Oquendo wants another title shot
Story by Jacob Chavez
Photo by John Booz
Heavyweight veteran and two-time world title challenger Fres “The Big O” Oquendo (30-5, 19 KOs) returns to the ring this Friday in quest for another title shot. In his way stands former world champion Bruce “The Atlantic City Express” Seldon (40-7, 36 KOs). The Oquendo vs. Seldon contest is the headliner of the 8 Count Production “Windy City Fight Night 4” event at the UIC Pavilion near Chicago’s downtown, where Oquendo fought just one month ago against a less than eager Mark Brown.
FightNews caught up with Oquendo earlier this week to ask about his training camp and how he fits in the current heavyweight picture.
How was your training camp and who did you spar with?
Training camp was absolutely great. I had a special partner in Oliver McCall Jr. He brought out the best in me during training and was my chief sparring partner.
Is there anything new we can expect from you against a veteran like Bruce Seldon?
Absolutely! I am very excited about this opportunity. I am going to come out very confident and will fight very smart. I am really excited now about my career and am very grateful that I am with Simmons Entertainment, my new management company.
Seldon’s last 17 wins have been by either KO or TKO. Does his power concern you?
Listen, I am a veteran of the game. All my losses were controversial. There has not been one heavyweight who has beaten convincingly, so I am going to go in there and fight my fight.
At 42, he is six years your elder. Will his “advanced years” affect your strategy?
Nowadays, fighters like Bernard Hopkins and Vitali Klitschko are still doing their thing and performing great, and they are in their 40s. You can never underestimate a heavyweight.
What advantages do you think you have over him in regards to style or otherwise?
He has never fought an unorthodox fighter like me. The guys I fight cannot figure me out. I can box and punch.
Your last fight in June was against a guy who didn’t want to fight but you still scored a devastating third round knockout. It has been nine years since you fought in front of your hometown fans. How did it fight in front of your Chicagoland fans?
It felt great. The Mark Brown was risky fight because we didn’t know anything about him. He tried to throw me over the ring. He tried tackling me, but I still kept my composure and managed to stop him.
What do you think of the heavyweight picture right now and how do you fit in?
There is great opportunity for a heavyweight contender right now. I pretty much see myself as undefeated and a serious threat. I see the heavyweight division like it was in the 80s, very wide open. There are great prospects out there and top fighters like the Klitschko brothers.
Should you win this Friday, who are you looking at next?
The Klitschko brothers, they have commitments to fight David Haye and Alexander Povetkin. But my day will come at the end of this year or early next to finally get my just due and get a world title strap around my waist. God willing all will go well, until then I have to stay active and stay focused.
Anything else you would like to add?
Yes, I want to thank my fans from Chicago and Bobby Simmons. Also, Sam winters, my family from Puerto Rico, Miami, Los Angeles, and New York for all their support.
The Oquendo-Seldon bout is for the NABA heavyweight title. The undercard of the “Windy City Fight Night 4” also features a terrific lightweight bout between Chicagoans Gadiel Andaluz (3-1, 2 KOs) and Oscar De La Cruz (5-6, 2 KOs). Also in action are super featherweight Noe Perez (2-0, 2 KOs), super middleweight Mike Kurzeja (1-0, 1 KO) plus the pro debuts of heavyweight David Latoria and junior middleweight Nate Mohr.
“Windy City Fight Night 4” is presented by Dominic Pesoli of 8 Count Productions. Doors open at 7pm with the first bell at 8pm. Tickets start at $31 and be purchased through the 8 Count Productions office at 312-226-5800 and through Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000 or www.ticketmaster.com.