Junior middleweight slugger James Kirkland is getting back into the world of HBO main events on Saturday when he heads to Mexico to face Alfredo Angulo in an explosive matchup, and he spoke with BoxingScene.com's Jake Donovan about being back in the gym with Ann Wolfe, who was not in his corner when Kirkland lost a TKO-1 stunner to Nobuhiro Ishida in April:
"People can say ‘Oh he doesn’t have a chin and this and that’ but I know the preparation wasn’t there. I didn’t have the right camp and spar different people with different strategies. My timing was off, nothing was prepared for the [Ishida] fight. ... The difference in this camp is I’ve trained for this fighter, not train just to train. Angulo is an explosive fighter. We’ve trained for a brutal contact fight. I’ve had sparring partners that have flown in from all around the world. I’m very happy. "
Kirkland (29-1, 26 KO) has gone 2-0 since reuniting with Wolfe, the formerly feared women's boxing star and now generally feared human being whose intensity is like no other trainer in the entire sport, really. Those wins came over no-chancers Dennis Sharpe (KO-1) and Alexis Hloros (TKO-2), after which Wolfe and Kirkland complained about the level of competition.
Clearly, they weren't just in this to rack up easy wins. To get back on the road to stardom, they knew they had to face legit competition. Angulo, who is also a rugged, hard-hitting fighter and has had his own issues outside of the ring with ex-promoter Gary Shaw and his visa, came up as an opponent. And true to his word, Kirkland signed for a risky, high-level fight.
You can't ask a lot more than that.