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STEVE CLAGGETT, A PROMISING BOXER OUT OF CANADA


PhilBoxing.com




The moment I saw Steve Claggett, the current WBC Youth Intercontinental light welterweight champion, the first thing that came into my mind was Ray ?Boom-Boom? Mancini. Here is a good looking white kid with eyes full of determination as he worked on the hefty punching bag at the Mayweather gym as if there is no tomorrow.

It was only the sound of the alarm that reminded him that he should stop and took a break until the alarm sound again for the next round of training. He was sweating good not mindful of the other boxers training around him nor the presence of Roger Mayweather and other trainers would deter him.

It was time for shadow boxing up the ring and Trainer Tony Martin showed him the ropes. Offense, defense, body and lateral movements, footwork and all those stuff associated with boxing fights. Still the determination was there. There was a sense of discipline and respect for authority that he followed Martin?s cue to the book. Then, shadow boxing was followed by stretching and calisthenics before I was able to sit down with him for an interview.

Though, he might not need it, I requested him to catch his breath for a moment while I interviewed his manager/trainer, Eric de Guzman, a Filipino-Canadian who guided his professional career from day one as he accumulated a 12-1-1 professional record with 7 knock-out wins. His biggest accomplishment so far was winning the vacant WBC Youth Intercontinental Light Welterweight title on January 14, 2011 via a 3rd round TKO of Mexican Jose Mendoza.

Unfortunately, the only loss that tainted his undefeated record was at the hand of Filipino Romeo Jakosalem at the Waterfront Hotel & Casino in Cebu City, Philippines on March 19, 2011, just over two months after winning his title. That was his only fight outside of Alberta, Canada where he dropped Jakosalem twice in the 3rd round but was himself knocked down in the last minute of the 8th and final round and loss.

De Guzman attributed that loss to Claggett?s not having enough time to acclimatize himself in the Philippine weather and food. Not to mention his legs were fidgety. ?However, knowing that Jakosalem is now the OPBF light welterweight champion and world rated, I think that was a good incentive for Claggett to work harder. Basically, he beat Jakosalem, I thought, up until that 8th round,? De Guzman added. ?It would be nice to go back to the Philippines for a rematch.?

?It was a very good and tough fight and a learning experience for me. Next time I will be prepared. I made mistakes that time. It?s not good to lose and I don?t want to lose again. I don?t want to disappoint people and the harder I work, the further I go. Keep going, going and the title will not be that far. I like boxing because it?s hard work. You work really really hard for something. You train every day. You think about it every day. And every day, I think about the fight. I focus. I know if I work hard and I put my work into it, it will make it much better if I win the fight. This year, 2012, I want to fight 5 or 6 times. I am a full time boxer and a part time student. Boxing is my main focus and I believe I have all the attributes to be a champion someday,? Claggett commented on his loss and his future.

?Tony is a very stern guy and if you don?t listen he will yell at you. That is something I want Steve to deal with. Steve, the harder the fight goes the harder he will go. In 3-years time, if we can get 5 or 6 fights a year from today it would be realistic to say that he can be fighting for a title,? De Guzman said. This was echoed by Claggett by saying that ?I see myself winning a world title.?

When asked about his fight to Mendoza when he captured his WBC title, ?I felt that it was a good fight. I was down here in Las Vegas a month before training. I did some sparring here at Mayweather gym. I was really prepared. I was strong . Mendoza was 7-0 and he had some fights that nobody knew about. I have a lot of sparring and did hard work and I know before the fight that I was gonna beat him.

?This is my 3rd time training with Tony Martin and every time I got better. Tony is very experience. I listen to him and I know if I do what he says I will be better and better,? Claggett said.

Claggett is training at Mayweather gym as he prepares for his 15th fight on January 13, 2012 in Alberta, Canada against Mexican Antonio dos Santos.

If Claggett is true to his words, to his hard work, discipline and ambition, he will be one true full-bloodied Canadian his people north of America will be cheering about and be proud of.
One fight a time, Steve, and you will not be that far.

Photo: Canada's Steve Claggett (R) does the mitts with British trainer Tony Martin at the Mayweather Gym in Las Vegas. Photo by Rod Mijares.



Click here to view a list of other articles written by Rod Mijares.


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