by Emmit Hamilton, jacksons.tv - Special thanks to Fresquez Productions
jacksons.tv: How has training been for your upcoming bout with Chevelle “Fists of Steel” Hallback?
Holly Holm: Everything has been really good. I’ve had more strength training probably for this fight then I ever have, and hopefully that will make a difference in the fight. I’ve never really done this much strength training on top of my other training so I’m hoping that it’s gonna make a difference and think it will as long as I incorporate it into my punches and into the whole fight. It’s been a busy training camp, a lot of our teammates have been fighting and I’ve been supporting all of them so camp has been all over the place but every fight is a journey so it’s just a different training camp.
jacksons.tv: What are your thoughts on your opponent?
Holly Holm: Well Chevelle is probably one of the most professional, down to earth girls that I’ve fought. She’s a great person, I think she is one of the toughest out there and I know that the last fight I dominated, but I know it’s a whole different fight this time around. I know she is very motivated, this is the first time she has been able to get in the ring and try to avenge a loss. She’s never had the chance to do that before so I know she is motivated and she is ready.
jacksons.tv: What have you done differently in your training/preparation for this bout than from your first encounter with Chevelle?
Holly Holm: Well some the things are the same. There is mitt work, running, sparring, but for this fight I’ve really tried to be more intense in my workouts and just make sure I’m that much more ready. Everything is different because I’m a different fighter than I was back then and so is she. Training is different because back then we weren’t even combined with Jackson’s, now having Jackson’s MMA with Coach Winkeljohn in the same gym, there are more people to spar with and I think that’s given me that extra element that I’ve needed because every person you fight has a different style and it’s prepared me to fight anybody.
jacksons.tv: Hallback has brought in Germanys top strengthening coach Torsten Kanzmeier from Heide, Germany to Tampa, FL for this fight. Kanzmeier has worked with the likes of Vitali Klitschko. Kanzmeier’s goal is for Chevelle to defeat you by KO, what are your thoughts on their goal?
Holly Holm: Well I think that is everybody’s goal. If you’re a fighter and you don’t want to knockout your opponent then get out of the ring. That’s just pretty much how that goes. I fully believe that is what they want to do and that’s what I want to do every single fight. I know Chevelle has power and any punch can hit just right and the fight is over so I will just try not to let that happen. It will be my goal to stop her from her executing her game plan. I’m glad she has the best training; she has sought out who she thinks is going to give her the best camp to win this fight so I know I’m up against her best game and that makes me motivated to overcome that.
jacksons.tv: Up to this point in your career who has been your toughest opponent?
Holly Holm: I really can’t put a name to it. I think mentally my toughest opponent was Christy Martin but it wasn’t my most physical fight. I had no idea how that fight was really going to be and just getting into the ring with her when I had little experience compared to her experience, was mentally a huge huge thing. Every interview I was reminded how the odds are 4 to 1, how do I expect to win and stuff like that. I just had to make sure that I stayed confident and know that my coach has confidence in me and he isn’t going to put me in there if he doesn’t have faith in me. That gave me strength. That gave me confidence. Now physically I’ve had some really scrappy bouts with Angel Martinez. Probably one of my toughest opponents was Ann Marie Saccurato, and Chevelle Hallback. When I get hit by Chevelle I feel it. Some opponents gave me a problem with speed, some gave me a problem with power, some gave me a problem with an awkward style so it’s really hard for me to say who my toughest opponent has been to this day.
jacksons.tv: Can you name a few opponents out there that you find intriguing?
Holly Holm: I am obviously curious about Anne Sophie Mathis. She is a very tall lanky fighter but she has a lot of TKOs and KOs on her record and I think she creates a lot of problems for people. I really get intrigued by a lot of different women’s bouts. I think every match up is different; every style makes a different fight. Somebody might be a hard fight for one person and not for another. I really find a lot of match ups intriguing I guess, but I’ve already fought most of the women that are active right now. And I know there are more women out there but probably the match up that most people talk about that I have not fought yet is Anne Sophie Mathis.
jacksons.tv: At the beginning of your boxing career did you ever think you’d be the reigning pound for pound queen of boxing?
Holly Holm: No. When I very first started fighting I didn’t think I would ever be a professional fighter. Then when I became pro I never thought I would fight for a belt, I thought it was just something pretty awesome at the time. I knew if a title bout came I would take the opportunity but it just seemed like a goal that was so far away. When I was told I could fight Terri Blair the title I had never fought for more than 6 rounds and I had 9 fights in my career. At that time I was watching Christy Martin versus Laila Ali and I never thought I would actually be fighting Christy and then 2 years later there I was stepping into the ring with her. From then on it’s just been belt after belt and 10 round fight after 10 round fight. I haven’t had a fight that has been scheduled for less than 10 rounds for the past 5 years. So it has been crazy, I never thought I would be where I’m at.
jacksons.tv: Being a 9 time world champion and 3 division title holder are there any goals or accomplishments that you still would like to attain during your boxing career?
Holly Holm: A goal I have which will be pretty hard to keep is to never lose again. I mean once you get to the top, the only place to go is back down, right? And I don’t want to do that. I want to finish my career on top and it’s almost impossible but I feel it is possible. That is my goal, I don’t want to ever get beaten.
jacksons.tv: Between fights what are some of your interests and hobbies that you occupy your time with?
Holly Holm: Over this past Winter I’ve been snowboarding a lot. That is one of my favorite things to do. I have really had the bug to continue to go up to the mountain every weekend but I’ve had to restrain myself, at least for the last month or so. It’s not that I think I am going to get hurt, I’m very careful. I mean I guess it is possible but that’s not my reason for not going. I could go up to the mountain on a weekend but that would be very distracting from my training right now. I am making myself focus on this fight and not let anything distract me right now. I also like to sew and knit and run in the foothills all the time. Running, bike riding, anything active I’m usually down to go do. There are a lot of things I like to do but if I’m staying at home I like sewing and painting and stuff like that.
jacksons.tv: In closing what advice could you give to a young up and coming female boxer?
Holly Holm: I always just say have patience. People will watch a title fight on TV or attend a bout and decide they want to fight now and they’ve never had an amateur fight. They just want to get in the ring and rush things way too fast. They want things to happen overnight and rush their career too fast. Before they know it they never get offered that title fight because they have taken the wrong steps in their career. It’s all about patience, just take one fight at a time. Your goal ahead of you is your opponent ahead of you and that’s it. If you win that fight then your goal has been stretched to the next fight, but you are never promised that next fight. You have that one fight in front of you and that’s it. You have to work for your way up. See how it feels to be an amateur and work yourself up from that experience. See how it feels to go three 2 minute rounds with head gear and everything. You can’t just hop in the ring and think you’re going to go 10 rounds. It’s not just the physical game, it’s not just the mental game, it is everything. You have to be technically ready. You can have raw talent but it still takes time to build that up. Nobody knows what it feels like until they have been in the ring, how tired you feel after your first 3 round fight. You feel like you’re gonna die! It is the longest 6 minutes of your life and you need to learn how to pace yourself and with experience comes ring knowledge and that helps every aspect of your game. I guess bottom line is to just be patient.