Earlier this year former world champion Malcolm Klassen (33-6-2, 17) signed with Asian manager Alexander King Shah. After signing with Shah we were able to send some questions to Malcolm ahead of the next chapter in his career.
AB-What drew you into boxing?
MK-What drew me into boxing was the fact I was one of those kids who never backed down from a fight, I always stood my ground and never ran away from fights then my moms brother took me to a boxing gym because he saw what I could be, he is also the person that raised me.
AB-You made your debut almost 20 years ago, what advice would “old” you have for “young” you if you could speak to yourself before your debut?
MK-Normally I tell a lot of young fighters that boxing isn't a easy game nd if you are a fighter you need to train hard, if not if you and disrespect the game you can get knocked out badly.
AB-As you may be aware many fight fans around the world struggle to watch fights in African nations, and sadly they may not have seen many of your fights other than your 2009 fight with Robert Guerrero. Do you think this has hindered your career on an international basis with things like getting credit for your ability?
MK-On my site I never worried whether another fighter disrespect or undermine they see it in da ring who I really am and after fights they always confess how hard I punch and good I am.
AB-Staying on a similar theme, how would you describe your style to those who haven't seen you? And do you feel like your style has changed over the years?
MK-I can adapt to anyones fighting style I can fight on the back foot I can attack.
AB-Whilst Alexander Shah has been a great promoter in the Asian region your decision to sign with him seemed a little bit peculiar to some. What was it that drew you to Alex, especially so late in your career?
MK-Mr Alexander King. He is a good Promoter and manager and got connections in the industry and he looks after his fighters thanks to him we secured several big fights in 2017 and the first is against Mikhail Alexeev.
AB-At 35 years old you are around the age where most fighters consider retirement, yet you are currently on a solid 6 fight winning run with good wins against the likes of Justin Savi and Paulus Moses. Do you feel your body has a set number of fights left, or do you feel as young as ever?
MK-My age isnt a factor you only feel as old as you are, I mean I got good hand speed and I'm a accurate puncher.
AB-In your 41 fight career you have shared the ring with a real list of notable foes, like Jeffrey Mathebula, Mzonke Fana, Cassius Baloyi, Robert Guerrero, Will Tomlinson and Paulus Moses. Who would you say was the best fighter you've faced?
MK-The best fighter between Will Tomlinson and Paulus Moses I would say Paulus is a good fighter, I mean he is also a former World Champion my record speaks for it self.
AB-It's clear on twitter that you're trying to secure big bouts and you've called out numerous notable fighters. If you could hand select your next opponent, who would that be?
MK-If I would hand select any fighter to fight for now I would say I would wanna fight anyone....
AB-Finally, is there any idea of when we will be able to see you in the ring next? And what should fans be looking for when you do get back in there?
MK-My nxt fight will be in August in Russia on the 26th with me its fire works and good entertainment thats why im called "The Stone" I will fight Undefeated russian WBC champion (Ed's note - WBC Youth Super Featherweight champion) Mikhail Alexeev and hope I will get Lomachenko or Leo Santa Cruz soon to come. I also wanna say thanx to my Russian Promoter RCC Promotion Mr German Titov and my manager/promoter Mr Alexander King Shah for believing in me and in giving me the opportunity again.
(Image courtesy of boxrec.com)
Over the last few years Alexander King Shah has been putting on some great shows in Asia, winning awards and creating a buzz for his fighters. Although his fighters are getting more and more attention he has mostly gone under-the-radar for fans who haven't followed the growth of boxing in, and around, Singapore and Malaysia.
Thankfully we were able to send some questions off to Mr Shah recently, and get to know him a bit better, whilst getting to learn not only about Mr Shah, but also drove him into boxing, and what he has in the pipeline as he looks to continue to build his reputation in the sport.
AB-Firstly Mr Shah, what drew you into being a boxing promoter, and manager?
AS-I grew up watching Ali and Tyson fights on TV , and also my interest to promote is wanting to be just like Don King during those times promoting big huge fights
AB-Building on that, boxing isn't particularly well linked with Singapore historically, is there any reason you've stuck to Singapore for most of your shows rather than spread into more well defined and established markets like Thailand, Japan and the Philippines?
AB-If you look deep in history of Singapore boxing Singapore actually do have more than 200 local pro boxers recorded by Boxrec, this was like 40 to 50 yeas ago and it was confirmed by many senior citizens in Singapore most of those have passed and some can't be found.they have kept themself at a low profile level .
