Ahlin: 'I'm far from done!'
Luke G. Williams
Sweden week on the Boxing Monthly website kicked off on Monday with an interview with Badou Jack and continued on Tuesday with an interview with Adrian Granat. Today, we catch up with Swedish 'Golden Boy' Oscar Ahlin, who has been tipped for future world champion status by none other than the current WBC super-middleweight champion Badou Jack. Ahlin spoke to Boxing Monthly about his career, and vowed that he will be back stronger and better than ever after a defeat to Patrick Mendy back in April.
BM: How did you first become involved in boxing? And how did you get your 'Golden Boy' nickname?
OA: I was born and raised In Stockholm, Sweden. I lived with my mom, but hung out with my dad everyday. He's an ex boxer, the oldest pro boxer in Swedish history. So I had a lot of hours at the gym from an early age. So my life has always been about boxing. I have been called 'Golden Boy' since I was like six years old. I worked with my dad on the mitts and people called me that. Then in an amateur fight a couple of months after [Oscar] De La Hoya retired the speaker made it 'official'. After that the name has just been there.
BM: Can you describe your amateur career?
OA: I had 47 amateur fights, 25 wins. I didn't have the typical amateur style and therefore lost a lot of fights (especially in Sweden) on points. In my 47 fights and five-year long amateur career I fought in Sweden, Norway, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Ireland, Russia and Brazil.
BM: Why did you decide to turn professional?
OA: I've been around boxing all my life and since I was a kid I always wanted to turn pro. My amateur career was a must, just to get the experience. I would probably never have qualified to the Olympics. I never liked the amateur way - for example, the points system, the headgear and the tournaments. So my goal was always to turn pro from my first day at the gym.
BM: Can you describe your memories of your first professional fight in 2011 when you beat Deniss Kurakins by TKO?
OA: Of course I was very nervous and really pumped up to finally fight professionally. I felt at home in a weird way like I never did in the amateur ring.
BM: Can you describe your boxing style and philosophy?
OA: Oh! Hard to do but I would say that I'm an all around boxer, I hit pretty decent, I have quite good speed, I like being sneaky and I like to brawl. Boxing is like maths to me - you have to solve the problem in front of you. To me it is more mental than physical.
BM: What aspects of your boxing do you still feel you need to improve?
OA: Everything! I'm never satisfied! The day you think you're fully taught, you're in trouble! I'm currently looking for a new boxing coach and I know I need to look outside Sweden. My strength and conditioning coach is Roman Livaja, a Taekwondo Olympian. You can't live boxing in Sweden. We don't have the experienced trainers needed to do so.
BM: Earlier this year you sparred with Badou Jack. Can you tell me a bit about your friendship with Badou, who you have known for a while.
OA: He has always been like a big brother to me. He helped me get my first job when I was around 18 years old, We have sparred each other since our amateur days, and I was in his corner in his pro debut. He has and is still helping me a lot, he's a real good friend. There's not a lot of people like him!
BM: Recently you have had a couple of setbacks against Bernard Donfack and Patrick Mendy, losing contests on points. What are your thoughts on these contests and how are you looking to bounce back from these?
OA: I will probably go up to light heavyweight again, not really sure yet but probably. Then like I said I'm looking outside Sweden for a new boxing coach. The Donfack fight I did two big wrongs, dropping weight in a really bad way and I didn't box like I usually do, I didn't use my own style, I was like a robot and boxed the way my corner told me to, I didn't think for myself. And that taught me a lot. I have to trust my instinct and, of course, my corner. But a bit of both, not only trust in one thing. In the Mendy fight I didn't do my best fight of my career at all. But I can't really say that I lost. Then again I haven't seen that fight again afterwards. It was an exciting fight though. It was a war with a lot of rough tactics, and I wanted it too much, it was in front of my home crowd and Mendy took advantage of the fire in my heart. The losses will build a better me! So I'm thankful for them in weird way! I'm not taking anything away from neither of the opponents but they didn't win the fights, I lost!
BM: From who do you gain most inspiration and why?
BM: Oh, depends on what kind of inspiration. Work ethic, Badou Jack. Boxing tactics/style, Oscar De La Hoya and Bernard Hopkins. But the biggest inspiration in life is, of course, my family, my daughter!
BM: What are your ambitions and plans for the future? Do you know when you are next fighting and against who?
OA: The first thing is finding a coach. That will happen soon! After that, I want to fight. Pick up were I left off. No time for more bumps on the road. Time to go to work, to the top!
BM: What are your thoughts about Swedish boxing. There seem to be several rising stars right now including you...
OA: Sauerland have pushed boxing in Sweden really good. I hope one day professional boxing is fully legal. But I think Swedish pro boxing will be better in 15 years, at the time we will probably have more experienced professional boxing coaches, which means better professionals.
BM: Which of your professional performances so far are you most proud of and why?
OA: That fight is yet to come! I'm grateful that I have them but they haven't seen anything yet. And I'm far from done!