Danny Batchelder has not fought since losing a fourth round knockout to former world champion Lamon Brewster, in a fight that he was winning up to the point he made a split second mental error. Danny has lived that fight over and over, realizing that he was beating one of the best fighters in the division, let his guard down for a second and paid for it. Danny has been scheduled to fight a couple of times since then, but the first fight card was cancelled at the last minute and then Danny suffered a mis-diagnosed injury just before his latest scheduled bout. Danny is now scheduled to fight former heavyweight contender Lance "Mount" Whitaker on July 17th, in a fight that will help put the winner back into the heavyweight title mix.
Danny Batchelder recently sat down with Convicted Artist to discuss this fight and his future.
Bob Carroll (BC): Danny, you were scheduled to fight Bowie Toupu last May, but suffered an injury that at first seemed to be a hernia, but was then found to be a minor tear in a muscle. How disappointed were you that you had to be pulled from that fight and how is the injury now?
Danny Batchelder (DB): That was disappointing because that was going to be a real good fight, but it turned out okay. The injury is totally fine, it’s gone, I got it healed up and I am scheduled to fight Lance Whitaker now, so everything seemed to work itself out for the best, you know?
BC: You also had another fight card that you were scheduled to fight on cancelled. Have you been staying active in the gym?
DB: Yeah, I’ve been in the gym continuously. I’m not a guy to sit around and do nothing. I am working out 4-5 times a week, at least doing something, you know? It wasn’t like I was ever totally out of shape. I am always keeping myself active.
BC: You are now scheduled to take on Lance "Mount" Whitaker on July 17th in California. How did this fight come about?
DB: John Ellis. He is a promoter who got in contact with my trainer, George Garcia and was asking about me. John got my phone number and gave me a call. He asked me to come out to California, so I went out and met with him. He said he had a card coming up and Lance Whitaker was scheduled to be on the card. John said he would love to match Lance and I up, and you know me Bob, I don’t go around anybody, so I figured that Lance would be a great opportunity and a great fight for people to watch, so I took the fight.
BC: How much do you know about "Mount" Whitaker?
DB: Oh, a lot. Lance has been around forever. Everyone has seen Lance. Lance has been up to the top of the heavyweight division and was around the top for a while. Warriors had signed him, one of my old trainers trained him, I know a couple of other trainers that have worked with him. So I know a lot about Lance, I’ve seen him fight a few times. He’s a big strong guy, his size definitely helps him. I definitely know a lot about him and what I need to do in this fight to be successful.
BC: Whitaker comes in with a 7 inch height advantage. You have fought taller opponents before, so how do you fight a taller opponent?
DB: Well, you know, you have to outwork them, especially when you get inside, you have to make sure you keep your work rate up higher than theirs. I’ve always been good against tall guys anyway. I would rather fight a tall guy than a short guy. There are less chances of a head butts. The taller guys don’t bother me at all. I just get myself in the best shape I can and as long as my wind is up, there is no trouble!
BC: Lance Whitaker comes into this fight looking for a victory after being beaten by Jason Estrada. You also come into this fight looking for a victory, although your losses have come against world class fighters. Do you feel that your recent experience gives you an edge in this fight?
DB: Well it definitely gives me an edge. I’ve been in the ring at a high level my last three fights. It has become routine to be fighting at this high of a level, against a fighter that has been in a position of a top contender. Lance has been in the ring at the top level, and I am going in the ring against a guy who has again, been to the top , a place that I want to be at, and will be after I beat Lance!
BC: In the back of your mind, do you have any thoughts that Lance Whitaker may be looking at you as someone he can beat and make his way back into title contention?
DB: Well I am sure that Lance feels he can beat me, he took the fight, you know? I’m sure Lance is confident. Lance has been in against some big names. He knocked out former world champion Oleg Maskaev, he’s been in against (Sultan) Ibragimov. Lance has been in the ring with a lot of good fighters. I’m sure that Lance is planning on winning this fight. I’m sure he is coming into the ring to make it look good, and I feel that will make this fight that much better for the fans! I really look forward to this fight!
BC: What does Danny Batchelder want to prove to the world with this fight?
DB: Just that I belong with the top guys in the heavyweight division, you know? The last few fights, I didn’t get the wins I should have gotten, but none of those guys have blown me out or done anything to me. I just want to show that I belong up there with them and that I can be successful in the upper echelon level of the heavyweights.
BC: You have made some changes in your training team. Tell us about the changes.
DB: I have George Garcia as my head trainer. My new strength and conditioning coach is Cem Eren. He has really been awesome! He has helped my stamina and conditioning a great deal the way he trains. Between George and Cem, they work me really hard! I feel great and I have been pushing it harder than I have in a while! I am definitely going to be in good ten round shape and going to fight hard every round.
BC: After this fight, what would you like to do next?
DB: Well, you know, move onto a bigger and better fight. When I beat Lance, you know, Lance still has a big name and he can still fight. So when I beat Lance, we will just be looking for the best offer that is put in front of us. Right now, we will go against Lance and get by him, that will be good. Of course we will look for the best fight, the best money and a fight that will put me up to a higher level next.
BC: I know that you will fight anyone, but former Arkansas Heavyweight Champion, "THE Big Dog" Benny Henderson Jr. has consistently called you out. You seem to not pay him much attention. Could Benny be the one fighter that Danny Batchelder is nervous about fighting?
DB: Well, I’m starting to pay more attention to Benny! Benny used to call me all the time. Now, he doesn’t call me anymore, he’s not as friendly now. I think he is trying to build up the fight a little bit. I’m starting to take more notice to what Benny is doing. That fight may be in the works here in a short time. I figure that I can find Benny’s favorite pub down in Texas, and we could put on a fight out in the parking lot (both writer and Danny laughing).
BC: Since the Philadelphia Eagles are going to win the Super Bowl this year, have come to your senses and made the logical switch to Da’ Birds?
DB: (laughing) NO WAY! You know the Philadelphia Eagles are in trouble. Their receiver is too busy playing on E! TV with that Kendra girl from Playboy! You know they are not going anywhere!
BC: Well it shows that he is a smart man at least!
DB: (laughing) Quit lying Bob, that’s the reason why you are an Eagles fan! You’re only a fan because of her!
BC: Danny, you have many fans around the world. What would you like to tell them and the readers of Convicted Artist Magazine?
DB: I'd like to tell them, don't give up on me. I'm going to get in there and get this win. I still have some fight in me and I belong with the top guys in the division. I'm about to show you that real soon. I'd like to thank a few people if I could Bob. First I'd like to thank my trainer George Garcia and Cem Eren, my good friend in California George Giouros, Joe Serrano, Tommy Barresi and I have to thank my brother big time, Jeff Batchelder, he has my two little boys right now while I am training. I also need to thank my girlfriend Michelle because she helps me out every chance she gets. Boy, she really has done a lot for me. She has been a huge help to me. She puts up with a lot too.
I would like to thank Danny Batchelder for taking time out of his training to speak to Convicted Artist