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Muhammad Rachman: a Hard Character

By Anson Wainwright


 

When Muhammad "The Rock Breaker" Rachman, 64-10-5 (33), received an unlikely title shot in April on away territory against unbeaten Kwanthai Sithmorseng, hardly anyone gave the former champion a chance. He’d lost five of seven going in and was 39 years old (which is considered ancient for a strawweight). However, nobody told Rachman, who dually turned up and despite trailing badly on points, managed to pull off his George Foreman moment and stop the younger champion to win the WBA strawweight title. It made him a two-time strawweight champion (having previously held the IBF crown from 2004-07), making three successful defences. Rachman’s not standing on ceremony this time and will be making a quick return on July 30th when he meets another Thai fighter, former four-time world title challenger Pornsawan Porpramook. We know both men are very persistent but one of them, Rachman himself, had plenty to say ahead of the fight.

Anson Wainwright: Firstly, congratulations on your recent title victory over Kwanthai Sithmorseng. What can you tell us about the fight and the finish as you were behind on all the scorecards at the time of the stoppage? 


Muhammad Rachman: Many thanks to you; I always feel confident and optimistic to win because it was a 12-round bout, so I still had three rounds to win at that time. So before the fight ended, there’s no “loss” in my dictionary.
 
AW: Not many people thought you could beat Kwanthai Sithmorseng. You had lost five out of your previous seven fights. How did you manage to pull off that brilliant win?
 
MR: I had enough preparation and being optimistic to win because it was the last chance for me.
 
AW: You’re going to fight Pornsawan Porpramook on July 30 in Indonesia. What are your thoughts on that fight and your opponent?
 
MR: For sure, my preparation must be better than the previous one and this is my best chance to prove my existence in front of my own fans. I have never underestimated any opponent.
 
AW: You’re 39 now. That’s considered old for any fighter but for a strawweight, it’s thought of as especially old. How have you been able to fight at such a high level for so long? How much longer do you feel you can compete at the highest level? What would you like to do when you retire from boxing?  
 
MR: For me, age is merely numbers, so it’ll never be a hitch to achieve something. Therefore, I always apply healthy life by doing regular exercise, enough rest and discipline in all of my activities.  
 
AW: Could you tell us about your team? Who is your manager, trainer and promoter? Also, what gym do you train at?  
 
MR: My manager is Erick Purna Irawan. I train myself and my promoter is anybody. I train at the Red and White Gym.
 
AW: Could you tell us about a typical week’s training? What do you do? What do you eat? How easily do you make 105?
 
MR: In the morning, it’s eight kilometers of jogging. In the afternoon, it’s technical exercise. Eat more vegetables, fish, meat and milk. For me, it’s very easy to reach 105 pounds because I’m used to it.
 
AW: You were born in Merauke City; could you tell us about your early years growing up? Did you have the tough upbringing many boxers have? How did you first become interested in boxing and then take it up?
 
MR: My parents were not athletes; my father was a civil servant but because I was born and raised in Papua (Merauke City), which people have a hard character, so I also have a hard character. I fell in love with boxing because I felt it’s suitable with my character.
 
AW: You have fought so many fighters throughout your career. Who do you consider the best fighter you have ever fought and why?
 
MR: I consider Daniel Reyes is the best. He has a perfect boxing technique. It’s proven that he was a silver medalist in the Olympics.
 
AW: What are your thoughts on the other strawweight champions, WBC titlist Kazuto Ioka, IBF titlist Nkosinathi Joyi and WBO titlist Raul Garcia?
 
MR: They are the best in each of the sanctioning bodies.
 
AW: Chris John would probably be considered the number one boxer in Indonesia. Could you tell us how popular you are in your country? Are you recognised regularly? Do you appear in commercials, etc.?
 
MR: I was contracted for a commercial for one year. I feel I’m sufficiently recognised by the public.
 
AW: You’re a two-time world champion now; what future goals do you have in boxing?
 
MR: Boxing for me is now a hobby because I have another business for my future.
 
AW: Finally, do you have a message for your fans?
 
MR: Please convey my thanks to all of my fans who have given me support and motivation until today. I’m still existing and can defend the WBA world title.


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