Talking Boxing

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February 13, 2017

Yigit eyes Burns-Indongo winner

Anthony Yigit, Sauerland, Nisse Sauerland, Lenny Daws, Hennessy Sports, EBU, Sweden

Yigit becomes Sweden's first European 140lbs champion in 30 years. Photo credit: Team Sauerland

by Shaun Brown

The feeling of winning the vacant European Super Lightweight title on Saturday night hadn't sunk in for Anthony Yigit when Talking Boxing spoke to him yesterday (February 12).

The Swede, 25, went into Lenny Daws' backyard and comprehensively out pointed the 38-year-old former champion over 12 rounds, in what was his 20th fight.

"To be honest it feels kind of surreal," said Yigit (19-0-1, 7 KOs). "It still hasn't hit me yet. Just got back home, I don't know how to feel. It feels very surreal."

Yigit, who represented his country at the 2012 Olympic Games was delighted at becoming his homeland's first European titlist at 140lbs in 30 years, but also glad to be now known as a champion rather than just an Olympian.

"I went to the Olympics, but I didn't really get a medal there. At the same time it is a big achievement but I'm kinda past that now," Yigit told us.

"I wouldn't say I'm tired of it, but people still say that when they talk about me. They talk about what I did in the Olympics, that was like five years ago. I'm happy I've got the European title so people can associate me with that instead of Anthony Yigit the Olympian."

Promoted by Sauerland, Yigit now resides in London having spent time in Germany and Denmark looking to further his career. Training out of one of the UK's oldest amateur clubs, St Pancras ABC, Yigit is now trained by the club's head trainer CJ Hussein, having spent time working with former two-weight world champion Joey Gamache in Denmark.

"When I turned pro I moved from Sweden to Germany because Team Sauerland had their base in Germany," Yigit recalled.

"In Sweden we didn't really have professional boxing in that sense. We didn't have coaches that could teach professional boxing, so I decided I'm going to move to Germany to train with the other pros. I stayed there for about a year, but I didn't really like the German style. You gotta find your own kind of way of doing things and I didn't like the way they did it. So, I moved to Denmark because we had two-time world champion Joey Gammache training there. So, I was training with him for a while which was great. I liked training with him, but I then decided to move again to my old amateur trainer who brought me to the Olympics. So, I was training with him for a while before I decided to move to London to train with CJ Hussein."

And the move has paid off. A move now where Yigit feels comfortable not only living in the UK but fighting in here as well. Having fought twice in England already (the first time against Dee Mitchell on the Carl Froch-Mikkel Kessler 2 undercard in 2013) Yigit is keen to experience another British boxing night, but not before having first defended his title back home.

"That's the first plan," he said of the homecoming. "And then we're looking forwards. We want to keep pushing forwards."

Part of that push is possibly throwing down a challenge to the April's Super Lightweight world title unification fight between Ricky Burns (WBA champion) and Julius Indongo (IBF champion) in Glasgow.

"Like I told you, (I'd like to) keep fighting in the UK so maybe a fight against Ricky Burns wouldn't be too bad. We'll see, it all depends on how his fight goes against Indongo. I think I might contend for the title as well, we'll see. If Ricky Burns wins that one, or Indongo, whoever wins I might challenge for that title. I'm very much up for it. I think I have the means to grab that title as well."

The confidence hasn't come overnight for Yigit. Having fought at home, on the road, in opponent's home towns and taking on tricky challenges like Philip Sutcliffe Jnr, there is a belief in Yigit that he can contend with the best. Put an opponent in front of him, and if it makes sense to him and his manager Nisse Sauerland, then he will take that challenge on - no matter who it is. Yigit wants to be remembered by boxing fans for taking on the best, and not ducking the biggest challenges.

"I'm not afraid of losing but I'm more afraid of being the guy that ducks someone," he said.

"I don't want to be that guy. I'd rather fight anyone, and no-one can tell me 'Anthony is where he is but he's ducking this guy'. I don't want to be like that, and so far no-one can say that when it comes to me. No-one can say that to me. I've been doing it the hard way, and I think I proved myself pretty good. Proved myself that I'm where I am because of my skills."

Yigit certainly proved it against Daws (30-5-2, 11 KOs) on Saturday night at the Westcroft Leisure Centre in Carshalton. The new champion wasn't sure what to expect from the British veteran, but there was a plan in place to take Daws out of his comfort zone.

"We wanted Daws to move forwards because he's not used to that, he's always used to moving backwards.

"That's what we did and I think Daws wasn't really prepared for that. I think he was expecting me to move forwards. I think it all just worked out exactly like we did in the gym. It was like all the puzzles got back together."

With the fight seemingly won, and with just three minutes to go, Yigit went back to his corner at the end of the 11th round wanting to send a clear message to his opponent.

"I told my coach in the corner I need to prove a point here."

Yigit wasn't necessarily looking for a stoppage but did want to show that despite this being his first 12-round fight he could go another 10 rounds if needs be. All the while cautious of not making a mistake against the experience of someone like Daws.

"Mostly I was just trying to prove a point that I was still fresh," he said.

"I know Daws is a durable guy. I wasn't looking for a knockout because that's what many people do wrong. People knock him [Daws] down but then he comes back up and people punch themselves out, trying to knock him out, and then he comes back and wins the later rounds. We didn't want to make that mistake. We just wanted to win the rounds, and just get the win."

"I fired out some shouts (in the 12th round) just to show him I'm not tired, and I can keep going. I'm young, I'm strong, so bring it."