Recently we were in touch with our good friend Mikko Marttinen, who is the international manager for Indonesian teenager Iwan Zoda (8-1, 7). Through Mikko we managed to ask Iwan some questions ahead of his April 2nd fight against unbeaten Hungarian Szilveszter Kanalas (8-0, 6).
Asian Boxing-Hi Iwan, can we ask what first got you into boxing? Was it your trainer or were you a fan of the sport before hand?
Iwan Zoda-"I was nine years old and I joined my friends at Damianus Yordan's gym. First it was just for fun but little by little I started to enjoy it more and more. My parents and grandmother (who he was living with at the time) were against me boxing. They said nothing good would come out of it. I had my first amateur fight at 13 and won. I didn't know anything about boxing before going to the gym."
AB-Could we if he has any amateur experience or whether it has been a "learn on the job" type of thing so far?
Mikko Marttinen-He had about 40 amateur fights and lost 4 times. When he was 17 he knocked out Julio Bria in a national tournament. Bria has twice represented Indonesia in world amateur championships. When Iwan was not selected for the national team despite knocking out the number one amateur in the country he decided to turn pro.
AB-Could you tell us something about Iwan's team?
MM-His trainer is Damianus Yordan, the older brother and former trainer of Daud Yordan. My role is advisor and international agent. The Indonesian airforce supports him but he's not employed by them and he is not under contract with any promoter.
AB-What do you feel are your best assets are in the ring, and what flaws would you like to build on?
IZ-"I can fight as both orthodox and southpaw. I still need to develop my physique."
AB-As we all know your big break out win to many was the rematch over Petchchorhae. Could we ask how it felt losing to Petchchorhae the first time around? What you learned from the loss? And how you felt when you avenged the loss?
IZ-"I was still inexperienced in the first match, having only one six-round points victory in the pros before the fight. I learned that I needed more weight in my punches. For the second fight my trainer convinced me I can beat him. After beating him I felt extremly happy. It was the proudest moment of my life."
AB-What his current aim is in boxing, is it money, glory, legacy, a combination of those things or something totally different?
IZ-"My goal is to achieve something where people can not look down on me anymore."
AB-Do you feel a lot of pressure on yourself now before fights given the fact that some view you as the next star of Indonesian boxing?
IZ-"I hope they are right. I don't feel any pressure at all, in the contrary, it gives me strength and confidence."
AB-With boxing in Indonesia being quite small at the moment, does you feel you have any domestic rivals?
IZ-"So far nobody has been able to match me."
AB-What does he know about his upcoming opponent?
MM-He has seen highlights of Kanalas's last fight. He believes it will be a challenge but one that he can manage.
AB-Any predictions for your up coming bout?
IZ-"I will win inside ten rounds."
AB-Are you shocked that international fans are paying attention to you?
IZ-"I was not aware that people know me outside of Indonesia. I only concentrate on my training."
AB-Any messages for fans who are following you?
IZ-"Thank you for following me. I would love to get to know my fans from abroad."
We'd like to say a huge thanks to both Iwan and Mikko and we, of course, with Iwan the best of luck in his upcoming bout. For those who haven't seen Iwan before we have featured the video of his brilliant win over Petchchorhae Kokietgym from last year, a win that helped Iwan earn some well deserved international attention.
For those wanting to follow Iwan's career, we suggest following his team on twitter @iwanzoda.
Not sure this needs to be explained! But here are out interviews with fighters!