Singapore was the Mecca of boxing in Asia this was also confirmed by many
That is why I am doing most of my promotions in Singapore to revive back the interest among the public but I'm not closing my doors I do have vision and would love to promote elsewhere too I did promote this Jan in JOHOR Malaysia
AB-As a promoter you've had a real mix of fighters on your card, and worked with some of the best prospects from Central Asia, which of those fighters would you say puts on the best fights for the fans?
AS-I've got alot of feedback from fight fans there are 3 fights tat gave them goosebumps
Qudratilo Vs Adonis cabalquinto
Azizbek Vs Martin Rios
Farkhan Vs Kaseba
AB-And staying on that note, which fighters do you work with? Is there quite a big stable of contracted fighters that you have or is it a case of working on a fight-by-fight basis with fighters?
AS-I have signned 2 fighters World Champion Malcolm Klassen from south Africa and former 2 times Wbc Asia champion Roman Zohailov from Uzbekistan, I just signed them exclusively and will be working closely with them , Malcolm klassen first comeback fight will be in Russia this august agaisnt Russian 10-0 undefeated super Featherweight Mikhail Alexeev
AB-Although your shows have been stacked with really interesting match ups I can't say I've been able to see streams of many of them, has there been problems getting TV coverage in Singapore for your shows? If so has there been thoughts of working with television companies like Boxnation in the UK to try and increase coverage of your fighters?
AS-Most local singapore TV stations don't pay for TV rights but I'm working on something we have been approach by a foreign TV stations and will looking into negotiating with them
AB-Outside of the fighters you manage, and as a fan, what is the one dream bout you wish you could make before the end of 2017? And likewise using a fighter you do work with, what fight would you like to make with one of those?
AS-My Dream is to promote the WBC world title and to make Malcolm Klassen a WBC World champion , there have been talks about lomachenko vs Klassen in the near future to come many fight fans wants to know about it what I can say that it might happen and if it does it will be a dream fight for me and Malcolm and the whole of Africa
As you know lomachenko is the best in the world nobody have yet to beat him* he was supposed to fight Gamboa but it didn't happen and klassen to was supposed to fight Gamboa and it didn't happen
But Lomachenko Vs Klassen I hope it will happen I know there are rumours about this matchup as for now we will concentrate fighting Mikhail in Russia we go one at a time
*(Ed's note- at 130lbs Lomachenko is unbeaten)
AB-Of course you won the 2016 Asian Boxing Promoter of the Year, would you regard that as your biggest honour in boxig so far?
AS-I was honoured and emotional all hard work paid off without the help of many like my partner's family and friends non of this would happen also the Singapore fans have been fantastic , this is th biggest award I received from WBC , the first award I received from WBC was when I promoted 4 Wbc Asia titles in a single nite breaking Brico Satig records , I laugh but we are friends
AB-Could you tell us anything about your future plans? Is there any more big shows coming up in 2017 from yourself or any other big signings on the horizon?
AS-Currently we are in talks for Farkhan Vs Manus boonchanung, the history Manus was an Olympic gold medallist and a Thai superstar ,Farkhan beat him in sea games that put Manus into retirement after that fight and now both are in the pro boxing and Manus wants a rematch but in a pro fight this fight will happen in Malaysia and it will be a Superfight I hope to get the fight on Live TV in Malaysia and Thailand
We are also looking to sign Female pro boxers we have been scouting and in talks with some of them hope it will happen soon
AB-I see you've left Cartel Promotions (Alex recently tweeted that he'd left), can I ask what the reason for the split was?
AS-I left Cartel International Promotions because I have other plans like signing and managing fighters also to build up my own branding e.g Alexander King Management although we split i am still In good terms with the board of directors
AB-Finally, any final words for our readers?
AS-2017 is still the begining winning the Wbc Asia promoter of the year award signing World champion Malcolm Klassen. I how fight fans around the world could give Singapore a chance watch and support fights here we have several other promoters promoting their own events and I hope they too get the most of support from fight fans around the world
AB-Thank you very much for your time Alexander, it's much appreciated and good luck in the future, especially with your two new signings.
(Image courtesy of boxrec.com)
Not sure this needs to be explained! But here are out interviews with fighters!