12 Rounds With ... Caleb Truax

The former IBF World Super Middleweight Champion is brimming with confidence heading into Saturday’s 168-pound throwdown versus Peter Quillin on FS1.

Caleb Truax expects overwhelming support on Saturday night at the Minneapolis Armory in his home state of Minnesota. Truax will take on another former world champion, Peter Quillin, in a 168-pound IBF title eliminator on PBC on FS1 (10:00 p.m. ET/ 7:00 p.m. PT).

Born in Osseo, Truax (30-4-2, 19 KOs) has seen the sport’s highs and lows. He sat atop the boxing world in December 2017, after traveling to London and defeating James DeGale to win the IBF 168-pound strap in DeGale’s hometown.

In April 2018, Truax lost the title via decision in a rematch versus DeGale. He returned last August with a third-round TKO over Fabiano Soares. A win over Quillin puts him in line to face the current IBF champion, undefeated Caleb Plant.

How is camp going?

I’m feeling really good after working with Brandon Glanton, an 8-0 light heavyweight with seven knockouts. He emulates Peter Quillin’s explosive counter-punching as well as his left hook.

I’m also working with Jack Culcay, who is fighting Sergiy Derevyanchenko on Saturday night.  My coach Tom Halstead has a great game plan for beating Quillin.

You’ve had your share of ups and downs in boxing. Can you cite one situation that you had to fight through?

My girlfriend, Michelle Stocke, had life-threatening complications resulting in an emergency C-section delivery of our now 3-year-old daughter, Gia. Gia was born February 2016 and I had a fight scheduled with Anthony Dirrell in April. I almost had a panic attack before the fight thinking about what would happen if I was hurt and couldn’t take care of my baby and girlfriend. I was just mentally not there. [Note: Dirrell defeated Truax via first-round TKO.]

I learned that if you’re not ready mentally then boxing is not a sport where you should take something on. I would never take another fight if I’m not in the right headspace for it.

I’m grateful for my girlfriend and for my beautiful daughter. We have a son due to be born on May 20. We haven’t decided on a name yet, but I’m definitely feeling blessed and motivated to beat Peter Quillin.

Can you discuss your proudest moment?

Beating James DeGale for the world title would have been any fighter's dream and being able to do it on the road as a 40-1 underdog made it more special. I was close to giving up boxing to get a regular job to support my family, so it changed my life.

I thought I was busier than DeGale in the second fight and that I did enough to win. But at the same time, I wasn’t at my best and didn’t have a great performance.

Are there any concerns heading into the Quillin bout?

There are no distractions. I’m having no problems focusing on Quillin.

I’m stronger than ever thanks to my strength trainer, Josh Hutton. I’ve hired Sean Jensen to handle all my media stuff. My coach, Tom, manager, Ron Lyke, my promoter, Tony Grygelko, keep me grounded.

I think my pressure will back Quillin up and he won't be able to deal with it. Former World Super Middleweight Champion - Caleb Truax

Do you see any similarities in the styles or characteristics of the four champions you’ve lost to in Jermain Taylor, James DeGale, Daniel Jacobs and Anthony Dirrell?

I dropped Jermain Taylor in the ninth round, but I wasn’t busy enough. Taylor was my first really big fight on television against a former unified champion. I lost, but it was a closer fight than the scorecards showed and a wake up for me to know that I really belong with these top guys. It gave me a lot of confidence.

Daniel Jacobs was just the better man that night.

All my losses were great learning experiences and beneficial for the Quillin fight. I've been able to re-evaluate them to become a better fighter. 

When you’re training hard like this, what are the things you miss the most outside of camp?

I guess just relaxing with my girlfriend, eating a greasy burger and hanging out with my family and friends.

What is your favorite restaurant?

My favorite restaurant is The Olympia Cafe and Gyros, which is owned by my buddy across the street from where I grew up. 

They have healthy salads and eat there all the time. When I’m done with this fight, I’m going there to have a gyro.

What was it like for you growing up in Osseo, Minnesota?

My Mom, Leah, is white and my Dad is Black. I’ve never met my Dad. I grew up with a twin sister, Erin, and a younger brother, Seth, and my Mom was a single Mom. My Mom was in school until we were about 10-years-old.

We move around and she worked odd jobs. We grew up on welfare and stuff like that. But at the same time, we always had a roof over our heads and family to depend on and to help us out like my grandmother and grandfather.

Can you discuss your all-conference football and baseball exploits in high school and dreams of playing college football?

I was a pretty good football player as an outside linebacker and I was going to play safety in college until my knee injury ended my career. Growing up, my Mom didn’t have the money for all the special instruction and the traveling teams for baseball.

I always tell my boxing coaches I would be still playing baseball if my coaches were as good as they are. I was an outfielder and the cleanup hitter every year. I was a better hitter than outfielder.

What of the local Toughman contests before turning to boxing?

I never knew boxing was available to kids in Minnesota because it wasn’t highly publicized. But the gym was only 15 minutes from my house.  Toughman is how I got introduced to boxing at the Lykes Gym where I train today.

The very first sparring session I did was with my best friend, Rob Sunderland, and we boxed each other. I got my ass kicked the first time because he gave me a bloody nose. But I fell in love with it.

I went back and started training, transitioning into amateur boxing for about three years. I turned pro after being ruled me ineligible due to the toughman competitions.

Who are your favorite fighters?

My favorite growing up was Felix Trinidad. My three favorites are Felix Trinidad, Muhammad Ali and Roberto Duran.

How do you beat Quillin?

I'm definitely confident of my hand being raised at the end of a fan-friendly fight. I think my pressure will back Quillin up and he won't be able to deal with it. I don't see any way where I'm not the winner.

For a closer look at Caleb Truax, check out his fighter page.

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