Boxing Insider Interview with Amir Mansour: The Most Feared Heavyweight in the World?
By: Ken Hissner
From New Jersey and trains in Philly Is Amir Mansour the Most Feared Heavyweight in the World? Mansour, 23-2-1 (16)! We keep hearing about Povetkin and Ortiz challenging the lone American champion Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder but both failing their drug tests. Now Wilder is giving the only opponent to go the distance with him whom he won the title from in Haitian Bermane Stiverne. This is a rematch but Stiverne hasn’t had a fight in “two years!” How has he kept the No. 1 status in the WBC by his promoter Don King?
Mansour is currently 23-2-1 (16) and won his first 20 fights and was in a total war with 2-time cruiserweight champion Steve “USS” Cunningham, 26-6, losing what I thought was not the best of decisions. Rematch? Never happened. He lost his USBA belt and an IBF rating. Cunningham goes onto lose to a pair of unbeaten Polish heavyweights and in his most recent match returned to the cruiser division. At least he got the chance at those Polish fighters. He got short changed against Tyson Fury in the UK. Both Mansour and Cunningham whom I know personally are both good people.
Some seven months after the Cunningham fight in late 2014 Mansour does away with Fred Kassi, 18-2, in seven rounds. Who gets to fight Chris Arreola but Kassi and to a draw? Then he loses to Dominic Breazeale, Hughie Fury and Jarrell Miller. All unbeaten and all getting in the title picture. Fury recently lost a disputed decision to WBO champ Joseph Parker.
Breazeale goes onto fight Mansour and gets beat up for five rounds but lands one “lucky punch” putting over 30 stitches into the tongue of Mansour. On this win Breazeale gets a title fight with Anthony Joshua and of course gets stopped. Mansour’s people couldn’t get a rematch then or now with Breazeale.
After the Kassi win Mansour has nothing going in the big picture so he returns to the city of Philadelphia where he trains and defeats up and down popular Philly fighter Joey “Tank” Dawejko, 14-3-2, for the PA title. Then he gets another “giant” with an unbeaten record in Gerald Washington, 18-0, and has to settle for a split decision draw.
This fight was all his but two of the officials didn’t think so. In 2017 Washington gets a title fight with Wilder and of course is stopped. Then stopped again against Jarrell Miller who is getting built up like he is the American boxer to watch but looks more like Buster Mathis!
Mansour has a year to recover from such a serious injury and does he come back with a stiff? No way. He goes into the hometown of former WBA contender Travis Kauffman, 31-1, on Kauffman’s father’s promotion and defeats Kauffman over 12 rounds for the PA title again along with the WBC USNBC title in which was his last fight in March of 2017.
“I’ve got more belts than anyone out there and still can’t get a big fight,” said Mansour. He’s won the World Boxing Foundation Intercontinental, interim WBO NABO, IBF North American, World Boxing Federation Inter-continental, USBA, PA, and USNBC belts. Seven belts and what has it got him? He is managed by Joe Hand, Sr. and promoted by Peltz Boxing’s J Russell Peltz.
Mansour only appears once in the world ratings at No. 15 of the WBO a belt held by Joseph Parker of New Zealand. Breazeale is No. 4 (No. 7 in the WBC & IBF), Povetkin No. 7 and Luis Ortiz No. 9. The latter two flunked drug tests and are still rated that high? The Jamaican out of the UK Dilian Whyte, 21-1, is No. 6. “There was talk of me getting rated and fighting Whyte. Mansour said, “Well, I’m rated so where’s the Whyte fight?” Whyte is No. 3 in the WBC and calling out Wilder with a fight for the WBC Silver title next for him. Others between No. 9 Ortiz and Mansour are “who are they?” Carlos Takam who just lost to Anthony Joshua is No. 12. Two Asian boxers Kyotaro Fujimoto who hasn’t fought out of Japan or any contender’s is No. 8 and China’s Silver Medalist in the 2018 Olympics Zhilei Zhang is No. 11 and managed by Dino Duva. You know neither of them will fight Mansour.
At age 45 Mansour has the body of a 30 year old and features of a Marvin Hagler look alike at heavyweight. He came back in 2010 after a 9 year absence. He is talked about locally of being the “most dangerous” heavyweight in the world and none of the contenders want to risk a bout with him. On paper he is 3-2-1 in his last six fights and still no fights in the past seven months?
Mansour took the time to answer some questions about his future.
KEN HISSNER: You take on two young “giants” in Breazeale and Washington and they have both gotten world title fights since then. How does this make you feel?
AMIR MANSOUR: It’s embarrassing because you know it’s not fair but what can you do about it? It’s humiliating as a boxer and as a fan.
KEN HISSNER: You have collected seven belts along the way but still never a title chance at that eighth belt for the world title. How do you figure this one out?
AMIR MANSOUR: I can’t figure it out. Maybe someone at the top doesn’t like me.
KEN HISSNER: Who should you be fighting?
AMIR MANSOUR: Top (15) contenders should fight each other, not someone not rated.
KEN HISSNER: I look at the ratings and see BJ Flores No. 11 in the WBA due to what? He was at the recent Newark, NJ, show working for the network and looks about twenty pounds overweight. Do you think he’d ever fight you? Fres Oquendo No. 3 in the WBA when has he hasn’t fought in over three years? He and former champion Shannon Briggs both your age were to fight for the vacant WBA title until Briggs got hurt. Did you get a call to replace him?
AMIR MANSOUR: No but we called and said we would replace Briggs.
KEN HISSNER: Now Joshua defeated Carlos Takam of France who had lost to both Parker and Povetkin. It seems if they lose they still get a shot doesn’t it?
AMIR MANSOUR: Yep, exactly, man.
KEN HISSNER: Now Wilder is defending for once against his No. 1 contender the man he took the WBC title from Stiverne. Only man to go the distance with Wilder but hasn’t fought in two years. Sound like more politics?
AMIR MANSOUR: How is he No. 1 and hasn’t fought for two years?
KEN HISSNER: Have you had any offers from your promoter and manager?
AMIR MANSOUR: I can’t even get a reasonable fight. I’ve had two fights offered this year. One on a five day notice for pennies and another on a three week notice for not pennies but not enough to go to another fighter’s country where you know you have to knock him out to win.
KEN HISSNER: Who works your corner?
AMIR MANSOUR: Danny Davis who also does cuts, Calvin Davis and Dave Sewell.
KEN HISSNER: Thanks for taking the time to answer the questions and thanks for always being reachable.
AMIR MANSOUR: I’m going to continue on my mission to be heavyweight champion of the world and I am not going to quit trying.