Tomorrow evening, Singapore’s very own Muhamad Ridhwan will take on Jeson Umbal of the Phillipines for the IBO Intercontinental title. Should the title come his way, it’ll take him one step closer to a shot at the World Title. Given how much the 30-year-old has sacrificed thus far, you can bet your bottom dollar he’s going to put on a show at the Singapore Indoor Stadium tomorrow. Speaking to us while he got ready for his final few training sessions at the gym last week, The Chosen Wan, as he’s come to be known, tells us what his mental state is like going into the fight.
Ridhwan, how has 2018 been for you so far?
Well it’s only just begun, more opportunities are going to come my way if I win this fight. I just have to work hard, sacrifice, and just have faith that things will work out. So far, the opportunities are quite exciting.
How’s training camp been?
To be very honest, it has been just as tough as the previous ones. For this fight camp though, we brought in a sparring partner from the Phillipines, a southpaw, just like the opponent I’m coming up against.
What’s your mental state like, going into this fight?
I’m pretty calm and focused on the task at hand. I know my opponent is a power puncher, and he’s said many times he’s going to knock me out. From his records, it’s obvious he is a power puncher, so I think he’s going to go for it if he sees the chance. He’s going to be in for a surprise when it comes to fight night, though.
Physically, has this fight prep been different from the previous ones?
I think most of the changes had to do with the boxing, in terms of the fight plan and the strategy. In the other areas of training, like strength and conditioning, we tweaked the program to work on how I’m going to move around the ring. Apart from that, we kept things the same.
Nutrition is a big part of the plan as well, I’m presuming. Do you have someone to take care of that for you?
No, I don’t. I plan my own meals most of the time, but some days I head down to eat at my food stall Beng Who Cooks, over on Upper Cross Street. I wouldn’t call it healthy food, but it’s definitely healthier than most options out there. Right now, my weight is on track for the fight. I’m actually going down a weight class in this bout, which will take place at 57kg. I walk around at 67kg. I’m a few kilograms away from the weight limit, so it’s good progress.
Scott O’Farrell was telling us that you’re even faster now. How are you feeling, physically?
I’ve got speed and strength on my side now, and I think it’s a good balance for taking on my opponent, who’s going to be banking on power. Being able to move around the ring will make the difference because to knock me out, he’s got to land his punches first, and if I’m quick enough, that’s not going to happen.
How do you plan these weight cuts? We understand it’s serious business and fighters have injured themselves trying to make weight.
I usually have a sit-down with my boxing and strength conditioning coaches, and we chat about the plan. We make sure I have enough sustenance to last the tough training, but also ensure I’m on track for the gradual weight cut. At the end of the week we do a review to see if we’ve hit the weight target, and for the past few weeks we’ve always dones so. So like I said, we’re well on track for the fight.
What’s the training for the fight camp like?
Tough. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays we do long runs or strength conditioning in the mornings and sparring sessions in the afternoon. On Tuesdays and Thursdays we do shorter runs or sprints in the morning and boxing-focused training in the afternoon. That’s when we work on the game plan and strategy. On Saturdays we do another long run, and if I’m up for it, a light jog on Sundays.
What goes through your mind from the time you leave the locker room to when you get to the ring?
My mind will be in the moment, focused on the opponent in the ring. I think about all the things I’ve worked for, everything I’ve sacrificed, and the gameplan. I need to be mentally present in the moment. The faster I get in the zone, the faster I can get into the rhythm of the fight.
How are you envisioning the fight with Jeson will go? Knockout or go the distance?
I don’t think this fight will go 12 rounds. I think it’s going to go maybe 8 or 9 rounds. It’s either going to be a knockout or my opponent is going to get frustrated, start making mistakes and give up.
The Roar Of Singapore IV — “The Night Of Champions” happens tomorrow at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. We’re going to be there to root for The Chosen Wan, you should too. Get your tickets here.