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New England’s Next Superstar – Interview of Toka Kahn–Clary
By Pattee Mak, RCM Boxing Correspondent
If you are from the New England area JR lightweight,Toka Kahn-Clary (11-0, 8 Ko’s, 1 Nd) from Providence, Rhode Island needs no introduction. He’s been an amateur standout and at the young age of 21 he’s moving up the pro rankings. His pro debut bout was on June 29, 2012 and he won a TKO victory in round 2 of 4 against Jonathan Caban in Toka’s home town. Next up for Toka is the 14th of June, almost 1 week away, 6 rounds, at Baily’s Atlantic City, New Jersey when he takes on Jose Haro (8-0-0, 6 Ko’s). Someone’s gonna have a loss on their record.
Pattee Mak: Your 13th fight [11 wins and 1 no contest] is right around the corner. You and your trainer, Peter Manfredo, Sr. are moving forward, preparing you for your fight and you just recently received word of Haro as your opponent. Is this frustrating at all since you were unclear of whom you are fighting until recently?
Toka: Sometimes it can be frustrating but it’s out of my hands. All I can do is keeping training and preparing for anything. We don’t get ready for any particular style of fighter. I spar with all different types of opponents.
Pattee Mak: Have you found that at times it’s difficult for matchmakers to find you an opponent?
Toka: I’m with the best matchmakers in boxing, they do a great job finding me opponents. At times, it’s going to be hard to find opponents. But sometimes that’s a good thing because that means I’m doing my job and other fighters are watching.
Pattee Mak: What can I expect from you the night of the fight while you are in the ring?
Toka: I’m going to try and out box him and use my jab. I’m also going to use my hand speed (of course) and ring generalship.
Pattee Mak: What is it like training with Peter?
Toka: Training with Peter is great. He’s a veteran in the boxing game and has been with me since I started boxing. Everything I know about boxing, I learned from him. He can be very tough at times but that’s needed if you want to get to the top.
Pattee Mak: The fight is scheduled for 6 rounds. You haven’t yet jumped up past 6 rounds. When can we see an 8 round fight out of you?
Toka: That’s left up to my manager and promoters. They watch me fight and they know when it’s time to take the next step.
Pattee Mak: You are currently signed with Top Rank, one of the top boxing promotional companies for I believe a 5 year term. How did this signing come about?
Toka: After the Olympic trials Peter and I decided to go pro and Top Rank showed interest in us. Signing with them was a no brainer because if the best wants you, you go with the best.
Pattee Mak: What is it like working with Top Rank?
Toka: Working with Top Rank has been a great experience. They keep me busy and seeing the success that they have with other fighters, makes me work even harder because I know I’m in good hands.
Pattee Mak: Has there been any discussions about a Showtime/ShoBox card for you on TV?
Toka: That again is something that’s left in the hands of my manger and promoters. I trust that I will get there when they feel like I’m ready.
Pattee Mak: How would you overall rate your fights? Are there improvements being made after each one or?
Toka: Every fight I had has been a learning experience and after each of them I work on improving. There is always room for improvement, no fighter is perfect.
Pattee Mak: Whom in your weight class would you eventually like to fight or fight now?
Toka: I don’t have any specific people that I want to fight. I’m a FIGHTER and any name across from mines should expect a great fight.
Pattee Mak: Your original pro debut fight didn’t happened as planned and I believe you had another scheduled fight that was canceled. What can you tell other boxers who might be going through the same experience and are thinking of giving up on the sport?
Toka: Not just in boxing, but everything in life you have to be patient. Nothing comes easy, just keep working hard and stay focused. “Anything worth having is worth waiting for”.
Pattee Mak: You have fought the majority of your fights outside of your hometown and some went the distance. Do you feel that in the future there could be a possibility where the hometown favorite fighter wins the fight based on the judges’ scorecard, if the fight goes the distance, even though you clearly won?
Toka: It is something that happens in boxing and as fighters we have no control over it. You just have to hope that the judges are being fair. That being said, you always have to bring your “A” game so that there are less chances of an unfair scorecard.
Pattee Mak: People from the New England area are saying you are the next superstar to move up the rankings. How do you feel about that statement?
Toka: It’s a great feeling knowing that my community supports and believes in me. I hope that I get a chance to be prove them right!
Pattee Mak: Why boxing?
Toka: At first it was a way to keep out of trouble and then it turned into a passion. Now I can’t imagine my life without boxing.
Pattee Mak: I can totally agree with you on that statement.
Pattee Mak: What would you like to say to your fans?
Toka: I would like to thank them for the love and support that they continue to show me. I’m going to keep working my hardest to make them proud.
Pattee Mak: Thank you for taking the time to speak with me. I’m excited for you come the 14th. I can’t wait to hear the results.
Toka: Thank you for opportunity.