“”My performance was good,” Kahn-Clary looked back on his knockout of Lopez. “I didn’t do anything to make it a difficult fight. I was a little concerned that my opponent came in overweight (128 lbs. contract weight but Lopez weighed 132.2 lbs.), but I didn’t think too much of it. I really wanted to go four or five rounds for some more experience, but I put him down in the second round with a right hook, and took him out. (Lopez was unable to answer the bell for the third round.)
“I’m definitely ready for 10-rounders. (Head trainer) Peter (Manfredo, Sr.) always has me doing a lot of conditioning work. We sparred a lot of rounds for eight-round fights, so I’ve been ready for 10-round fights. I won’t be fighting again until next year, but I’ll be back in the gym next Monday.”
A decorated American amateur who had a 131-11 record, highlighted by a gold-medal performance at the 2010 National Golden Gloves Tournament, Kahn-Clary passed on a shot to make the 2016 U.S. Olympic Boxing Team, turning pro three years ago.
“I think Toka made a big statement and so did Top Rank (Kahn-Clary’s promoter),” Manfredo added. “They’re so high on him that they want to put him in a big fight. I told them to give us a 10-round fight first, maybe in January or February, and then we can talk about him fighting a top guy. There’s no rush; he’s only 23.
“Toka’s really maturing. He still doesn’t have ‘man strength’ but he’s getting there. He always works hard. He spars hard with bigger guys. He doesn’t just beat up a sparring partner, he beats up the gym, three or four fighters a session. And most of the time he’s sparring bigger guys and using big gloves.”
Born in Liberia, the 23-year-old Kahn-Clary is a rising star with lofty expectations. “I want to compete at the top level,” he explained. “Next year, I will keep working hard and hopefully fight some decent named opponents. I’m not ready for the top guys in my division, not yet, but I’ll be there in another year.”
Follow Kahn-Clary on Twitter and Instagram @TokaKahnClary, or friend him on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/tokakahn.