I didn’t catch the bout between Howard Eastman and Evans Ashira so don’t feel qualified to comment on Ashira’s claims that he was robbed in their recent Middleweight bout. I read several reports suggesting Eastman delivered one of his trademark hollow performances but Ashira, in conversation with Henrik Risum assures the reader he was flat-out robbed: “Come on man, the guy had home ground advantage, plus all the officials on his side, and on top of that he was allowed to hold me like that, and pull my legs too. He even said himself that he had to ruin the fight to survive. Incredible!”
Former two-time world title challenger Evans “The African Warrior” Ashira (26-3, 13 KOs) has had time to reflect on his controversial decision loss to Howard Eastman in April for the Commonwealth middleweight title, where he felt he was victimised for being a free agent. In this interview Ashira speaks about what is going on, and how the future looks for him.
Evans, tell us a little bit about how you are doing and what is going on after what happened in England?
Right now, I am looking to return some time in July. People know how the fight with Eastman went down: I was on my own, fought him in his back yard, and only had two and a half weeks notice for the fight, but still kicked his ass all night. But he had everything to his advantage, from the promoter to the time-keeper. The biggest let-down however was the referee, who did not even think about doing his job properly. Holding is legal, but not excessively, which is definitely what Eastman did. Without a doubt! Pulling your opponents legs is illegal no matter how you look at it, and Eastman did that to me more than once. If the referee had been awake, he would have deducted at least three points from Howard for excessive holding and pulling my legs at least three times. The referee didn’t even mention this.
Many observers thought you won the fight by at least three points because you landed the cleaner punches and hurt him a couple of times, including in the last thirty seconds where he just survived by jumping on your legs and held them on his way down. What are your comments on that?
What can I say? When all is said and done, people who saw the fight will always remember he got a gift win. But those who did not see it will read what the press says and they can only make their decision on what they want to believe from that. I am happy that I know the truth, and he knows the truth: that title belongs to me! Everybody have the right to have their own opinion, and I will still fight all those pretenders out there anytime, anywhere!
As I understand it, Eastman said his preparations where good until the end, but that his travel situation was a problem, while his coach said he only trained for six days and had just two sparring sessions. What are your comments on that?
Well, that is like saying he is confused and don’t know what excuse to use since he got this gift victory. They did not have enough time to set up the excuse. At least Eastman was honest and said that everything was good except the travel. Howard just ruined the fight and had a generous referee and a even more generous judges. It was the trainer who tried to cover up his performance by making up the excuses. If you watch the interview after the fight, you can see that Eastman could not talk at first and wanted the interviewer to speak to his trainer while he sat back to catch his breath. Anyway, you know how it goes, I needed a knockout to win that fight, and you cant knock out someone who holds your arms and pulls your legs all night. Honestly, I just needed a serious referee to make it happen. Come on man, the guy had home ground advantage, plus all the officials on his side, and on top of that he was allowed to hold me like that, and pull my legs too. He even said himself that he had to ruin the fight to survive. Incredible!
What should we expect to happen with Evans Ashira now, and what is in the future for you?
The African Warrior is still here and ready to fight anyone anywhere, and I still believe there are a lot of pretenders in the middleweight and light middleweight top tens. Just call my manager Jan Andersen, and lets get it on, no excuses. People know what I am about; I boxed Joe Calzaghe with a snapped shoulder muscle and still did twelve rounds. No one mentioned that, and only spoke about Joe being injured. I snapped a muscle fibre in my right shoulder in the fourth round, everyone saw the big scar on my right shoulder at the Eastman fight, and it took me nine months to get back after surgery. I just turned Howard Eastman into a clown in my last fight, and I just need a little luck and the chance. I would love to do it one more time with Eastman. On TV, off TV, it doesn’t matter.
I heard you have a show coming up in Kenya with your new promotional company Ashira Oure Promotions Inc. Tell us about that!
Sure. This is a big project where we will bring out all the young warriors from Africa to show the world what they got. If everything comes through as we hope, we will try to offer Eastman a rematch in Mombasa. I would like to do it late September or October, but I hear he has a fight coming up with Wayne Elcock, so we have to see what happens with that. Otherwise, I could be going for the African title at middleweight or light middleweight.
What would you like to say to you fans out there?
I want to say that the African Warrior is going to be around for a long time still, and he is always for real. God willing my chance will come soon, and I will bring the home run to them. God bless you all!