By Ike Enwereuzor
The unbeaten NABO jr lightweight champion, "the Prophet" Daniel Attah of Nigeria now with a perfect professional career record of (18-0-1) 8KO's started boxing at the age of 12. Attah is one of the most excellent skillful and successful lightweight amatuer boxer Nigeria has even produced. He accumulated over 150 amatuer fights but lost only 5, then won several medals as amatuer which includes a silver medal at 1993 IBB International tournament, a silver at 1994 world championship held in Germany, a Gold medal at the "Guama 95" in Cuba, 1995 and captured a Bronze at the All African Games 1995 in Zimbabwa. He represented his Country, Nigeria in the 1996 Olympics held in Atlanta, Ga. At the Olympics, Attah reached the quarter final level, after olympics he decided to make his successful professional debut on November 20, 1996 against Moe Rites who Attah demolished in the second to score a round 2 knockout. WBO jr. lightweight No.2 contender, "The Prophet" Daniel Attah is expected to return to the ring on ESPN2 Febuary to defend his North Americans Boxing Organization title, after which he'll be become a #.1 mandatory challenger for undefeated WBO jr lightweight champion, Aceline Fretias now (28-0) with 28KO's after he successfully defends his NABO belt. Attah's New Year 2001 prediction is for him to become a world champion and face all top jr lightweights, including Prince Naseem Hamed, Floyd Mayweather, Diego Corrales, Roberto Garcia, Steve Forbe and others who are willing to fight me. "I don't duck nobody, they keep ducking me". In his most recent fight December 29, Attah survived a second round knock down to score an 8th round unianmous decision over brave Nicaragnan, Keylan Umana. Attah's expected to return to ring April 7, in the backyard of WBO jr lightweight number-seven contender, Nistal Ariel of Argentina for the WBO No.1 spot. Daniel promises boxing fans an exciting show as this showdown will be televised live in Nigeria.
Q: Daniel, how would you describe your last fight against Umana on ESPN2?
A: I didn't train for that fight, I had a flu four weeks before the fight, I was so sick during christmas and didn't have the energy to train. That guy was tough, he knocked me down in the 2nd round, but I got up and took the fight to him. When you hurt me that's when you're in trouble, you better start running because I'm coming at you. He was a good banger but I still won an eight rounds decision without preparing for the fight, you can emerging if I really train what will happen. Most of my fights were on last minutes notice. In Febuary, I should be defeating my NABO jr lightweight title, after that I'll fight WBO jr lightweight champion, Acelino Fretias, after I beat him then I'll be ready for Mayweather, Prince Hamed, if he comes up to 130 pounds, then I want to face other jr lightweight champions and top contenders. i'm not afraid to fight anyone. I have to fight whoever they put in front of me.
Q: How did you get your ring name "the Prophet"?
A: I'm very spirtual, I'm going to Bible College now. I want to become a priest. God's always on my side whenever, I box. None of them can do anything because God's on my side. I can see visions. I predicted that Mayweather would use his speed to overcome Corrales power. I'll like to fight both guys. I was suppose to meet Mayweather at Olympics but they robbed me.
Q: So, what's your prediction if you meet Acelino Fretias in the ring?
A: He's a good champion, I respect him as a champion but I'm ready to fight him for the WBO jr lightweight championship. I have been a No.2 for over a year now, it's time for him to face his mandatory challenger. I was suppose to fight the #.1 Michael Gomez from England in December last year 2000 but they said that Gomez is moving down to 126 pounds so after I beat my next opponent for my title defense then I'll be WBO #.1 Fretias can't avoid me anymore. He beat someone to be there, so he can be beaten too.
Q: Are you intimidated by Fretias KO record?
A: No way! He has a good record and has heard of me. He has fought nobody like me, they kept giving him easy fights. This time, he'll fight a true fighter. I'm undefeated like him but I never got easy fights like him. I have fought more challenging battles then him, even though he's 28-0, 28KO's. I don't care about his KO record, I'll give him a fight he never had before. I've been waiting so long for this opportunity to come, they kept delaying this fight. I'll be #.1 soon so he can't aviod me anymore.
Q: What did you of the Judah-Green bout?
A: I didn't get to see the fight but I sparred with Reggie one day then I got sick the next day so I couldn't continue. This is the same flu that kept me down for my December 29 fight with Umana.
Q: We read from reports that Promoter, Frank Warren offered you a match with Fretias last year but you refused to take the fight, please, tell us about that?
A: This is the first, I'm hearing this maybe my management received the call but they never tell me anything, look I'm defeating my NABO in Febuary and I still don't know who I'm fighting and where is the fight. They are not doing enough to improve my career. I'm not happy with the way things are going.
Q: Your impression of Casamayor?
A: Good fighter, he just keeps coming at you and a southpaw too. I know him since amatuer. He came to Nigeria during amatuer. We never got to meet in the ring but I would love to fight him at pros. I don't see him beating me and he's never been caught. If he's that good why don't he fight me. I want to fight all the best including Mayweather I was suppose to fight in Olympics 1996.
Q: Your most memorable sports moment?
A: I'm one of the Olympians who hasn't been given the opportunity to fight for a world title but I won the NABO championship. I began to believe in myself. I was so happy and joyous. It was a dream come through and it built my confidence. I'm fighting for the world title this year.
Comment to fans?
I want to thank all for their support, I'll be a champion and bring my country into the map again. I would go to Nigeria and Africa to fight and fans a good show. God is behind me. Keep supporting me. I love all my fans.
Undefeated WBC welterweight champion, "Sugar" Shane Mosley defends his belt March 10 but may move up to 154 pounds to challenge also unbeaten WBA/IBF jr middleweight king Felix "Tito" Trinidad in Nigeria. There's talks on this showdown happening this summer. WBA heavyweight champion, Evander Holyfield will rematch John Ruiz March 3, at Mandalay Bay Casino, Las Vegas. Holyfield's WBA belt will be on the line to be shown on Showtime Network. The winner from Holyfield-Ruiz bout is expected to defend title in China. An African showdown is also a big possiblity. On the eve of the Holyfield-Ruiz bout, March 2, will feature Alex Bunema (17-2) of Zaire who faces veteran Tony Marshall at Texas Station Casino, Vegas, event shall be televised on ESPN2 Friday Night fights. Former WBO heavyweight champion, Henry Akinwande meets Heavyweight Peter McNeeley on March 17 in Talahassee, Florida. WBC international super flyweight champion, "the African Goldenboy" Mbwana Matumla make his next ring appearance March 23, in his hometown, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania against Philipino champ, Joel Avilla (23-6-3)12KO's. Judges are Jose Martinez of Spain, Wally Snowball of South Africa and Ove Ovesen of Denmark. Referee shall be South African, Stanley Christoolou.
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