This Saturday, June 2nd, World Boxing Association (WBA) NABA Featherweight Champion Toka Kahn Clary (24-1, 17KO’s) will be taking on Emmanuel Dominguez (22-6-2, 14KO’s) at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
“T-Nice” took some time out of his schedule to speak about his past, present, and future in the lead up to his WBA NABA title defense.
Toka is promoted by Evander Holyfields “Real Deal Promotions”, with Evander saying that Toka “Has great discipline and is very dedicated to his craft.” Toka says that he has learned a lot from Holyfield, with the main thing being that Evander has taught him “Boxing is not just about inside the ring, it is about outside the ring.”
Toka has also had some advice from Andre Ward on his upcoming fight, as he is continually being schooled by some of the great American fighters, saying that Ward “Is very intelligent and carries himself well which is exactly what I want to do.”
Toka was promoted by Top Rank before Holyfield took him on, but his contract was due to expire following his 21st professional bout against Jhon Gemino in September of 2016. This fight was Toka’s only loss to date, as he suffered a very surprising first round knockout.
“Any fighter with eight ounce gloves can hurt you,” said Toka, further saying “I always study tapes of my opponents and Gemino was no different. I just did not see him as a threat, which was the mistake. Now I treat every opponent as if I am fighting a World Champion.”
Top Rank would drop him after the loss, which is when he started working with his current promotional outfit. He learned numerous valuable lessons from the Gemino fight and has been on a tear ever since.
With Toka, it is important to point out that he did not have to “re-dedicate” himself to boxing from his first loss. He always was dedicated, stating like a true winner and a veteran “It was a valuable lesson overall.”
When talking to Toka it is indeed interesting that losses do tend to only be blips on his radar to be treated as past learning curves. Another important one for him was losing in the 2009 US Finals as an amateur, as he quickly will point out that he came back in 2010 to beat current 140lb champion Jose Ramirez.
“I don’t want to get left behind,” says Clary, whose optimism defies his tough upbringing. He is a very grateful man who is now looking to make a legacy in the sport and be a role model for boxing fans and his family, now that he is a father.
Toka has beaten two undefeated fighters in a row, with his latest victim John Vincent Moralde being his best to date, as Moralde was just seen this last weekend upsetting Ismail Muwendo on the ESPN+ streamed undercard.
Toka, as he previously mentioned, is not ever overlooking any opponent and so he is ready for the challenge presented by Dominguez who he says “Goes to the body well and always comes in top shape,” but he is also relishing at the opportunity to challenge WBA Super Champion Leo Santa Cruz, who he thinks he matches up well against.
“There are lots of good fighters at featherweight. Leo Santa Cruz I would like to fight in particular because he likes to fight on the inside and I like to fight there also. I also can box very well from the outside, so I think I match up well against him.”
When mentioning the WBA Regional Title that Toka carries he really perks up with pride, saying “WBA is my first title and it makes me extremely happy. I loved getting the opportunity, because it showed that I am moving forward in my career, and I will never ever forget the opportunity that the WBA gave me.”
In closing and in preparation for his fight coming up – which takes place on the weekend of Hall of Fame inductions for the Atlantic City Boxing HOF and includes his promoter Evander Holyfield – Toka would like to thank his fans for the support they continually give and says “I will keep working my hardest because the mission is to become a world champion.”