DE: The last time we saw you in action was at Prizefighter International Heavyweights III. While it surprisingly didn’t get much attention afterwards, you beat Timo Hoffman emphatically, despite the fact he has been a long-time campaigner at both World and European level throughout his career. Despite his experience, towering stature and renowned durability, he was completely undone in the first round by someone with only 8 pro fights to his name. How did you rate your performance in that fight and did it surprise even you when his legs suddenly gave way from under him?
IL: When I got in there with Hoffman, I’d say it was noticeable from the outset that I was the quicker fighter and to be honest, he only hit me once and that was with a jab. In terms of ability, I believe I am a fighter who belongs at world level and I think that putting away such an experienced fighter of his calibre in the manner that I did proves that. I was not surprised when he went down, even if it was the 1st round. If you ask anyone who has ever fought me, whether I’m fit or not, they will tell you that I’m the hardest puncher they’ve been in with.
DE: Next up was Derric Rossy, a guy who was widely regarded as a gatekeeper to world level as recently as a few years ago. While it did seem as though you ran out of gas, most felt that you still won that fight. Did you feel that you had definitely won at the end? Also, do you feel that you had softened him up to the point that he didn’t have much left to offer going into the final?
IL: I feel I definitely won that fight against Rossy. I actually did not run out of steam. My corner at the end of the 2nd round told me that I was winning the fight and to save myself for the final in round 3. Instead, I was robbed of the victory and Audley was given a broken man to fight. Rossy could barely even stand for 9 minutes after his fight with me, let alone put up a fight against Audley.
DE: The winner of that Prizefighter tournament, Audley Harrison, has of course unretired recently. What are your thoughts on his return to the British heavyweight scene and do you relish the possibility of being able to fight him?
IL: I think he would never fight me, and I reckon the board need to summon him for an in-depth brain scan if he still thinks he can fight.
DE: Next up is Colin Kenna on July 13th, and with it a chance to avenge a loss from earlier in your career. Are you looking forward to proving a point against Kenna? Is that a factor, or is it just another fight in your eyes in order to keep busy? What will be different this time and what type of fight are you expecting?
IL: I do want to prove a point against Kenna because I never trained for our first meeting. I had a broken wrist that was still in a plaster 6 days before the fight. When you’re unbeaten, you tend to think no matter what shape you’re in that you will find a way to come through a fight like that with your 0 intact even if you haven’t trained – I learned my lesson. I still pushed him to the brink and he only won it by 1 point, so if that’s what happens when I’m unfit, what will I do to him when I am fit? You can expect me to go looking for him from the opening bell.
DE: How’s training going?
IL: Training is going well and I am where I would like to be at this point before a fight. I’m currently on course to be at peak fitness on the night.
DE: How are things coming together under the tutelage of Don Charles?
IL: Dons helps to show everyone what’s always been there, but I have never been in-shape enough to showcase it for more that 2 rounds, that’s the problem.