Granat eyes Swede return
Luke G. Williams
Sweden week on the Boxing Monthly website kicked off yesterday with an interview with Badou Jack. Today, we catch up with Swedish heavyweight prospect Adrian Granat.
Hot Swedish heavyweight prospect Adrian Granat can look back at 2016 with a large degree of satisfaction, having won four fights this year, all by stoppage, to take his professional record to 14-0, with 13 KOs and cement his reputation as one of the brightest young stars in the division.
His most recent victory was arguably the most impressive, as he became the first man to stop Berlin-based tough guy Franz Rill, clubbing him into submission in the sixth round with a series of big right hands, albeit while trailing on the judges’ scorecards.
In the days after his victory against Rill, Boxing Monthly caught up with Granat, who began by giving an honest assessment of his latest performance.
“What I can say is this,” the 25-year-old declared. “At the moment, it’s like I’m a jigsaw puzzle with ten pieces and three of the pieces don’t fit quite well, that’s my [boxing] at the moment. That’s where I’m at. So I’ve got some things to work on, which I know, and I’m happy that I could work through a couple of bad rounds to get the win.
“It was a great victory for me. I was a bit stiff in the beginning but then I improved and Rill was deteriorating round by round.
“I was focusing a little bit too much on the fact he was open to the right hand. I saw the openings and I thought a bit too much about it - I just needed to let [my punches] go. So I’m not going to get caught up in the fact I KO’d him. I still have things to learn and work on.”
Although Granat has been based in Germany for the past few years, his promoter Erol Ceylan is now planning a February 2017 homecoming bout for ‘The Pike’ in his hometown of Malmo.
“There have been many requests to have Adrian fighting in his hometown,” Ceylan explained. “A lot of Swedish fans are excited to have a world class heavyweight boxer form Sweden - a country where boxing has not been one of the major sports in recent years, most likely due to the fact that professional boxing was prohibited from 1960 to 2007. But things are changing. Sweden today has a lot of great boxers, including one world champion (Badou Jack). Professional boxing is growing in Sweden for sure.”
For his part, Granat is thrilled by the prospect of fighting in Malmo. “It will be the first time I’ve ever fought in my hometown so that would be cool,” he said. “If we can get a good opponent and make a good fight that would be great. When I last fought in Sweden it was only my first and second fights, so no one knew me and now it’s quite different.
“It is difficult for young boxers to make a living there. Even though the prohibition [of boxing] has gone the rules are still quite cumbersome. It is really tough for both boxers and promoters. However Sweden is the best country in the world and the interest towards professional boxing is growing fast now which is great. The support for me in Malmo is really extensive. Tickets for the event will be sold quickly.”
Granat is also keen to fight in the UK in the future. “I’m keen to come over to Britain,” he emphasised. “That’s where most of the action is right now, man! It would be an honour to fight in front of the British fans who I’ve heard such great things about. Of course, I recently called out a couple of British fighters (David Price, Dillian Whyte and Hughie Fury). Dillian and I started going back and forth on social media, but it was nothing concrete. We’ll see in the future, I’m up for any of those fights.
When pushed to say who he feels would represent the toughest challenge among this trio of British heavyweights, Granat weights his words carefully. “It’s hard to say but I think Whyte is probably the toughest guy mentally. I can’t really say about Hughie or Price, maybe they’re tough, maybe not.”
With heavyweight king Tyson Fury now out of action for the foreseeable future and his belts having become vacant, Granat believes the heavyweight division is intriguingly poised. “It’s sad for Tyson Fury and for the sport what has happened to him,” Granat admitted. “But it has created a lot of good opportunities for other fighters. Good fights are going to be made and that’s good for the fans and myself. It will be fun times. It’s nice to be a part of a heavyweight division which is flourishing. It’s great.
“My first ambition for 2017 is to clean up my boxing and make some small adjustments that I think will make a big difference so I’m ready to move up in class. My next fight will be someone around the level of Franz Rill, like top 50 or 60 or so. Then we’ll see how I perform and I’ll move on. Hopefully I’ll fight around three or four times next year.”