In a distinguished career where he was a prominent feature on the British heavyweight domestic scene before becoming a force to be reckoned with at European level, Reading’s Michael Sprott certainly has no intention of winding down just yet.
He still feels as though he has some unfinished business in the form of wanting to win the EBU title and challenge for a World title, an avenue which could well open up for him courtesy of his “upset” win over highly touted prospect Edmund Gerber.
A meeting with Robert Helenius for the EBU title has not yet been announced, but is expected to be made official at some point in the near future. If that fight is finally scheduled and he were to prevail, what a fantastic chapter it would be for the Michael Sprott story.
Michael is fairly active on Twitter, where he enjoys interacting with fans, follow him here; @skill4real23
Michael, how did you get into boxing?
I got into boxing when I was about 8 years old. Watching boxing with my dad, I was jumping around the living room punching away (shadow boxing). My dad wanted me to take part in boxing , but I was so young my mother would not have any of it! I had to wait until I was 13 to get the all clear. I joined the Bulmshere Amateur Boxing club run by George Costan, who trained me, as did Ricky Maslin of course.
What was it like to work with Terry Lawless?
Working with Terry Lawless was amazing. He was such a gentlemen and cared about his fighters, which is something you can’t say about a lot of boxing managers. He genuinely wanted you to learn the boxing game and would bring in opponents you can learn from before stepping you up to the next level each time.
In a way, do you miss the days when you were part of that domestic scene when yourself, Danny Williams, Audley Harrison, Julius Francis, and Matt Skelton were the best heavyweights in the country?
Oh yes, it was great back. We had great fights, a lot of roundabouts as in we fought each other 2-3 times, but I do miss them days. We just fought and got on with things.
What are your thoughts on the current crop of British heavyweights?
Haye, Price and Fury all have a chance off winning a world title, but with theses two great brothers it’s going to be hard. As for the domestic heavyweights scene, it’s interesting with a lot of up and coming guys climbing the ranks.
Do you see yourself possibly crossing paths with either Tyson Fury or David Price at some point in the future? Do you rate them?
Who knows? Only time will tell. I rate both of them as they’re setting targets and improving each time they fight.
How did it feel to prove a point in your rematch against Edmund Gerber?
It felt good. Justice was called for as I was definitely winning the first fight. I was over the moon with the points win, especially as I had I only had 3 weeks to prepare myself.
Considering the fact that Gerber was very much the “home fighter”, were you surprised that the judges gave you the decision?
To be honest, I knew I did enough to win it, but getting the verdict over in Germany was another story. I was surprised I got it as I’ve been done over quite a few times out there.
About 8 years ago you started boxing mainly in Germany. What was the reason for wanting to base yourself there?
It all started when I was training in Germany a lot and then I fought Timo Hoffman. I was not getting enough fights over here whereas I was getting plenty of offers in Germany and it’s just been like that ever since.
You’ve sparred many more rounds with the Klitschkos than most. How invaluable an experience has it been?
Yeah, I have sparred with the Klits many times. I have learned a lot by seeing them, as well as seeing what it takes to be a world champion and to stay on top. It’s similar to when I had the pleasure of being in camp with Lennox Lewis, I never sparred Lennox, but just watching the focus and concentration was great.
With Vitali on the verge of retirement and Wladimir being in the twilight stages of his career, how do you see the division shaping up when both Klitschko brothers have moved on?
Well, what you will see is a lot of belts swapping hands once they retire from the game. I just can’t see a heavyweight right now holding on to everything. The Klitschkos have been amazing.
Having been a victim of a few robberies, have you ever felt disillusioned to the point of it making you question your future in the sport?
Yes, it has made me question things. Bad decisions are what brings the sport down. It’s already a struggle, so they need to stop. A lot of people just get fed up and angry.
How many your losses have come at short notice? With hindsight, are you adamant that the outcomes would have been different if you had decent preparation time?
If I had the right amount of time too get ready for the fights I took at short notice, the fights would have been very different! As for the end results though, if they went to points I would have still get robbed. You all know the score!
You’ve often said that you prefer to fight taller opponents! Whys that?
That’s right, I always do well with taller opponents. It’s easier punching up than down and when you have a tall, big unit in front of you, there’s a lot of body to hit. Everyone’s different, but it suits me.
With talk of you possibly getting to meet a very accomplished up-and-comer in Robert Helenius in your next fight, are you relishing the opportunity to test this prospect and prove that you still have plenty left in the tank?
Look, I am like wine, getting better and stronger with age. I have been there, done that, I am a very experienced fighter. There’s nothing he can bring or show me that’s different. My experience will shine through, I have plenty in the tank to be able to win .
How much would it mean to have another shot at the EBU title?
To win the EBU will mean a lot to me as it will make me eligible for a World title shot. It would mean everything to me as I have not had an easy career; I have had a hard, bumpy rollercoaster of a career.
Having won various titles and after campaigning at championship level for so long, what remaining goals and ambitions do you have?
The EBU & World titles. What a Rocky story that would be!
If you had to pick 3 highlights which define your career, which would they be?
That’s a tricky one since there are fights out there that I won but I didn’t get the nod! I’ll just say winning the British & Commonwealth titles, my first fight with Timo Hoffmann and winning the European Union title. Could pick more but you said 3!
When you eventually hang up the gloves, do you see yourself still being involved with the sport in some capacity, and if so, what role(s)?
Yes, for sure. I will be a 1-to-1 fitness trainer, and I will also train kids, teens and boxers.
If you could have shared the ring with anyone from any era, who would it have been and why?
Ummm, there are plenty I wish I could have shared the ring, but if I had to pick one it would be Iron Mike Tyson. Not that I would have beaten him, because in his day he beats everyone in my eyes. I am sure as many agree as those who disagree, but in my eyes he was the best.
Any boxing-related regrets?
Taking fights at short notice is one of them . There many more, but what’s the point going in to it as what’s done is done. We can’t turn back the clocks, the key is to move forward and learn from your past.
Message to fans and/or critics?
Message to my fans, you’re great and I love ya loads. Thanks for all your great support throughout my long career. There’s plenty more to come yet! For my critics, keep up with your criticising as I never read or hear any of it. Don’t have time for the negative!
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