On July 2nd fight fans in Japan will Charles Bellamy (25-3-1, 17) return to the Yano Fitness Center in Zama, his third bout at the venue, for his first contest of 2016. That will see the Japanese based American, also known as "Charlie Ota", face Elfelos Vega (6-3, 4) in the co-main event. Ahead of that bout we managed to put some questions to Charlie, asking generally about his boxing career.
Asian Boxing- Firstly, what got you into boxing in the first place?
Charles Bellamy-I liked fighting. Growing up I enjoyed fighting more than playing sports actually. But people get confused on when a person says they enjoy fighting with a person who just bullies and picks on people. I could go somewhere agree to fight someone it ll be a good fight then go chill and hang out with them. So it was easy to get into all types of fighting sports Taekawondo, karate, wrestling etc. As I got older I needed to do something official cause only a very few people could enjoy fighting without taking it personal. Being a huge Roy Jones Jr fan there was a gym near the place I was staying so I started going and kept getting better so I wanted to see how far I could get.
AB-Presumably you had an amateur background, so could you perhaps tell us something about your days in the unpaid ranks?
CB-Well when I first started going to the gym I fought about 7 amateur matches and won them. Within those 7 wins I was able to win a pretty big amateur tournament out here in Japan. (Where I began boxing.) So I decided to start taking it more serious.
AB-Of course most fight fans will be aware that you're one of the more notable “gaijin” fighters, could you tell us what made you want to make a name for yourself in Japan rather than the US?
CB-I was in the Navy and was stationed out here in Japan. When I was getting out of the military honorable discharged I went back to my hometown in Maryland for a while. At that time the economy wasn't doing so well in the States plus other situations were not looking good. Before I left Japan I applied for a few jobs, one of them teaching/tutoring English. To my surprise at that time I got the job so I decided to stay in Japan after the military. I found it easier to live in Japan than in the U.S.
AB-Could you perhaps also tell us something about your team in Japan. Who are the key figures at the Hachioji Nakaya Boxing Gym?
CB-I was with Hachioji Nakaya Boxing gym for a long time. Little by little we didn't see eye to eye on things and separated. By chance I was able to start training at Teiken gym and that is who I am with now.
AB-Staying with your career in Japan, where you've fought 26 of your 29 professional bouts, what was the toughest bout in the country?
CB-Boxing takes a lot of energy as we all know. I had to start of fighting 6 rounds which was tough without much experience. Then soon I had to fight an 8 rounder against a fighter named Tsuyoshi Kamiishi. He was a swarmer type that threw a lot of punches. I just remember being dead tired and I have to keep fighting back while fatigue and soreness were setting in. They next day I was very sore. (Note- Charlie beat Kamiishi with a unanimous decision)
AB-How do you feel the Japanese fans, and officials, have treat you in the country since you began your career there almost 10 years ago?
CB-I would say I've been treated well by both. Of course at first it's hard not knowing many people but slowly I gained respect, put on some good fights and in general been a good dude so more people started to show appreciation.
AB-What fight do feel was your best performance?
CB-Hmmm it still hasn't come yet. A little more. But I felt I had good fights vs Shibata the second time (WTKO6), vs Marumoto (WTKO6) and vs Numata (WKO9).
AB-Fans in the US will of course remember your bout with Jermell Charlo (LUD12) from 2014. Whilst you lost that bout you did leave an impression on Charlo, dropping him in round 3, would you say he was your most well schooled opponent so far?
CB-Yes he is. The thing that really stood out to me about that fight was the teamwork his team displayed to prepare their fighter.
AB-On a little bit more of a personal level, who do you consider as your best friends in the sport?
CB-A few guys I hang with that make music out here in Japan known as The Bridge.
AB-If we remember correctly there was a close friendship between yourself and Nihito Arakawa, was he one of the key figures when you two were stable mates?
CB-Nihito is a good friend of mine. He also decided to part ways with Hachioji Nakaya Boxing gym a little before I did but we are still cool. He's doing very well for himself now. (Nihito recently won the Japanese Lightweight title)
AB-Also what are the plans for this year? Will you be making another run at a Japanese or OPBF title? Or maybe thinking of a change in weight class? Finally, is there anything you'd like to say to the fans?
CB-Well I was gone for a little while because I had to deal with some personal matters. Now I am back active I'm shooting straight up step by step. Get ranked, eliminator, title match. First I have to do it on the Domestic and Region area then be ready to step up to world class. Thank you to the people who always show True support. Always, I appreciate it.
AB-Thank you for your time Charlie and good luck on July 2nd
(Image courtesy of the excellent boxmob.jp)
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