“There’s no greater thing for me at this particular time, as far as what is important, and that is being the heavyweight champion of the world; eventually winning it and hopefully unifying the titles, holding them for a few years and then getting out”. – Eddie Chambers
Having the opportunity to sit and talk with “Fast” Eddie Chambers, 35-2, 18 KO’s, was more than just time spent with one of today’s relevant heavyweights and gaining rare perspective and insight into the current heavyweight division, it was about understanding the evolution of one man’s character and his eventual conquest of the doubts and fears that get the better of so many of us. The hills and valleys that shaped his formative years, the family spirit that manifest itself in his childhood work ethic and his desire to climb our sport’s all but unattainable summit in search of its most valued prize are all inter-related aspects of a man that in many ways seems a contrary character given the very nature of boxing.
For me it was a pleasure to represent RSR and spend a few moments with Eddie to talk about his beginning, his experiences in the ring and his ambition for the future.
MP: You came from a very humble beginning. Tell us about your roots. How did you first become involved with boxing?
I started at nine years-old learning how to box and actually was competing until about 14. Growing up, my dad owned a few bars and we had a pretty good living going, then things went south; we ended up losing both. We lost one and then had the other one going which was making us a great deal of money, then we later lost that. Later we had moved over to a house that we had, we had separate houses, one away from our home, so living there he started to show me how to box and everything. Things were basically at a real minimum for us. Money, we really didn’t have a lot of it to go around. So at age 9 I started learning how to box. We started delivering papers to make ends meet. We finally got lucky enough to deliver papers to feed six people in our home, which was pretty difficult. From there at the age of 14 I started to compete in boxing.
As I was in school, and the fact that I got into boxing because of our humble beginnings, which was mainly because I was getting laughed at and teased a lot by the kids about not having the nicest clothes and things like that, my father’s exact words were “I’m going to make him a monster”. So he took me to the gym, which he figured would give me the confidence, to make me at least believe in myself enough to look somebody in the eye a little better as far as people who would give me trouble in school. I was initially very passive, a nice kid that didn’t like to get into fights or any confrontation, so I didn’t like it at first.
I went into my first match thinking I was going to lose, and actually hoping so that I had a reason to quit, and I won. The crazy thing was that I won. Then I figured it would happen in the next fight because I had absolutely no confidence in myself, zero confidence. And so I made it to the Golden World championships and I won both by stoppage early. So I said let me at least take it and see what this thing is about, continue on with it and maybe it will be a little more than I had expected, and it turned out to be that way, and here I am here today.
MP: You were blessed with an attentive father who instilled in you a strong faith in God. What role does your belief in God play in your day to day life as well as in your career?
One thing is for sure, I don’t have a real religious affiliation where I’m like a Muslim or a Christian, I just believe in a higher power and that there’s someone there to follow, so I always tried to be a good person when I started out. I show people respect and that’s one of the things I live by and how I do things.
MP: You turned professional 10 years ago on December 29th, 2000 with a 2nd round stoppage over one Tyrone Austin in West Virginia. What do you recall of that night and how did it feel getting that initial assignment out of the way?
I can tell you one thing, I was so nervous; I didn’t know what to do. I thought I couldn’t have been any more nervous than I was for my first amateur fight. When I turned professional I was even more nervous than that. I remember hoping there was an accident or something would happen were I would get hurt and I didn’t have to fight. But that would be delaying the inevitable and we’d have to fight anyway. I wanted to figure a way out of it. But when I got in there and after the initial punches were thrown, I was through it all. Afterwards I believed it was a great decision to move forward despite myself, to come through it with a victory, and not only a victory but a stoppage win. It was crazy nerves. It was incredibly scary. Like I said, I was passive and it seemed really hard at first. Once I got into it, a few fights down the road, it started to get a little easier.
MP: With a record of 23-0 you won the IBU and Pennsylvania State heavyweight titles. You were beating bigger men with your speed and guile. What was going through your mind after this win?
Actually that was one of the tougher fights I’ve had to date, mainly because I was severely over trained for it, but after winning the fight, initially I was upset with myself, I didn’t take care of things the way I wanted to. It’s was the first time I had ever won a decision that was that close. From then on I decided to make sure to be attentive to everything that I did; not to over train, under train, to try to do things just right. After sleeping on it, on what happened, I felt great. I watched a tape of it and felt a little better about it. I was really happy to finally have won a belt. You how important it is to have trophies and things like that for kids or guys that compete in something? Winning that belt was a big step for me. Just looking at my performance, I thought I could have done so much better, prepared so much smarter. Not better, but smarter.
MP: I first took notice of you when you outpointed Dominick Guinn, then after that Calvin Brock. Hand speed and technique are the hallmarks of your game. Bigger heavyweights always try to impose their size and strength upon you but do you feel you are able to impose yourself on them with your notable attributes?
