Dream undimmed: Lolenga Mock interview
Luke G. Williams
Photo: Ulla Bjulver
Super middleweight contender Lolenga Mock tells Boxing Monthly's Luke G. Williams that his world championship dream is alive and well as he looks to begin 2019 with a win...
On Saturday night in Struer, Denmark, one of the more remarkable quests in world boxing continues when 46-year-old Lolenga Mock, currently ranked number 12 by the WBC at 168lbs, participates in the 59th professional contest of his extraordinary career.
Mock is driven by a dream.
A dream of fighting for and winning a world title.
In his last fight in September he lost a highly controversial eliminator bout against Turkey’s Avni Yildirim via majority decision (112-113, 111-116, 113-113) – a reverse that halted a remarkable 11-fight winning run for the naturalised Dane that stretched back to the beginning of a comeback he began in 2015.
For Yildirim, victory secured a world championship fight for the vacant WBC title against Anthony Dirrell in February - a title shot that many believe should be Mock's by right.
However, despite this disappointment, Democratic of Congo-born Mock’s confidence and passion remain undimmed as a professional career that began in 1991 continues.
“My plan for this year is to win the world championship,” Mock told me just before Christmas. “I still have a good ranking with the WBC. The chance is still there to fight for the world championship. I still feel I will fulfil my goal.”
Reflecting on the Yildirim loss, Mock added: “I know I won the fight. OK, in the first round I lost my balance [went down] and that cost me two points.
"But I was the one making the fight. I was aggressive, I was a beast in the fight, you know. And I was winning the rounds. Maybe you could give him two or three rounds.
“All throughout the fight I was winning. In round nine I knocked him down and they refused to count it.
“I think it was in round ten, he was really struggling, I was looking to finish him. All through the fight he was holding me, holding me, holding me, then they paused the fight and the referee took one point from me!
“I was fighting in Germany as the foreigner, but everybody was supporting me and booing the referee for taking a point from me.
“But this is the profession of boxing, I know he [the referee] wanted to give Yildirim a chance to recover. A 10-second, 20-second pause in a fight can make a big difference.”
Mock pointed out that many journalists questioned the judges' scorecards.
“At the press conference after the fight, even the German journalists asked Yildirim's manager about the judge [who scored the fight 116-11 to Yildirim]. He was a flaky judge, a crazy judge.
"If the fight had been anywhere else, or in Denmark, Lolenga Mock would have won. How that judge could give a score like this I don't know.”
The support Mock received after the fight has encouraged him to pursue his world title ambition.
“Everyone was speaking positively about me after the fight," he pointed out. "Paul Gibson from [Mock's management company] MTK was at the fight and said: 'Lolenga, don't let your head drop, you should be very proud of your performance. You were excellent, you won the fight, I don’t know what happened [with the scores].'
"All that really motivated me. There are no negatives in my head. So I thought: OK, let's get back in the ring."
Mock thirsts for a chance to set the record straight with Yildirim.
“I’d like to have a rematch with Yildirim. I’d like to fight him again. His manager and Yildirim were talking a lot before the fight. Afterwards I was asking about a rematch and they took Yildirim away and he didn't say anything. A boxer must speak. Was he proud of winning like that? But he was just quiet!”
As you would expect from a man who has never backed down from a challenge - fighting the likes of David Haye, Charles Brewer, Mario Veit, Lucian Bute and Erik Skoglund - often on 'enemy' territory, Mock is willing to fight anyone at 168lbs, including the World Boxing Super Series winner, Britain's Callum Smith.
“Callum Smith is a very good fighter," Mock said. "His range is very good. I’d like to fight him if I got the opportunity. After my next fight we see what the result is and then we can push for a fight with Callum Smith or anyone. Me, I'm ready for anybody. I just want to get the opportunity.
"I was also very impressed with Canelo against Rocky Fielding. Canelo was the shorter man, but Fielding didn’t use his length and range. He fought Canelo in close, if you fight like that you’re open to the body. But Canelo’s performance was very good.
"If Canelo wanted to fight I’d fight him. I'm ready for all the super middleweights who have a title. I’m here any time."
In reference to his memorable 2003 showdown with then undefeated cruiserweight David Haye, a fight in which Mock so nearly secured a sensational victory, he then added: "If Callum Smith wants to make a voluntary Denmark is not far, or I'd love to fight again in England. It’s been a while since I fought there!”
First things first though - on Saturday Mock faces Argentinian Mateo Damian Veron.
"My training has been going very well," he said. "I'm ready for this fight. I’ve been training with some young boxers in the gym, there’s some good competition with them. That helps keep me performing at a high level."
With the passion and optimism that makes him such an inspirational figure, Mock concludes by expressing his faith with what the rest of 2019 will bring.
"I’m a believer that God will give me a chance in 2019 to fight for the world championship. Something is going to happen this year!”