16 professional fights, 15 victories, 9 KO. But this, it was before. Since one year, Mathieu Bauderlique (1,85 m) came back to the amateur format. His goal ? Rio of course !
By granting himself the right to compete in the -81 kg world final of the APB league (AIBA Pro Boxing) in July 2015, he qualified for the Olympics. But that wasn’t enough for the French champion.
After beating Irish Ward in ¼ of finals and, then, Bulgarian Genov in ½ finals, Mathieu Bauderlique unseated Iranian Ehsan Rouzbahari and became the APB world champion in September 2015. He will meet those 3 fighters in Rio. The only ne who beat him was Rouzbahari in 2014. Why not a revenge in the Games’ finale ?
Why did you chose to practise boxing ?
It seems that I fell into it when I was little. My father is a former boxer. He was an amateur and fought a few times. He was already taking me to boxing when I was in the carrycot. We can say that I steeped in boxing !
Have you tried some other sports ?
Yes, I tried several ones. I practised Judo, track and field and Full-contact, in which I trained for 2 years, but I didn’t fight. I practiced Judo for quite a long time, as a child and then from 11 to 14 years old. I am a green belt.
« It’s hard to come back to the amateur format »
Do you have any models in boxing ?
I have quite some… First, Marvin Hagler. I love his style. And, like everybody, Muhammed Ali and Mike Tyson.
What are your ambitions in Rio ?
I go for Gold, of course ! But I know it’s going to be a very hard competition. I haven’t fought in international amateur tournaments since 2011. But I am confident. I think as the Olympic champion even I have been wacking for 5 years in professional boxing and it’s hard to come back to the amateur format.
What was your training program to reformat yourself to amateur boxing ?
Since last January, we participated to several international camps. I have got back to the National team and I follow its preparation. I train 4 days a week, which means 25 to 28 hours of weekly training. We work cardio and speed. We do many thematic sparrings.
What did you work in priority ?
Amateur rythm and strikes’ flow are totally different compared to what we do in professionals. It’s a lot more intense but it’s also shorter. We could compare them to a long-distance run and a sprint. There is less observation and more rythm. I had to work hard in order to adapt myself again to it.
« It was my child’s dream… »
Do you feel the same sensations today that you used to have before being a professional ?
I have been starting to recover my sensations. I have more than a month left. I have many things still to work on. It will be enough even if it’s not going to be easy. But the Ferrari will perfectly work during the Olympics (he laughs).
We end up our preparation by a 2 weeks training camp in the US at high altitude. Then, we will do a cohesion camp for 3 or 4 days with GIGN (the French SWAP). And, eventually, we go to Italy from July 20th to 27th, right before leaving for Rio.
You wrote off the Games when you became professional. You should bless the creation of APB (AIBA Pro Boxing) in 2014…
It’s true that I totally put the Games aside. It was my child’s dream… I have never thought that I will get a 2nd chance. It’s the result of hard work.
I could do it thanks to the creation of the APB, which is like a revolution in our boxing world (this professional circuit was created and is administered by the international federation, AIBA). I integrated it because, in France, it’s hard to live as a professional boxer. With APB, I am correctly paid. I am treated as a real pro, like all my team.
« We fear no one »
You became world champion by beating the running one, Ehsan Rouzbahari from Iran (TKO 8th round), who is the only one to beat you in professionals. Do you think of a 3rd round in Rio ?
He is an opponent among other ones. I also beat some other qualified athletes. I think of Irish Joseph Ward, amateur vice world champion and European champion, who I beat before the limit. He is ranked n°4 in our category. Both are boxers who should not be dismissed in Rio.
Who do you most fear ?
At this level of competition, we fear no one. I am more afraid of myself, because of the difficulties to come back to the amateur format, to get my sensations back. But, to be the best, you should beat the best.
« To have fun first »
If I say Rio…
I think of a very big event, with a lot of happiness, a lot of colors, mainly the French ones (he laughs). I am very patriotic. And I am very proud to represent France at the Olympic Games. It’s really a point of pride. It’s something fantastic.
In pro, you have 9 victories before the limit (in 16 fights). When you step in the ring, do you always look for KO ?
Not really. I try first to destroy my opponent. In professional, we work more on a long term (6 to 8 rounds). Anyways, in boxing, KO comes by itself. But, I will have to forget about it for the Olympic Games where it’s a scoring boxing
Besides boxing, what do you like to do ?
I like to spend time with my family. I love to eat (he laughs). I haven’t any problems with weight anymore. I used to have some when I was in the -75 kg category. That’s the reason why I quit the National team in 2011. In 2012, I moved up to the 81 kg one. And I feel very good in it.
What advice would you give to a teenager boxer ?
To have fun first. Boxing is an extraordinary sport in which you can learn to know yourself better and to go to your limits.
où l’on apprend à se connaître et à dépasser ses limites. It helps a lot channelling.