“I know myself and I am confident that I can beat anyone in my division. Anyone that stands in my way I know that I can overcome them. I can push my body further than my mind thinks it can go and it doesn’t matter what these fighters bring to the table because I will always figure out a way. I want to be #1 pound for pound. That’s what I want. Until I reach that goal, I will not retire from boxing.”
Undefeated featherweight contender Javier Fortuna is expected to sign a contract this week to fight for the interim WBA World Featherweight Title. The much-anticipated bout will be held on December 8th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and will be featured on the Manny Pacquiao – Juan Manuel Marquez card.
We had the chance to speak to Javier during a break from his training. Here’s what he had to say:
Javier, first of all, I want to congratulate you on your success over the last 18 months and on the announcement of your next fight against Patrick Hyland on the Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manual Marquez undercard on December 8th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. How do you feel knowing that you can finally reach your life-long dream of fighting for a world title?
Well, first of all, I want to thank God. Overall, I feel very happy for all of the opportunities that I’ve had in boxing, and because of boxing, and I plan for all of this good fortune to continue. I have been here in Oxnard for 5 years now. I have been training very hard to reach my goals and I have no doubt in my mind that I will reach them.
You have told us that you train year-round. Taking only 5 or 6 days breaks to visit your family in the Dominican Republic. Do you feel that this dedication, discipline and commitment to the sport have been the reason for your dominant wins?
Yes, absolutely. I have always maintained my training and stayed in shape year just in case you get that call. You never know. That way, no time is wasted. We can immediately jump into the advanced stages of training, to the game-plan and strategy. I always maintain my fitness so I don’t lose a step.
Everyone knows that Pablo Sarmiento’s training style is not easy. That he expects the absolute best from his boxers every single day. What has Pablo added to your arsenal since you started training with him?
Well, I started with Pablo having only fought 8 times as a professional. But, even then, he told me “Javier, one I’m going to make you a world champion. I’m going to help you climb the ranks and get you to the world class level. “The Mayweather-Pacquiao level”. And I just told him “Ok. Let’s do this. I’m with you”
When I got here, I had my amateur experience but I didn’t have the boxer’s mentality that I have today- the experience that I have today. Physically, as a boxer, I owe everything to Pablo. Absolutely everything. I am a totally different fighter today than I was when I arrived here in California. Everything I know now, everything I am now as a boxer I learned from Pablo and Gaby Sarmiento.
In the last few fights, you made it look easy, knocking out 4 out of your last 5 opponents within 2 rounds. Hyland doesn’t have your kind of power but he is a very technical fighter. Tell us, how are you preparing for this fight?
Well, Hyland is a boxer. I have seen a few of his fights and he seems to be a normal boxer who always looks very comfortable in the ring. But I don’t see a lot of power in him. Frankly, I focus mostly on my own preparation and on Pablo’s game-plan. That’s simply what I do and I stay firmly in that mind-frame. I watch 2 or 3 fights of theirs, like I did for Hyland, Pablo comes up with a strategy and I get after it and make sure we get the win.
You have said before that there isn’t a featherweight out there that can stop you? Tell us why you feel that way?
I know myself and I am confident that I can beat anyone in my division. I identify an objective, I learn about the obstacles I must overcome to beat them and I do it. I believe in god. I trust in god. And I know that I can push my body further than my mind thinks it can go. Any obstacles that stand in my way, I know that I can overcome them. It doesn’t matter what these fighters bring to the table. My trainer and I will always figure out a way.
What next after Hyland?
Whoever. I am always calm, always at peace and whoever gets the nod, I’ll just prepare myself and get that win.
As a child growing up in the Dominican Republic, did you ever think you could get to this point in your sport or in life?
No. I never dreamed any of this could ever come true. I actually took a break from the sport as a teenager. Took a year and a half off when I was in high school but I felt empty, and felt like I had nothing to do- nothing to drive me. And that’s when I decided that I would dedicate myself to boxing. I looked up to Floyd Mayweather, Tito Trinidad, Bernard Hopkins and Roy Jones Jr. I then really began enjoying the sport and excelling. I started first competing in, and winning, national tournaments, and then I reached the Pan-American Games. When I arrived at the international level, I really felt “I got this. I can do this. I’m going to do this. Just watch, you’ll see me fighting in Las Vegas one day.” And sure enough, there I was last year.
It seemed like you channeled your inner Sergio Martinez in your last fight. Was that you just having fun up there or, as his stable mate, is some of Maravilla’s style rubbing off on you?
I admire Sergio and he has become, along with Floyd, one of the fighters that I look up to. But I have many different styles when I get in the ring. I like to vary it up depending on the fight.
What are your biggest goals as a boxer?
I want to be #1 pound for pound. I want to be a champion at 126, 130, 135, and, if my body and god allow it, 140. That’s what I want. Until I reach that goal, I will not retire from boxing.