Raymond ‘Savage’ Ford, Matchroom’s hottest prospect: “Ready to take off”

By Fraser Cox

It was fantastic spending time recently with the hungry hot prospect, Raymond ‘Savage’ Ford. Hailing from Camden, New Jersey, he made his professional debut just over a year ago, aged 19, with a win over fellow American, Weusi Johnson. Ford boasts a flawless undefeated record of 5(2)-0 and his return to the squared circle is imminent. As an integral part of Eddie Hearn’s U.S. Matchroom show on 15th August, Ford is looking to shake off the ring rust and come away with a spectacular victory.

Ford ended 2019 with a literal festive flurry, impressively dispatching opponent, Francisco Muro, in a mere one minute, forty-one seconds.

“I actually got to the arena late. Somebody told me I was supposed to be there later than I was meant to be. When I got there, it was quite rushed and I wasn’t ready, so they made my fight a ‘swing bout’ and told me that I would probably be before the co-main event. In the end, I had time to relax and prepare myself.

It ended quicker than I anticipated. I really expected to break him down a bit, touch his body a lot and use all the things that I worked on in camp.

It was perfect for me fighting so close to Christmas. I had my outfit and ring walk set up – everything was planned out”.

Although ‘lockdown’ was a rather challenging time for Ford, it proved to be a blessing in disguise, enabling his body to make a full recovery from outstanding injuries.

“It was hard, even now it’s still a little different. I have to go to the gym at certain times, finish my training earlier and I can’t train as many times as I want. However, my body needed the rest because I was injured, and, as a result, I wouldn’t have been 100% ready for my proposed fight in April. Now, I feel great, so I think everything really worked out. The lockdown has been tough mentally because, in the amateurs, I was used to fighting roughly six times every two months; but I’m a fighter, so regardless of anything when I get in the ring, I’m going to do what I got to do to get the win”.

Ford believes that he will thrive under the current restrictions of boxing behind closed doors: he is a young fighter who is still very much learning his craft. With fight night a matter of days away, Ford details the adjustments that he has had to make during his preparations and also considers how the remainder of the year could unfold.

“I feel like the only thing that’s going to bother me will be the 48-hour quarantine before the fight. I think the other changes, like no fans, won’t really make a difference. It’s just going to be like sparring and I think it will suit me. Being able to hear my coaches clearly in the corner will be very useful because I haven’t fought for a while and I’m still getting used to the pros.

To start with, I’m going to be smart, use my jab, see what he likes to throw and try to take away all the things that he does well. I’ll gradually break him down, touch his body, and eventually, I’ll stop him. I don’t take any opponent lightly; he’ll be dangerous and I’m not expecting it to be a walk in the park. The key will be to remain focused so that I will be able to do what I do.

It hasn’t been the full preparation that I’m used to. Before I was training three times a day and now it’s down to one or two. I’m still going to come into the fight in shape because I’ve been working hard and putting the rounds in during sparring.

I’m hoping to fight twice more before the end of the year – I think that’s realistic. I want to start fighting against higher calibre opponents. I actually want to fight Sean Garcia after this one, so that should be a good test”.

Reflecting on his life prior to boxing, Ford picks out a specific unsung hero who helped steer him away from the wrong path as a youngster. He also highlights the invaluable time spent with two former World Champions, against whom he was able to pitch his own level and pinpoint areas for improvement.

“I had my first fight when I was twelve, but I’ve been around boxing and doing training since I was 10. I had to make adjustments when making the transition from the amateur to professional ranks. You have to watch out for headbutts, be defensively smarter and try to use your boxing IQ more. The main parts were learning how to sit down on my punches, placing them well, and knowing when to throw.