By Hans Olson
Saturday night at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, TX, Spain’s Gabriel Campillo will take on the undefeated IBF Light Heavyweight Champion Tavoris Cloud.
Recently, Boxing Insider caught up with Gabriel to discuss his the fight, his career, and how he got to where he is today…
Boxing Insider: Greetings Gabriel…thank you for taking the time to answer some questions! First off, for those who don’t know much about you, can you tell the American audience about your life growing up, and how you got involved in boxing?
Gabriel Campillo: “Hello! First off, I want to send special greeting to all my fans and friends of boxing in America. I’m 33 years old and my best boxing achievements are being a two-time national champion in Spain, one-time European Union champion, and I won the WBA World Championship in Argentina in 2009 by decision against Hugo Garay. I retained this belt months later in Kazakhstan boxing against Beibut Shumenov, and later I lost it in a controversial decision against the same fighter in Las Vegas in 2010. The specialized press said it was the ‘Robbery of the Year.’ I grew up in a working class neighborhood in Madrid and I always dreamt about succeeding in the sports world. Boxing was always one of my favorite sports, I think the favorite one. I began in amateur boxing at 17 and I made my professional debut when I was 23. At that time I was studying journalism at university, but I decided to try boxing full time. Looking back in time, I think I made the right decision.”
Boxing Insider: Can you give me your thoughts on your last fight, the controversial draw you had with Karo Murat?
Gabriel Campillo: “To be completely honest, I know that what was seen of Gabriel Campillo in the fight against Murat was not the best part of me. We had some setbacks with the training and my shape, and so with that, the concentration and my confidence were affected. But I think that—just as many fans around the world do—I did what was needed to win the fight. It was not a great victory, but I (thought I) won.”
Boxing Insider: You’re now working with Sergio Martinez. How did that connection come about?
Gabriel Campillo: “I have known Sergio for many years. We were teammates in Spain, and we’ve been friends ever since. We have always valued the work we carried together, so I was lucky I could help him with some sparring sessions. When he knew about my intention of leaving my old team and that I was looking for other quality options, he offered his help very fast. I didn’t hesitate. I think being in Team Maravilla is an opportunity every boxer dreams of.”
Boxing Insider: You were involved in a few questionable fights with Beibut Shumenov. Can you share your thoughts on those fights?
Gabriel Campillo: “I prefer not to talk about this part of my professional career. I do not want to talk more about it than what I said in the first question. I only want to say I have never stopped feeling that I’m a world champion.”
Boxing Insider: You’re now set to fight Tavoris Cloud. How will you go about preparation, and what can fans expect from you in that fight?
Gabriel Campillo: “I consider this fight my big opportunity that I have been looking for to reach the top fighters at 175 pounds. My training—and also my diet—could not be better, and this is why me and my team think that we will get to the fight with my best shape ever. Moreover, I am looking forward to conquering the world as much as I wanted when I was 20, and I also want to revenge some of the injustices that I have come across in my professional career. For me, there is no doubt February 18 will be a great day for me.”
Boxing Insider’s Hans Olson can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @hansolson