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    Meeting with Patrick Kinigamazi

    WBF World Champion in English boxing in the super-feather category

    Patrick Kinigamazi: “boxing is about focus and intensity”

    After your last winning fight, what is your next goal: a world championship, WBA or WBC?

    I will defend my WBF world title on December 12, 2019. The rematch will take place in Romania next year.

    Is it that hard to land a fight for a world championship?

    It depends on several things. A boxer is ranked according to his record, the money he can generate from his fights and the World Federation he boxes for. There are several: the WBA is the oldest, the WBC has the most money, the WBO, the IBF, the IBO and the WBF, my category, where there are about 1’700 boxers. For example, English boxers bring in a lot of money thanks to television. So an Englishman will never make a European championship, he will go straight to the world championship.

    Boxing is like other sports (soccer, tennis, golf): it’s all about the money?

    Yes and when you generate money, it’s hard to stop. Muhammad Ali’s doctor advised him to stop boxing because he had symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, but he still had 3 or 4 too many fights.

    Is boxing such an unforgiving environment?

    It is above all a beautiful sport, you meet lots of people from all social categories with whom you share a lot: it is a simple sport. There are girls, old people, children, but we are all the same in front of the bag. What changes is the concentration and intensity.

    What can you expect at 35 when you’re a professional boxer?

    My last fight, if I had done it three years ago I would have lost it. I have more experience, I am more confident. The difference is motivation. In boxing there are many world champions who are 38 or 40 years old and who beat young people of 28-29 years. The day after I win a fight, I go back to training. For 20 years, I have never stopped for more than a week. It’s in your head, you have to know how to hurt yourself. Especially in the last three weeks before a fight. For the first time in my career, I wanted to see my last fight again the next day, because it had hurt me, I had suffered. I wanted to understand why and I called Leman Bleu to get the videos.

    What is the key to your success?

    The keys to my success are my children, my coach Giorgio Constantino, the team around me and the seriousness in training. I am also lucky to have the support of Comptoir Immobilier and my friend Quentin Epiney who have been sponsoring me for 3 years now.

    Did your last fight push you to your limits, take you further?

    I took so many that I should have gone to the mat at least 4 times. The only time I was happy was in the 9thth round, when I took down my opponent. In the 10thround I could hear “finish him off, finish him off,”but I thought to myself: if he doesn’t come to me, well let him stay where he is. I am very happy to have won. It’s not so much physically that I suffered, I did not even have aches and pains. But I’ve never been so concentrated. One moment I was slacking off and bam, I took one.

    Are your kids scared when they see you fight?

    No it’s more me that’s afraid of them seeing me take a hit. That would hurt me even more. One time my son saved my fight. I had taken a hit, I was about to fall and I heard “come on dad”.

    In boxing the medical risks are high?

    Boxing is a very controlled sport, but accidents can happen quickly like in any other sport. Sometimes you don’t stop a fight in time and it can leave a boxer damaged.

    As you get older, is motivation harder to find?

    It’s not that. For example, I stopped full-contact because I had nothing left to prove.

    How long have you been involved in combat sports?

    I started in 2000 in full-contact and amateur English boxing in 2003.

    How did you get into boxing?

    Basically I was doing full-contact and my coach sent me to do boxing to improve in that discipline. I was offered a few small amateur fights, I accepted, I was crowned twice champion of Switzerland. I was also doing less and less full-contact fights because they were getting more and more expensive. One day, the Carouge club needed a professional boxer for a fight, and I was offered to turn pro. I started like that, in 2006. I did 3 fights that year, then 5 in 2007. But the beginnings are difficult: out of my 32 fights, there are at least 12 or 13 where I didn’t get paid. It’s hard, when you’re young, to take hits without getting paid.

    So your boxing career started somewhat by accident?

    My older brother had started boxing but me, my favorite sport was basketball, and after that football. I was doing full-contact and basketball at the same time. In full-contact we were about thirty friends, we did everything together, we had a good laugh, we travelled. Our stretching sessions lasted an hour and a half, but we stretched the discussions more than anything else. I continued like that until my second European championship. Now I don’t play basketball anymore, I’m afraid of getting injured. I watch NBA games. I’m untouchable on basketball, but not on boxing…

    Do you care much about the young boxers in the area?

    I want young people to take over. There are good boxers in Switzerland. They need help at the start, small amounts, CHF 1’500 or 2’000. They also need a project and the will.

    Do you think boxing can regain some notoriety in Switzerland?

    Yes, in fact that is one of my goals because the new generation of boxers has potential.

    What is the most amazing anecdote from your boxing career?

    After an amateur English boxing championship in the canton of Valais, we had to speed up on the highway so that I could arrive in time for a full-contact fight in Geneva, at the BoutDuMonde hall. I just had time to change and get in the ring.

    I’m not sure how much time I had.

    What’s next for your career? Mainly with the youth?

    Next year will be my 20th year in combat sports and I plan to stop at the end of 2020. I will continue to support and promote boxing and the future Swiss generation of boxers.

     

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