Absolutely, and I think that my way of doing it is a little better than theirs because with size comes the laboring to use it. Even if you are big and have the ability and things like that, it takes a lot more out of them, to use their ability than it does for me. I can slip my way through things, I can actually raise my level and raise some of the things I do to make their job all the more difficult. I think the speed and the dexterity and ring generalship I possess; it makes it very difficult for bigger guys to use their size on me. There’s only one guy I’ve faced that I had huge trouble dealing with, Wladimir Klitschko.
MP: You later stumbled losing a wide unanimous decision to Alexander Povetkin in an IBF title eliminator. What happened?
Well I was dominating it early and had control, but there’s one thing I regret; the way I trained for it, I didn’t have much time to get ready. What I did was try get in a whole lot of training into a little bit of time, and it pretty much blew that fight in the second half. Don’t get me wrong, much of it is mental too. If you are out there, even if you are tired and you are feeling weak, you still have to perform, so it was a lot to do with my game mentally. Through it you still have to be able to adjust and deal with whatever comes along, and that’s what I should have done. To answer your question, I put in three a day workouts; one early, road work, lift in the afternoon, and do my boxing and sparring later. I only had 17 days worth of camp time to do it. And I’d follow that schedule three or four times a week, all the while wearing my body down every day trying to get my weight down to a certain point. By fight night, after the 6th round I didn’t have much left.
MP: You put together three solid wins before stepping in as a decided underdog with former WBC heavyweight champion Samuel Peter. Many figured you to lose that contest but instead you applied your guile and spirit, clearly outpointing and outfighting the much larger contender. What do you recall of Peter?
A lot of people thought with him being strong and a big puncher and everything, all of those attributes go for naught when you can’t land the shots or put on the kind of pressure that’s necessary to win. I think in the end he really didn’t have what it took to compete at a high enough level to win the fight. But I do remember him; he was determined to at least try to land those shots. He was fairly strong and I remember him being a tough solid guy, but at the same time, he didn’t possess the boxing skills or the speed to keep up and that was the determining factor in our fight.
MP: Perhaps your greatest win to date, the systematic dismantling of Alexander Dimitrenko in July 2009. You out-sped, out-boxed and out-foxed the much larger undefeated German, flooring him at one point. You did all of this at 208lbs, and you did it much like I imagine Muhammad Ali would have done it. Comment on this fight for our readers.
I went into the fight as an obviously decided underdog. A lot of people thought his size would be enough, and don’t get me wrong, he was talented and was able to box; he had that ability. Even determination, as he started to lose a foothold in the fight as the fight went on, he still gave a determined effort to at least be in the fight and try for a knockout and for the win. As it went on he realized my speed, and that he couldn’t land a telling shot or a punch that would change the course of the fight, and even if he did that the shot wouldn’t have mattered that much because of how strong my chin was. I know that it’s so difficult for bigger guys to believe when they get in the ring with a guy so small, that is able to still do all the things that I’m able to do; push them back, pick them up, whatever necessary to keep them realizing that this guy’s not a joke, this guy’s not a game, just because he’s a small guy, a nice guy, he’s still very much a monster in the ring. It really is demoralizing when you see a guy like myself, who doesn’t have a fighter’s look, doesn’t look like an athlete, but to see that and to just almost not be able to do anything about it, it’s just demoralizing and I think in the end that proved to be the difference.
MP: Earlier this year you fought Wladimir Klitschko for his IBF/WBO, Ring Magazine heavyweight titles. What happened?
Wladimir controlled the distance and he controlled the pace of the fight. If I would have been thinking better that night, I would have increased the pace and put my foot on the gas a little more; make him work, make him do things he’s not comfortable doing, throwing a lot of punches, moving a lot. In any case, I should have stepped on it and made him do things he was not used to doing and at a rate he was not used to doing it at.
MP: At age 28, it would appear that you have years left in the game. Is you aspiration still to win the heavyweight title and did you learn anything from the loss to Klitschko that you feel you can use to your benefit moving forward?
There’s no greater thing for me at this particular time, as far as what is important, and that is being the heavyweight champion of the world; eventually winning it and hopefully unifying the titles, holding them for a few years and then getting out. That’s definitely my quest. And also, being in there with Wladimir shows you truly what a great champion is. A lot of people want to discount him because he’s boring and isn’t a fan’s fighter, and that’s true to a degree; to a degree. If there was someone to push him to the level of showing the things he has to show I think he would do so.
The experience I got from that was seeing how to really operate; not only how a champion operates but how a champion’s team operates, how they’re professional. There are certain guys to do this and certain guys to do that. The trainer’s in his place and you’ve got Wladimir who’s the main guy in his place, doing what he needs to do. That’s what a championship team is made of. If you look at basketball, and I’ll use basketball as an analogy for this, if you look at the Los Angeles Lakers who are now the two-time champions basketball; they’ve got a super star in Kobe Bryant, then they have the people around him, then they have the trainers and a Hall of Fame coach, just like Wladimir had a Hall of Fame coach in his corner, and they all come together as the championship level team and nothing less, and that’s what he is.
