Billy Joe Saunders vs Demetrius Andrade – Meet the challenger
Ahead of Billy Joe Saunders vs Demetrius Andrade on October 20 in Boston, the 25-0 (16) challenger, a rangy southpaw and former 154lbs ruler from Providence, Rhode Island, speaks to Danny Flexen
Demetrius Andrade on his background
My dad’s parents came to America from the African island of Cape Verde and they had dad here in America. Cape Verde was a Portugese colony until 1975 and New England had a lot of import-export work here. I have been everywhere else but there, but I aim to go by the end of the year. There are a lot of Cape Verdeans in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and I get a lot of love there. Of course I get a lot of attention from Cape Verde itself as well.
My mom is a school teacher, my dad has his own carpentry business. I have two brothers, one younger and one older brothers. We were all into boxing but it’s not an easy sport, it’s not for everybody, we all did it, I’m the one who stuck with it. My dad had a gym back in those days, I was 4-5 years older, my older brother was 8-9 and my dad was always in the gym, training him and other pros. I played all types of sports: football, basketball, tennis, I tried it all but football and boxing we stuck with all through my teenage years then I had to make a decision and boxing just stuck with me, because it was a one-man sport. I like to win, and I didn’t have to blame or depend on anyone else but me.
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Providence was developing then, we lived around more like Dominicans and Puerto Ricans, not really the Cape Verdean community. There was good and bad, but dad kept us in the gym, we got out of school and went straight to the gym, so we didn’t have time for trouble or a wrong path to go down. As time goes on, you get into things because you want to try new life experiences, but our parents did a great job keeping us active.
Demetrius Andrade on his amateur career
As a young kid, I never really thought of a future in boxing for that long, when you’re a kid doing the same thing all day every day, that’s all you know. Then as teens you start looking into your future, you’ve got to take care of yourself, but we were fortunate enough to have parents to supply anything we needed. I was also getting paid from boxing, a monthly stipend for everyone in the national top 10 or something, every tournament you win you get more money per month. I went to the 2008 Olympics then turned pro; it just happened. But I guess when I went to the Pan-Ams and won the silver medal, in Brazil – I got robbed [losing 7-6 in the final to a native, Pedro Lima] - and won a gold medal at the 2007 World Championships, I was like, ‘Ain’t nobody f***ing with me.
Nothing compares to the Olympics, it’s only every four years, every country coming together, there’s no bigger stage and the whole world can tune in. If I lose, I lose, but I got robbed [lost a contentious 11-9 decision] at the Olympics. No disrespect to the guy I fought [Korea’s Kim Jung-Joo], but I was upset and disappointed. Life goes on, I made the decision to turn pro and I am where I am because of the type of experiences I’ve been through; I don’t want them to happen again so I train smarter and harder.
Demetrius Andrade on father/trainer Paul Andrade
I have trained with my father my whole life, apart from one fight under Virgil Hunter in early 2013 [a wide points win over Freddy Hernandez]. It wasn’t really a training thing, it was more like a father and son bumping heads and not getting along. I was becoming a man of course, and one thing I realised was parents don’t like to see young ones go off, they want to make the decisions because they have been all their life. I realised the best place for me was with my dad through boxing and life, he’s always gonna have the best interests for me. He’s looking at it for what’s best for his family, I have to respect that and he has to respect my feelings too. We hashed it out. I can do this with you or without you because you have taught me the right stuff, but why should it be like that when all we have to do is work out how to get along.
He’s been training me since I was yay high so he knows what I’m capable of doing, he can see what needs to be corrected because I can look good to you, but he can be like, ‘We’ve got to fix that s***’, and that’s the difference. He’ll def pick that up because I can walk in any gym today and they’ll be like, ‘Wow you look good,’ but my dad will see it. He knows I have a lot of talent and skill, so I can get away with a lot, but we don’t rely on that, we tighten it up.