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Ivan Morales: “I want our family name to be immortal”

Ivan Morales

Interview By Anson Wainwright

In the late-1990s/early-2000s, Erik Morales was one of the best fighters on the planet, winning several world titles and his lesser-known brother, Diego briefly held the WBO super flyweight crown in 1999.

Looking to add his name to the family dynasty is 22-year-old Ivan, who, like Diego, campaigns at 115.

So far the youngest of the fighting Morales clan has bested all 22 of his opponents, stopping 13 of them. While it’s still early days, he’s currently ranked at 10 by the WBC.

Hailing from Tijuana, “Nino Maravilla” knows the many pitfalls of the border town, saying, “Many friends who I played soccer with when I was small in the Zona Norte today are in jail, dead or selling drugs...few of us have a healthy life.”

Tomorrow night, the young southpaw will meet fellow Mexican Cesar Javier Gandara in Mexico City, whilst defending his WBC International Silver super flyweight title live on Televisa and Fox Deportes.

Anson Wainwright - You fight this Saturday against Cesar Javier Gandara. What are your thoughts on the fight?

Ivan Morales - I believe it will be a good fight. I will put to test everything I have learned and I am sure that I will be the winner.

AW - In your last fight back in July, you went the 10-round distance for the first time, defeating Alejandro Morales. Looking back, what can you say about that fight?

IM - It was my second time fighting 10 rounds. I think he should have been stopped but I did good things. Now I have more experience and am better physically. If I get to fight 12-rounders, I will do it at a good pace.

AW - You come from a fight family. Two of your older brothers were world champions. Erik is a boxing legend and Diego also was a champion of the world. Tell us about this.

IM - My brothers are proud and a great example for me that they have been great athletes. I try to do all the good things they did within the sport. I want the name of our family to be immortal.

AW - Having seen what both achieved from such a young age, how did this inspire you?

IM - When you are small, you look to someone older as a hero, as the example to follow. They are my example to follow. I want to be a great athlete.

AW - You have a tattoo over an eye. Can you tell us about that and what it symbolizes?

IM - It’s a personal meaning. I think that the tattoo was a mistake that has taught me a lot.

AW - What it was like for you to grow up in Tijuana? Were things difficult?

IM - For me, it was great to grow up in Tijuana. At home, I always had a good example with my brothers. My mother always taught me good things, so I knew what was right for me. Though not everyone is equal, many friends who I played soccer with when I was small in the Zona Norte today are in jail, dead or selling drugs...few of us have a healthy life.

AW - What do you think of the current champions of the world in his weight class? The WBC’s Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, the WBA’s Liborio Solis, the IBF’s Daiki Kameda and the WBO’s Omar Narvaez?

IM - I think they are good champions but I don’t believe they will all last long as the competition in this division is strong.

AW – How long before you think you’re fighting for a world title?

IM - In one or two years. I have learned slowly but steadily, perseverance is the greatest quality of a true champion...and that’s what I want to be, a true champion and make history.

AW - What are your goals in boxing?

IM - Be absolute world champion in four or five divisions, retire unbeaten and be a good example for young people and a good example as an athlete and as a human being.

AW - Finally, do you have a message for the super flyweight division?

IM – None. Every boxer knows his work and mine is to give excellent results in the ring.
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