As a fighter, he continues to win, in my opinion and a lot of other’s opinions, impressively enough to where he hasn’t really been contested in his last, I don’t know how many fight now. So that’s the kind of champion he is and that’s what I learned from my fight with him and what I will take into my future; do the things that are necessary to be the world champion and stay on top for a long time.
MP: When will we see “Fast” Eddie Chambers in the ring again?
Nothing is set yet but we are talking about a rematch with Derric Rossy and right now it looking like that’s what’s going to happen in February. I’m ready to get back in there. I’m going to be ready as soon as it’s time for me in that ring.
MP: Is there anything you would like to say to your fans?
I’d just like to say I appreciate the fan support that I have and I love all my supporters and like I said, like I always say, I’m kind of surprised how far athletes and especially fighters really reach, because boxing is such a worldwide sport. I really, really appreciate all of the support from all over the globe, all of the fans that I have. I definitely want to keep them proud and happy and the things I’m willing to do is to continue to work hard inside and outside of the ring so that eventually hold that title above my head and be world heavyweight champion.
Professional Record: 35-2, 18 KO’s
Date Opponent W-L-D Location Result
2000-12-29 Tyrone Austin 1-11-0 Chester, US W TKO 2
2001-03-03 Ed Barry 1-4-0 Burgettstown, US W KO 1
2001-04-07 Scott Hosaflook 0-1-0 Pittsburgh, US W TKO 3
2001-04-20 Joe Lenhart 4-7-1 Burgettstown, US W UD 6
2001-06-23 Anthony Prince 2-4-0 Burgettstown, US W KO 1
2001-08-03 Joe Lenhart 5-9-1 Pittsburgh, US W PTS 6
2001-08-25 Carlos Igo 2-0-0 Burgettstown, US W UD 6
2001-10-27 Mark Johnson 4-15-0 Steubenville, US W TKO 4
2002-04-26 David Chappell 4-0-0 Pittsburgh, US W UD 8
2002-05-24 David Chappell 4-1-0 Philadelphia, US W UD 6
2002-09-20 Antonio Colbert 5-24-0 Philadelphia, US W TKO 5
2002-12-06 Dean Storey 5-10-2 Philadelphia, US W UD 6
2003-02-21 Kevin Tallon 9-12-0 Philadelphia, US W TKO 1
2003-04-25 Craig Tomlinson 23-13-1 Philadelphia, US W TKO 4
2003-08-15 Allen Smith 23-29-5 Philadelphia, US W KO 2
2003-12-05 Sam Tillman 9-4-1 Philadelphia, US W TKO 3
2004-02-27 Cornelius Ellis 7-7-0 Philadelphia, US W MD 8
2004-04-23 Marcus Rhode 29-24-1 Philadelphia, US W TKO 2
2004-06-25 John Sargent 27-3-0 Philadelphia, US W TKO 1
2004-10-08 Ron Guerrero 16-11-3 Philadelphia, US W UD 10
2004-12-03 Louis Monaco 13-28-4 Philadelphia, US W UD 10
2005-04-22 Melvin Foster 24-12-1 Philadelphia, US W TKO 5
2005-05-17 Ross Puritty 30-18-3 Philadelphia, US W UD 10
2005-09-09 Robert Hawkins 20-3-0 Philadelphia, US W UD 12
IBU Heavyweight Title
vacant USA Pennsylvania State Heavyweight Title
2006-02-10 Andrew Greeley 10-10-2 Philadelphia, US W UD 8
2006-06-02 Ed Mahone 23-6-2 Philadelphia, US W TKO 4
2006-08-19 Domonic Jenkins 9-5-1 Reno, US W TKO 5
2007-02-09 Derric Rossy 15-0-0 Selden, US W TKO 7
vacant USBA Heavyweight Title
2007-05-04 Dominick Guinn 28-4-1 Las Vegas, US W UD 10
2007-11-02 Calvin Brock 31-1-0 Tacoma, US W SD 12
2008-01-26 Alexander Povetkin 14-0-0 Kreuzberg, DE L UD 12
2008-06-20 Raphael Butler 31-4-0 Georgetown, KY W TKO 6
USBA Heavyweight Title
2008-10-03 Livin Castillo 15-6-0 Philadelphia, US W TKO 5
2008-12-13 Cisse Salif 23-11-2 Cabazon, US W UD 8
2009-03-27 Samuel Peter 30-2-0 Los Angeles, US W MD 10
2009-07-04 Alexander Dimitrenko 29-0-0 Altona, DE W MD 12
2010-03-20 Wladimir Klitschko 53-3-0 Düsseldorf, DE L KO 12
IBF Heavyweight Title
WBO Heavyweight Title
International Boxing Organization Heavyweight Title