The tough love approach can make or break a fighter. In just his ninth outing as a pro, Ryosuke Iwasa took a calculated risk jumping into a Japanese title fight against the older, more experienced champion Shinsuke Yamanaka. Though he ultimately lost, Iwasa learned much from the sole reverse, giving the future WBC bantamweight kingpin all he could handle before finally succumbing in the 10th and final round. Since then, the Chiba resident, who turned 23 over the Christmas period, has bounced back to win the national title after Yamanaka vacated before going on to world honours, something Iwasa doubtlessly wants to emulate. He made two successful defences before vacating, last time out posting a shutout over former world title challenger David De la Mora. Currently, the southpaw is 13-1 with nine wins inside the distance. As well as a WBC ranking at number seven, Iwasa is also ranked number nine by The Ring magazine.
Anson Wainwright – Firstly, congratulations on your recent impressive win over Mexican David De la Mora. Could you tell us about that fight and what you thought of your own performance looking back?
Ryosuke Iwasa - Thank you. Regarding the De la Mora fight, I was going for a perfect fight where I did not get hit once and I think I was able to achieve it.
AW - Though it’s early days, what are your plans for 2013? Are you targeting anyone in particular?
RI - In the first half of 2013, I am planning to impressively win fights that will get me a shot a title. My target is any of the four major world champions. Though I do not have an opponent at this time, I am planning to fight on the 2nd of March.
AW - Who are the members of your team, your manager, trainer and promoter? Also where do you train?
RI - My promoter and trainer is Shoji Kobayashi, aka Celes Kobayashi, former world champion. My manager is Yuta Kato. I train at Celes Boxing Sports Gym.
AW - What was your youth like growing up in Chiba?
RI - Through middle school, I was a noncommittal young man. I joined the boxing club in high school and from then on, I continued boxing, day in and day out.
AW - How did you first become interested in boxing?
RI - I watched combat sports with my father on TV in middle school and practiced and liked karate. And when I got in middle school, I wanted to be strong in a fight.
AW - What was your amateur career like?
RI - I won the inter-high title in high school. My record was 60-6, 44 RSC (referee stopped contest).
AW - You fought current WBC bantamweight champion Shinsuke Yamanaka a few years ago. It was a very exciting fight. Could you talk to us about that fight and what you think of Yamanaka?
RI - I learned a lot in that fight, how to use the rounds to your advantage, which was a lesson for my career down the road.
AW - What do you think of the other current bantamweight champions like WBA “super” champion Anselmo Moreno, WBA “regular” champ Koki Kameda, the IBF’s Leo Santa Cruz and the WBO’s Pungluang Sor Singyu?
RI - Moreno is a complete fighter with great defence and hard to figure out. Kameda has a solid guard and comes out with a different strategy for each fight and to overcome the strategy will take intelligence and he seems to be inconsistent in his conditioning. I have not seen any videos of Santa Cruz or Pungluang so I cannot comment on them.
AW - Tell us about yourself and what you like to do away from boxing.
RI – Family-wise, I have my parents and younger sister. My hobby is driving.
AW - Who was your boyhood boxing hero? Who do you enjoy watching now?
RI - When I was younger, my hero was the ex-WBC flyweight champion and currently WBC number one-ranked [bantamweight] Malcolm Tunacao. Now, all the boxing champions are my heroes.
AW - What are your goals in boxing and life?
RI – Boxing-wise, I want to be a multi-world organization and multi-division champion. Personally, I want to be wealthy.
AW - In closing, do you have a message for the bantamweight division?
RI - I want to be a bantamweight champion and move out of the division as a champion.
Questions and or comments can be sent to Anson at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can follow him at www.twitter.com/AnsonWainwright. Anson is also a member of The Ring magazine’s ratings panel.
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