Brian Nicholson, Okespa?l
Highland High graduate Chris "Kid Kayo" Fernandez became the first Utahn to defend his world championship boxing title (WBU welterweight) in Utah since Danny "Little Red" did so in 1978. He is just the third Utahn to earn a world championship in boxing.
Q: how did you feel after your victory?
A: It was an amazing feeling. The atmosphere, the crowd, I've never ever felt anything like that in my life. The energy and the support was amazing. ... There was no way I was going to lose the fight. What I didn't like was the excuses he made after the fight.
Q: why did you wear a native American headdress?
A: I'm a Ute fan. I wanted to show respect, pay homage to my city, and also tell the world I'm a warrior. I believe, honestly, I transform myself when I fight. I'm very humble, down to earth outside the ring. Once I get in there, I have to transform to a warrior.
Q: What's next for you?
A: We've been talking about a challenge coming out of England. ... We're also looking at fighting in February, maybe an IBU belt holder, and then again in Salt Lake in April we'd have another fight where I could defend both my belts. I'm getting older. I don't like the long waits of six or seven months. If I don't fight, I don't eat. I have to stay active. I don't want to do this forever, so I want to take advantage of my abilities right now.
Q: What's your dream fight?
A: Manny Pacquiao or Floyd Mayweather Jr. — both of those guys would be a dream fight. It's all about fighting the very best. I've fought three current world champions, and I would love to se where I am at now. I love to compete. I'm so competitive in everything I do. You want to compete against the very best, and I've fought the best and I've held my own. I think I'm a better fighter now — mentally and physically — and I'm more confident now than I have ever been in my life.
Q: What do you love about boxing?
A: You don't like the contact, but you get used to the contact. And you don't shy away from it. I love the sport. I do this because I love to compete, and this is the ultimate competitor's sport. There is nothing like one on one. … It's like playing chess but you're getting hit.
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