Willie Herring Interview: Calls Out Ronald Johnson for Comeback Bout
By Robert Brizel, Head Real Combat Media Boxing Correspondent
In a Real Combat Media interview exclusive, former UBO World Cruiserweight champion Willie Herring, now training for a comeback bout in his native Ocala, Florida, called out boxer and promoter Ronald Johnson as his comeback opponent, as well as others such as James Toney he would like to fight in the near future. Between 2002 and 2013, Herring posted a pro record of 14-13-2 with five knockouts, including wins over Troy Ross and Ravea Springs, Mark Doku, am Tillman, Moises Droz, Gilberto Balteiro, and Victor Dario Gimenez, and a draw with world ranked Shawn George.
Robert Brizel: “Willie, are you hungry in your comeback?”
Willie Herring: “I’m gonna remain hungry and humble, and I’m gonna work harder than anybody else.”
Robert Brizel: “You were released from Florida prison when?”
Willie Herring: “Last year on June 5 (June 5, 2015).”
Robert Brizel: “How have your boxing goals changed since you were released?”
Willie Herring: “My boxing goals changed. I decided to surrender my heart to God and all of my goals. So now pouring over into boxing, my desire has turned into a passion. So instead of just setting a goal to be a great boxer, I have a passion for boxing, and (I wish to) inspire those who are coming up behind me as well.”
Robert Brizel: “Where are you training, and who are you training with?”
Willie Herring: “I am training in Ocala, Florida at John 316-317, that’s (the name of the gym is) a bible scripture. My trainer and mentor is Tito Ocasio.”
Robert Brizel: “How did you hook up with Tito Ocasio?”
Willie Herring: “I was looking for a gym in the area, and I started training for a while. (Then) I stepped away for a while. I need that spiritual accountability so that I could reach my full potential, and make the greatest impact could on minds and lives who admire me. So (then) I came back home, (and went) back on the team with Tito.”
Robert Brizel: “How is Tito different? How has he changed you, and in what way?”
Robert Brizel: “First of all, he (Tito) is a great man of God, and he has my utmost respect because what he does in the gym is part of his passion and ministry to influence lives, to better lives and also bring others to the knowledge of Christ.”
Robert Brizel: “What is your new boxing goal? What do you want to achieve?”
Willie Herring: “First of all, I have unfinished business in the cruiserweight division, being that I aim to fight Roy Jones Jr and Antonio Tarver in the division.”
Robert Brizel: “Isn’t Roy Jones Jr. retired?”
Willie Herring: “He’s still active from what I hear.”
Robert Brizel: “Isn’t Antonio Tarver a heavyweight?”
Willie Herring: “Yes, yet I heard he’s campaigning at cruiserweight at well. He’s just looking for that big Klitschko payday. I want both of them in the ring, as well as anybody and everybody else that’s in the cruiserweight division that’s holding a title or making any noise. I will clean up the cruiserweight division, and then I will go back up to heavyweight.”
Robert Brizel: “You want to fight James Toney too. Why?”
Willie Herring: “Yes. I admire him for his accomplishments. To share the ring and to beat someone who has made history is a great accomplishment for me. Along with them my name will be written in the history books as the man who beat who beat James Toney, the boxer who beat Roy Jones Jr., and the man who pummeled Antonio Tarver.”
Robert Brizel: “I spoke to a guy name Xavier something, I don’t remember the last name. He called me and said was I interested in a fight with James Toney? Yews I’m still interested. I’m invested in boxing, so I’m interested in anything that’s part of that.
Willie Herring: “Jones, Toney and Tarver are all old guys, and you are younger than them. Don’t you want to fight the meat of the division?”
Willie Herring: “Yes I do. That includes anybody who holds a title or who has made noise in the division. Those who have made more noise than the meat of the division. Just give me the contract, and I’ll beat these three guys, and that’s an accomplishment in itself.”
Robert Brizel: “Have you seen footage on any of the current cruiserweight champions?”
Willie Herring: “Yes, but the man I want to fight next is Polish cruiserweight Michal Cieslak. He beat Francisco Palacios, who’s like a brother to me. For my brother and my country, I’m gonna represent them and stand in the gap for my brother (who got stopped by Cieslak in the fourth round). In this fight, I won’t be stopped. I am calling Ceslak out.”
Robert Brizel: “How much do you weigh now, and when you be ready (to fight again)?
Willie Herring: “I am 215 pounds, and I’m ready to get down (in weight) right now!”
Robert Brizel: “When do you think your next comeback fight will be?”
Willie Herring: “It’s looking like it will be here in Florida either against Ronald Johnson July 25; 2016, in Orlando, Florida, or Sahret Delgado on July 15 in Kissimmee, Florida. Whichever contract comes through will be the first one to lose.”
Robert Brizel: “Are you calling either of these fighters out?”
Willie Herring: “I’m calling Ronald Johnson out for the fact a matchmaker contacted me, and said he would fight me. With respect I fought the best in the world in the cruiserweight division, so if you don’t respect (me) it’s time to change you. Ruben De Jesus who works with Tito Zavala of All-Star Boxing asked me would I be interested in fighting Delgado. I told him as soon I get my contract I’ll put this young guy in his place. Ronald Johnson is also a co-promoter for this show in Orlando who does cards on Telemundo TV, so he’s paying me for a loss, just like I beat Troy Ross. Personally I want Ronald Johnson.
Then (afterwards I want to fight) Michael Ceislak, the guy who beat Palacios, he’s on my list too, it’s personal, it’s gonna be sweet revenge for my brother (Francisco Palacios) and I’m gonna represent my country.
Robert Brizel: “And how is God so good to you right now?”
Willie Herring: “He (God) has always been good to me. I didn’t appreciate the brick He gave me. I didn’t appreciate the opportunities He gave me, I didn’t fully appreciate the blessings for my talent He gave me. Now I appreciate Him more than ever, he is my rock, my salvation, (and) my strength.”
Robert Brizel: “You won a world title at 200 pounds a few years back when you stopped Ravea Springs. Would you like to fight for a title of any kind again in the near future?”
Willie Herring: “Yes. That is my goal. I have a team, Innovative Athletic Performance, Ocala, Florida, which invests in me. I have a personal training team, a nutritionist, a physical conditioning specialist, my performance and conditioning team, that we’re going to make (it), there are pouring all into me, so I can go out and make history. John 316 (my gym) and IAP (my athletic team) will make (boxing) history.”