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Teon Kennedy: “I'm ready to fight any of the champions at 122 pounds”

Teon Kennedy
Teon Kennedy

By Anson Wainwright

Philadelphia’s Teon "The Technician" Kennedy, 17-0-1 (7), returns to action tonight, when he meets Alejandro Lopez at Bally’s in Atlantic City, NJ. It’s the first time Kennedy, 25, has fought since his signature win over then unbeaten Jorge Diaz as part of the Yuriorkis Gamboa-Jorge Solis card back in March. It was a performance that opened eyes, so much so that now the junior featherweight is headlining his own card. Diaz is still moving between prospect and contender but is already ranked number three by the IBF while the WBA and WBO both have him ranked at number 14.

Anson Wainwright - You’re fighting Alejandro Lopez on August 13 in Atlantic City, NJ. What are you looking for from your performance ahead of the fight?

Teon Kennedy - Like I always do; box him a little bit. If I need to, slug it out with him. Box mostly and keep my jab on him.

AW - Last time you fought, you beat Jorge Diaz. Looking back on that fight, what are your memories of it? How happy were you with that performance?
TK - It went as planned. Everything that we trained for, we did. After the fight, I was very happy. It was on HBO and I showed my talent.
AW - How do you find making super bantamweight?
TK - I make [weight] easily. I don’t struggle, so I should be here for a minute before I move up in weight.
AW - Can you tell us about some of the people who are part of your team, like your manager, trainer and promoter? Also, what gym do you train at regularly?
TK - My trainer is Wade Hinnant and his brother Randy. My promoter is Russell Peltz and my manager is Doc Nowicki. I train at Joe Hand’s Boxing Gym.
AW - What was your amateur career like? What titles and tournaments did you win? Also what was your final record?
TK - I won 2004 Golden Gloves Nationals, also in 2004, I won Under-19 Nationals. I won the PAL Nationals. Also been overseas a couple of times. I won the JO’s (Junior Olympics) in Mexico. I’ve been in a couple of Russian duals. I’ve been to Korea for the Under-19s. I had a least 160 amateur fights.
AW - What are your thoughts on the super bantamweight division? What about the champions Toshiaki Nishioka of the WBC, Rico Ramos of the WBA, Takalani Ndlovu of the IBF and Jorge Arce of the WBO? Where do you see yourself in the division?
TK - I think I can dominate in my weight class. I’ll fight anybody. The only person I’ve seen is Rico Ramos; the others I haven’t really seen. To tell the truth, I think nothing of nobody. I’m not afraid of nobody. I’m ready to fight any of them. I feel I should be fighting for a world title soon. Hopefully, in my next fight after this one.
AW – Unfortunately, back in 2009, you beat Francisco Rodriguez and he tragically lost his life after the fight. This is every fighter’s worst nightmare. Could you share some feelings on this? 
TK – Um…at the moment, I haven’t thought about it a lot. You have to cope with it. I already knew it can could happen in boxing and it’s part of my job. I would dedicate [the fight] to him if I won a world title.
AW- In your career, you have twice fought at the world-famous Blue Horizon in Philadelphia. It’s steeped in boxing history. Can you tell us what this was like?
TK - It’s a different environment, the way the fans are on top of the ring. Everybody is right on top of you yelling. My dad boxed there a couple of times too.
AW - Can you tell us how life was for you growing up in a tough fight town like Philadelphia?
TK - Philadelphia is very tough. Guys on the corner trying to sell drugs and peer pressure but luckily, my mom and dad put me in alternative sports, football, basketball and stuff. So that kept me off the streets and boxing helped too. Boxing brings a lot of dedication.
AW - How did you first become interested in boxing?
TK - I was six years old when I first started boxing and I got into it because my dad was a pro boxer too, Ernest Kennedy (a middleweight who was 11-5 (2)), and we always used to go to the gym with him and I asked him if I could box.
AW - Bernard Hopkins is a boxing legend from Philadelphia, like you. He is one of the most renowned in a long line of outstanding Philly fighters and will one day pass the torch to someone else. What are your thoughts on that and can you tell us about the relationship you have with him? Any funny stories you can share with us about him? 
TK - I know him pretty good. He trains at Joe Hand’s gym also. Before he trained there, I trained with him at Champs. He encourages me. We talk every once in a while. One time, I tried playing a joke on him saying his car was being towed. He just looked at me and said, ‘For real?’ but I told him I was just playing.
AW- What do you like to do with your spare time? What are your hobbies and interests?
TK - I like to stay in the house. I like to spend time with my three kids and my girl. When I’m not training or don’t have a fight coming up, I play basketball. I support all the Philly teams.
AW - What fighters did you look up to and get inspiration from in your younger days? 
TK - Mike Tyson, the way he came up from the same environment as me. I looked up to him. I also look up to [Floyd] Mayweather, even though he talks a lot of sh*t. He works hard in the gym; that’s why he’s still undefeated. Mainly them two guys.
AW - There were a lot of fans from Philadelphia and the surrounding areas who came to see you fight. What do you have to say to those people?

TK - I just want to thank them for supporting me. Hopefully, one day, they can look at me winning the world title.

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