|Banks, Belts, and the Champ|
"I have so much momentum going right now and I am so thankful for Emanuel Steward. He taught me the game of boxing. Everything I know about boxing I learned from Emanuel - from a training standpoint and from a boxing standpoint."
~ Johnathon Banks
Following his upset win last night in Atlantic City over Seth Mitchell, heavyweight contender Johnathon Banks finds himself in a very unique position. Even more unique than the one he's already in considering his dual role as fighter and trainer. That might not be such unusual circumstances were Banks not the trainer of the Heavyweight Champion of the World, Wladimir Klitschko.
Banks is also now arguably the top ranked American heavyweight contender and it's no secret that America has been out of the world heavyweight title picture for some time now. Where there were once Great White Hopes in the heavyweight division, there are now Great American Hopes and like the not so great white hopes who came before them, American hopes tend to lose just as often. Exit Seth Mitchell, enter Johnathon Banks.
|Banks and Steward|
|Mr. Banks shocks Mayhem Mitchell|
During a recent media conference call to promote the Mitchell fight, KO Digest asked Banks about the possibility of fighting Klitschko and whether his role as the trainer of the champion would in effect block him from the goal that all heavyweights presumably share - the heavyweight championship of the world. "To the naked eye, it does seem that way doesn't it? Honestly, I don't know. I'm not the type to say too much too soon about the future. That's just one of those bridges you have to cross when you get to it."
By beating Mitchell, Banks took a significant step towards that bridge and during his post fight interview on HBO, the possibility of trainer versus fighter intrigued Larry Merchant enough to inquire about it as well. Asked by Merchant if he knows how to fight Klitschko, Banks offered another diplomatic response saying,
"I made a half a living knowing how to fight Wladimir Klitschko."
It's a question Banks should get used to hearing and a question he should start asking himself especially if he continues to win in the ring. What we can take from Banks' responses to the inquiry is that he doesn't summarily dismiss the idea out of loyalty and he seems comfortable leaving the possibility open. "Whether it's training or whether it's fighting, my number one priority is boxing. Fighting is my life, and I'm ready to continue my rise to the top."
|Can Wlad's sparring partner become a title challenger?|
"Sparring with Wladimir is a dirty job but somebody has to do it."
Fighting him for the title is an even dirtier job.
Is Johnathon Banks willing to do it?