With that in mind, Maduma, who advanced to 16-0 with 10 stoppages, confidently predicts a big year for himself.
“According to my plan, this year is the time for me to become world champion.”
His promoter, Camille Estephan, who also works with top heavyweight contender Bermane Stiverne among others, has similar aspirations for his fighter this year. “Ghislain has always been a very special talent. He was a father by 18 and has three children. He went to school, worked and just competed in tournaments. He didn’t have time to train. I thought that any boxer that talented without training could do wonders with the right support and he has. He wants to win the world title this year, which has been our plan from the beginning. He blew through the gatekeepers and look where he is today. We believe that he will be a major headliner, the best lightweight in the world.”
Here’s what the Congo-born fighter, who’s lived in Canada since he was 12, had to say.
Anson Wainwright - You recently beat John Carlo Aparicio. What are your thoughts on that fight and your performance?
Ghislain Maduma - I am really happy with my performance. I knew Aparicio was a tough, experienced fighter. I wanted to break him down and stop him later in the fight but things went better than expected and once I felt I hurt him in the third round, I just finished the job. It’s was very important for me to start the year with a big performance and now I am focusing on my next bout for a world title eliminator. I am planning to be world champion by the end of 2014.”
AW - What are your intentions for the coming year?
GM - When I started my pro career, my plan was to be where I am right now, ranked among the best in my weight division [number three by the WBC and six by the IBF]. According to my plan, this year is the time for me to become world champion. I really think that I have everything in place for me to accomplish that goal.
AW – Last September, you outpointed Fermin De los Santos to win the NABF 135-pound title. What would you say about that fight?
GM - It was a very good learning experience against the WBC’s [then-] ninth-ranked boxer, a really aggressive puncher who had not lost in over five years and was on a 15-fight win streak. [Editor’s Note: a draw against Edgar Riovalle is among De los Santos’ streak.] He was also higher ranked than me at the time we fought. I showed him that I was a better fighter and that I also have the tools to dominate at this level. It gave me my first 12-round experience.
AW - If we go back, you’re from Congo. What was your youth like growing up there?
GM - I was 12 when I moved from Congo to Canada, so I was very young. I don’t remember much from when I was kid. I went back there in 2007 and it’s truly a beautiful country with a great boxing history, mostly known for the [Muhammad] Ali-[George] Foreman fight in the ‘70s. Canada is very different from Congo in almost every way; the culture, climate, etc. One thing similar is the language where both speak French.
AW - How did you become interested and then take up boxing?
GM - My uncle introduced me to boxing when I came here to Canada. We used to watch boxing fights together. He had this huge collection of video tapes of fights and documentaries, so I was spending most of my free time watching boxing videos from 12 to 15 years old. Then one day, we were watching Roy Jones fighting Richard Hall in 2000 and I told my uncle it seemed easy. I thought I could do what Roy Jones was doing, so he told me to try and that’s where it all started.
AW - You had around 80 amateur fights. What could you tell us about your amateur career? Did you fight at any big tournaments and what titles did you win?
GM - I fought mostly in Canada and Quebec. I was five-time Quebec champion and once the Canadian junior champion. I was on the Canadian Senior Team B. I participated in the 2005 Francophone Games, the 2007 World Championships in Chicago and the 2008 Olympic Qualifiers in Namibia, Africa.
AW - What for you was the most difficult thing about relocating to Canada? Do you visit Congo often?
GM - At first, the most difficult thing was the weather. It’s so cold here sometimes! I also miss members of my family that still live back there. Even though I came here as a kid, I still have some good memories with them. And I miss the weather! (laughs)
AW - While you’re still awhile away, what are your thoughts on the lightweight division and the current champions?
GM - I think the lightweight division is going to be one of the most exciting in the coming years even if right now, there are no big names. I think the weight division has some very good fighters in development and sooner or later, it will get the exposure it deserves.
AW - What fighter growing up did you look up to? Who do you admire and enjoy watching fight today?
GM - I started looking up to Muhammad Ali, Roy Jones and Shane Mosley. The one who really inspires me as an athlete is Floyd Mayweather Jr., mostly because of his work ethics and his smart approach to the sport.
AW - Away from boxing, what are your hobbies and interests?
GM - In general, I am interested in many things in sports. I also enjoy developing my knowledge. I am interested in politics. In fact, I would like to become a politician one day.
AW – Finally, do you have a message for the lightweight division?
GM - By the end of the year, everyone will know who I am, all divisions included.
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