The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local Sports

October 13, 2012

Andres Taylor to fight in Venezuela

JOHNSTOWN — Johnstown boxer Andres Taylor will travel to Caracas, Venezuela for a shot at a world title later this month.

Taylor, who is 21-2-2 with eight knockouts, will fight for the WBA World cruiserweight championship against Panamanian titleholder Guillermo Jones at The El Poliedro de Caracas on Oct. 27.

“I’m putting my life on the line for this title,” said Taylor, 33, during a Saturday telephone interview from his training camp in Ambridge, Beaver County. “This is the pinnacle of your career. This is the Super Bowl of boxing. It doesn’t get any bigger.”

The 6-foot-4 Jones is 38-3-2 with 30 knockouts since 1993. He started his career as a welterweight and eventually won a world title as a cruiserweight in 2008 – 15 years into his career. The 40-year-old only has defended his title twice and this will be his first fight of 2012.

“All around he’s a great fighter,” Taylor said. “He has a difficult style. He’s 6-foot-4 but he fights great on the inside, which is unheard of for a tall man. I can fight on the inside too.

“I’m 6-foot and he’s 6-4 with an arm reach of 82 inches. He’s been champion for five years. The guy is 38-3. It’s not going to be a walk in the park.

“I’m looking at it like he has my WBA title,” added Taylor, who is ranked 15th by the WBA. “I’m going to pick it up on Oct. 27.”

Taylor fights out of Tom Yankello’s World Class Boxing Gym. Prior to his most recent bouts, Taylor typically commuted four-hours, round-trip daily to train near Pittsburgh. This time, he’s already spent a month in a training camp, working alongside former IBF champion Paul Spadafora.

“I’ve been in camp for the last four weeks just training,” Taylor said. “I’ve been sleeping, eating, drinking Guillermo Jones. I’m excited to be in camp.”

The Johnstown fighter also is preparing for the spotlight traditionally associated with a Don King Productions event.

“Before a big fight most fighters go away for camp. They just train,” Taylor said. “You’re away from your family. You sacrifice. You eat certain meals a day. You’ve got to run. You’ve got to do three-a-days. In the afternoon I have to do my strength and conditioning. In the evening I’m in the gym with my trainer Tom Yankello and doing everything you have to do in the gym to get ready for a fight.

“That’s basically my day, every day.”

Taylor most recently hada first round technical knockout of Justin Howes in August. That victory followed a tough

12th-round knockout loss to Garrett Wilson with the USBA cruiserweight and vacant NABF cruiserweight titles on the line on April 14.

So, how did Taylor end up with a date in Venezuela?

“Don King made the deal with the Panamanian and Venezuelan governments to do some fights there,” said Taylor, who won the World Boxing Foundation All Americas cruiserweight title in 2009 and twice

successfully defended the crown. “The fight between Jones and Denis Lebedev (originally set for Oct. 27 in Moscow, Russia) fell through. They called me and we made it happen.”

Jones is one of the least active champions with only three fights – two title defenses – since 2008. Boxing’s often controversial legend Don King promotes  Jones.

“People are saying, ‘How did Andres Taylor get a shot at a world title?’ I tell them it’s my promoter and my manager,” Taylor said. “I tell them my promoter is God and my manager is Jesus Christ. That’s how I’ve got this far in this game.

“I don’t have a promoter or manager. I’ve only been pro for four years. To get a world title shot in only four years is unheard of. God’s been with me. That’s how it’s going down. I’ve got this shot and I’m going to make the best of it.”

Taylor said he’s in the best shape of his career, thanks largely to his intense training camp regimen. He will depart for Venezuela several days prior to the fight.

“I feel awesome,” he said. “I sparred 11 rounds (Saturday) with four different sparring partners and I still have energy.

“This is the best I’ve ever felt. I’m living my dream and I’m at the doorstep of the biggest moment in my dream,” Taylor added. “My dream has always been to be the world champion. My dream is right there in my face. I’m touching it. The stars are in line.”

 

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