I went to camp with him…
Q: Yes, that was totally unexpected.
S.C: “(laughs) That was crazy! I was still pissed at the time, and we got a call from Peter Fury, to come over and spar with Tyson. I said, ‘heck no!’ But I got to meet the real Tyson Fury, not just the act. What he’s doing is smart. He’s taken the Floyd Mayweather approach and is playing the bad guy. People look at him like a fool and a buffoon and he talks so much trash, he gets them angry and they forget about their game-plan and technique and they want to just bust him in the mouth (laughs). My trainer, he told me not to do that and to not get emotional. But Fury, after me being in camp with him, I saw how hard he works. He’s not just big, he is pushed so hard by Peter, who is a real stand up dude. Peter will not allow him to slack off at all. So after time, me and Fury became quite cool.”
Q: You have picked up three wins since the loss to Fury, two of them over good, unbeaten fighters, in Amir Mansour and then, last time out in October, the huge David Tua look-alike, Natu Visinia.
S.C: “Yeah, and I know a number of big names who have constantly turned down a fight with Mansour. He’s a very dangerous southpaw. In fact, he’s super-dangerous! He’s willing to die in the ring. But I’m an old-school fighter and, I don’t want to pat myself on the back, but my resume should be looked at. My last fight (against Visinia), I saw him for the first time with his shirt off and he looked like a coffee table! But I said to myself that even though he is 278-pounds, he has two arms and two legs like me and that there is a referee to stop anything illegal going on.”
Q: And what kind of a fight are you expecting from Glazkov?
S.C: “I expect him to bring what he’s been bringing. He works, he throws punches, he’s very aggressive. If he sees blood in the water he turns it on. It’s our job to make him look and feel like a fish out of water. It’s our job to overcome whatever he brings. My whole career has been an advert on how to not give in, but to overcome whatever obstacles are in the way.”