Henry Akinwande (34-1-1, 20 K.O's), born in Lagos, Nigeria now living in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., won the vacant World Boxing Organization (WBO) heavyweight crown by knocking out Jeremy Williams in the third round on June 29, 1996, in Indio, Calif. He defended the title twice against mandatory No. 1 contenders, scoring a 10-round TKO of Alexander Zolkin on Nov. 9, 1996, then posting a unanimous decision over fellow Brit Scott Welch on Jan. 11, 1997. Akinwande earned the WBAÕs No. 1 ranking and a mandatory challenge with Evander Holyfield by out-boxing former world champion Orlin Norris, Jr., in an elimination bout on Dec. 13, 1997. The championship fight with Holyfield, scheduled for June 6, 1998, was postponed when Akinwande tested positive for Hepatitis B. He returned to action with an impressive second-round technical knockout over Bahamas Heavyweight Champion Reynaldo Minus on March 6, 1999. Akinwande's 34 professional victories include wins over Axel Schulz, Norris, Tony Tucker and James Thunder.
By: Ike Enwereuzor Ike: Good Afternoon, Mr. Henry Akinwande! I have a few questions for you, as we learn more about your fight on May 15 in Miami, Florida on Showtime. Ike: What's your Professional boxing record? Akiwande: Won 34 fites, lost 1, 1 draw and 20 Knock outs. Ike: What's your pre fight meal? Akiwande: I eat a lot of pasta, which gives me a lot of energy. Ike: How is your training coming along? Akiwande: My trainning is moving pretty well here at Kronk Gym, here in Detiot, Michigan. Since last year I started coming here, I've learn a lot and I'm still learning everyday! Ike: What are the things you learn since year as you said? Akiwande: I don't use up my energy like before. Ike: Who's currently training you? Akiwande: Emmauel Stward, the trainer who trains Lennox Lewis as well. He has taught me a lot of things, they started me with the basics. Ike: How would you describe your jabs, speeds and punching power? Akiwande: Like I said I have improve a lot, I'm a better fighter, still learning and working on everything. Ike: Would you do anything different to get more fans to your fights? Akiwande: I'm still myself, can't change everything, I know that I improve a lot and I'm still the WBA No.1 contender and will prove it with any fighter that comes my way. I'll prove it with Najee Shaeed on May 15. I promise fans an exciting fight. Ike: What's your favorite movie? Akiwande: "Time to kill! Ike: Why? Akiwande: Because it's a true story. Ike: How did you get your fight name "Octopus"? Akiwande: I use to be very skinny, with long reach, long legs and fans were amazed that I won the fight at the end of the night. Ike: What have you accomplished in Boxing so far? Akiwande: During Amateur, I participated in the 1988 Olympics, won the British National Championship three straight times, won the Commonwealth, European and WBO heavyweights titles. Ike: What do you love about Boxing? Akiwande: The fact that it's a one-to-one sports and your destiny is on your hands. Ike: What do you hate about boxing? Akiwande: The Politics behind it, mostly from Managers/promoters. Ike: Were you intimidated by Lennox Lewis during your fight with him in July of 1997? Akiwande: No! I'm not intimidated by any heavyweight out there, sometimes you have a good night, sometimes you have a bad night. I felt bad after the fight because I never lost a fight since 1988, but I'm glad the fight came out like that, so I know I cannot always win and I'm able to learn from my mistakes and correct them. Ike: What's your impression of Najee Shaeed? Akiwande: Any of them that agree to fight me wants my position, but I'll be there to defend my WBA No.1 mandatory contender status against Shaeed and prove myself. Ike: What can you tell us about your impressive defeat over Reynold Minus on March 6, 1999? Akiwande: He's included in the list of fighters that wants my position, but after 9 months of lay off after my postponment to fight Evander Holyfield June 6, 1998, I was able to prove myself and had Minus in trouble in the first round before finishing him in the second round. Ike: What's your impression of Jeremy Williams who you knocked out in the 3rd in June 1996 to win the WBO heavyweight title? Akiwande: I give a level of respect since we're chasing the same gaol. I don't bad mouth other fighters. Ike: How would you compare European Boxing to American? Akiwande: Americans don't respect you as a fighter unless you fight in United States and you can make more money if you know how to get it. There are better opponents here too. Ike: What's your advice to individuals interested in boxing? Akiwande: It's not going to be easy, just like everything else, it's not easy to accomplish your goal. You have to work very hard and be determined to achieve them, also you must believe in yourself. Ike: What do you want to accomplish in boxing? Akiwande: I wish to capture the world title for Nigeria and Africa in general. If someone feels I'm not good enough, let them come so we can get it on, I'll fight any top contender out there. To see more of Ike Enwereuzor's work and to enjoy a fresh perspective on the African boxing scene please go to the African Boxing Resource in The Judges section of Boxing Wise.