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Two title belts will be at stake April 14 in Sydney, Australia, in a collision of world-ranked lightweights at the 4,500-seat Quaycentre in Olympic Park. NABA lightweight champion and former world title challenger Tony ‘Lightning’ Luis of Cornwall, Ontario will face another undefeated fighter in Australia’s George Kambosos Jr., ranked No. 6 by the World Boxing Association. The title fight will top a multi-bout card promoted by Australia-based Whack Promotions, in association with Liveco Boxing of Toronto and will likely put the winner in line for a world title eliminator or possible world title shot.
FightFan.com caught up with Tony Luis this week as he is hard at work in Ontario preparing to move camp down under come the beginning of April.
FF: Tony thanks for taking the time, how is training camp life at the moment?
TL: Things are going very well. I was doing some strength and conditioning this morning and then got in some roadwork. I actually attended my old elementary school this afternoon and spoke to a class of fourth and fifth graders and gave a bit of a motivational speech about my history. I took some photos and signed some autographs and was really pleased to get some hand made drawings from the children. They were an energetic bunch and happy to have me there. It was a great experience.
FF: That is great to hear. I didn’t have it on my list of questions but now that you mention it how does giving back to the community like that factor in for you as a fighter? Is that a great motivation for you to be able to give back like that?
TL: Absolutely. Things like the visit today are some of my favourite things that come with being a pro athlete and fighter. You know over the years I’ve gotten invited to a few wine and cheese (white collar) type functions and I’m not always big fan of those but meeting young kids is just a really authentic experience.
FF: If I’m not mistaken don’t you work with kids outside of the ring as well?
TL: Yes I work at a youth treatment centre in Akwesasne which is on Cornwall Island bordering on my hometown. I’ve been there six years now as a youth addictions counselor. It’s a challenge to balance alongside the schedule of training as a full time fighter but the job itself I very much enjoy what I do. It’s not always sunshine and rainbows as you’re dealing with kids who have been through some things but once you break down some of those barriers and connect with them you can really make a difference and it’s very rewarding.
FF: That’s great to hear… I talk to so many fighters from different walks of life and really apprecaite hearing about you giving back and having the reward from that motivate you as a fighter. So let me switch gears here a bit and ask you about the big fight coming up. April 14 you’ll be taking on undefeated Aussie George Kambosos Jr. in his hometown of Sydney, New South Wales. Tell us how that came about and your thoughts on the fight…
TL: We got a call just over a month ago from the Australian promoters asking if we’d take the fight. My promoter Liveco (Liveco Boxing Inc.) relayed it to us and it took a couple weeks to negotiate with some things to iron out. One of the things my Father and Promoter were strict on was making sure we get there fourteen days in advance. We enforced that and they agreed. They also agreed to allow us to bring a sparring partner along with my cornermen and handlers as part of Team Luis. That was arranged as well. We also pushed for a twelve round fight as opposed to a ten rounder and we got that. In a lot of ways the battle has already started. I feel like we’ve already won some of the mental parts of the battle already negotiating certain things in our favour. Now it’s just all about putting my heart and soul into training these next few weeks and getting ready to put on the fight of my life April 14th.
FF: Kambosos is 13-0 as a pro, what do you know about him as a fighter?
TL: I’ve found plenty of footage on him including his last fight and from what I’ve seen he’s very quick, athletic and talented. He’s highly confident and believes in himself very much. He wants to step up and feels there’s no one on the current landscape of contenders that can beat him and he’s looking to prove that in front of his hometown fans. I look at that and see he says he wants to step up but then he doesn’t want to leave the comfort of home either. He’s getting it both ways but at the end of the day I’m used to being on the road and relish in it and the underdog role. I’m going give him a reality check on April 14th.
FF: You’ve fought on the road many times in your career from all over the US to the UK. What do you think difference is now as a more mature fighter and a grown man with several experiences on the road under your belt vs. travelling as a younger green fighter? What’s it like now having that experience behind you as you approach another fight on the road?
TL: Maybe not getting caught up in all the all the hoopla. All the things that surround a big fight or event. Having tunnel vision and focusing on the task at hand. At the end of the day no matter what cameras or on or who’s watching at ringside it’s just another fight. You’re there for one reason and one reason only… to fight your fight. It’s about putting all your energy into that so you can be the best that you can be and take care of business.
FF: Just like you’re no stranger to travelling… this is another fight for you against an unbeaten fighter. You’ve defeated several undefeated fighters before. What is it like knowing the guy you’re going in there with has never lost before?
TL: Let’s take another “0”. Absolutely. Let’s take another “0” and add it to the list. That motivates me for sure.
FF: I think it’s safe to say you’re the best fighter in your weight class in Canada and one of the best in the country overall… is it fair to say your focus has now shifted to looking at the global stage and a potential world title shot?
TL: Absolutely, at the very least an eliminator. He’s ranked fifth or sixth with the WBA and if I win I can take that spot. I’m hearing some rumours the winner of this fight could crack the top three. The funny thing is, from what I hear, Kambosos has already scheduled another fight in July with a top contender. He put that out on his social media. Of course in the same breath he said he’s not over-looking me but really subconsciously you already are when you’re doing that. To me he’s showing his lack of experience just saying that out loud. Again, these little battles before the fight matter and he’s showing me some chinks in his armour every time he opens his mouth. If you’ve already set your sights on someone else while you’ve got me right in front of you… you’ve made a big mistake.
FF: I always enjoy chatting with fighters that I’ve followed since they were younger and many of your answers here show how you’ve matured and gained a lot of savvy experience. How do you think your outlook on the sport is different – and how are you different – now that you’re a little bit older, are a new father and a grown man in the prime of his career?
TL: I feel different. It’s just about finding the right words because I definitely feel different. I’d say it’s all about trying to keep your eye on the prize. I’ve had to learn the hard way over the years that this sport is a business before it’s a sport. I have to look at it that way anytime these fight offers come up. I know what I am and I know what I’ve got as a fighter and I’m not afraid of testing my skills against anyone but certain things need to be done right to make fights happen. Things need to be done professionally before you sign on the dotted line. Especially now with my family and my little guy’s security on the line. All of those things matter now more so than ever.
FF: Anything else you’d like to say in closing to the Canadian fans and boxing fans downunder as far as what they can expect on April 14th?
TL: I’m grateful to all the fans who follow me and who will want to tune in and watch. I know it’s going to be crazy with the time difference… I think they’ll already be into the next day for those here in local time in Canada… it might be tricky to time seeing it live but I know there will be some wanting to tune in and for that I’m grateful. Fans can expect the same thing they always get with me. I’m going to bring it every time. 100% speed, drama and excitement. I’m coming with everything I’ve got and a smart, strategic gameplan. The fans in Australia can rest assured they’re going to get their money’s worth… and I’m going to make them new fans on April 14th!
FF: Thank you Tony, best of luck and health leading up to the fight.
TL: Thank you Ace, always a pleasure.
For more information on Tony ‘Lightning’ Luis, follow him on his Facebook Page
For more information on the live event as it becomes available, click on the image below:
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