An Interview with Greek Boxing Champion Alexandros Tsanikidis
There will always be some people who are willing to sacrifice everything to see their dream be realized. While spending countless days attempting to reach perfection to succeed in their field, these people are defined as a being through their daily tasks. Many professional athletes are exactly these kinds of people. Earning recognition for their hard work is extremely important and while the Covid-19 Pandemic appeared and made everything more difficult for everyone, it is can be even tougher to pursue one’s own dreams while facing the new circumstances. A person that finds themselves currently in that situation is Boxer Alexandros Tsanikidis, who agreed to give an interview about his experiences and goals in the field of boxing; such as his message about the current situation that we face through the pandemic.
(*The following interview was conducted in Greek. It has been translated to English by the author)
A.B.: Alexander, give us please a short introduction of yourself.
A.T.: Well, I am from Greece and I am 26 years old.
A.B.: How many fights have you took part in during your career?
A.T.: I have had 270 amateur fights from which I fought 110 in Greece and the rest of the 160 abroad, in addition to one professional fight that I won through knock-out last October.
A.B.: How did you start with boxing?
A.T.: My father and my grandfather were also boxers, so it is a family business with which I grew up.
A.B.: Did the sport of boxing change your life?
A.T.: Yes, it indeed changed my life. Boxing taught me how to be disciplined and how to face difficulties, it also gave me physical and mental strength.
A.B.: What does it take to become a professional boxer?
A.T.: First of all, it takes really hard work, having a specific goal, patience, and a bit of talent.
A.B.: Why did you make the decision to train in Germany?
A.T.: In Germany I signed my contract with IG Sports Management for 3 years. Here the circumstances are better for my preparations, but I also continue my training in Greece. I stay each time 3-4 weeks in Germany before travelling back to Greece to do the same routine there.
A.B.: What is the difference in Boxing between Greece and Germany?
A.T.: In Greece, the state is not supporting their athletes as much as they need to be supported. The athletes have to try harder than their colleagues from abroad to make it in Greece. That involves for example sacrificing valued time to find sponsors. In Germany, the support is better and that gives you more motivation to continue.
A.B.: What is your impression about Germany as a country?
A.T.: It is totally different than Greece, but because I am travelling since I was a child it was not difficult for me to get used to my new environment and to do what I came to do, which is training for my next fights.
A.B.: Can you tell us a bit about your trainer?
A.T.: My first trainer was my father, who taught me the basics of boxing when I was young. After I joined the Greek national team when I was 16, I also had other trainers. At the moment I am training with Conny Mittenmeier who trained a lot of champions. He has great experience and can guide me through the professional path.
A.B.: With whom do you have your sparring sessions?
A.T.: With different partners, who are professionals and are chosen by my manager. I just focus on training correctly.
A.B.: How are the preparations for your next fight on the 27th of February going?
A.T.: The preparations are going well. The progress stopped a bit because of the pandemic but I am keeping myself in good shape.
A.B.: Do you already know some things about your opponent?
A.T.: Yes, my trainer and me had the opportunity to study him a bit. My philosophy is not underestimating any of my opponents and to show them the respect they deserve.
A.B.: What is your opinion about the Olympic Games in which you are a candidate to participate in?
A.T.: The Olympic Games are a dream for every athlete. They are historical games in which a lot of great athletes participated in the past and the desire of every athlete is to win the gold medal.
A.B.: Which boxers do you admire?
A.T.: Speaking about retired boxers I admire Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Junior because they revolutionized the style of boxing and although they had big failures in their lives, they did not quit, but continued to work at achieving greatness again. From the active boxers I admire Canelo Álvarez and George Kambosos Junior but mainly the retired ones because the circumstances in the past were harder than they are currently for our generation.
A.B.: How did the Covid-19 pandemic influence your path in boxing?
A.T.: It has influenced all fields of sports. It has created an insecurity that affect us athletes directly because we are used to work by planning exactly the course we want to take and that nowadays does not exist.
A.B.: What are you currently aiming for?
A.T. My only goal is to qualify for the Olympic Games of Tokyo. The qualifications started last year in London but were cancelled because of the pandemic and will start again this year in April. I am pursuing my participation in the Games the last 10 years and I am hoping to see this dream be realized soon. After that as a professional I want to win the fights that will follow in the future.
A.B.: Alexander, do you have a last message for the people that are also facing difficulties provoked by the pandemic?
A.T.: Remain confident during this time. It is really not easy for everyone, but we have to keep fighting every difficult situation life is throwing at us. Try to use the time we have now to do things for what you had not the time in the past and of course stay positive for a better future.
A.B. And do you have also a message for all the athletes or the people that want to become athletes?
A.T. Yes. Do not stop pursuing your dreams because with your personal sacrifices and your hard work you will achieve greatness in the future.
(Mr. Tsanikidis won the Bronze Medal at the 2018 Mediterennean Games in Spain and hopes to qualify for the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo. The Millennium Agora thanks him for his interview)