MIAMI (Apr. 19, 2009) – For four invaluable weeks at the Normandy Gym in North Miami, undefeated middleweight prospect “Chairman of the Board” Michael Oliveira (11-0, 8 KOs), the heir apparent to retired Brazilian boxing star Acelino “Popo” Freitas, acted more like a sponge than a young prize fighter.
The 19-year-old Oliveira, who is trained by Danny Hawk at Normandy Gym, absorbed everything he heard or viewed from the Hall of Fame-bound boxer also training in the North Miami gym, Bernard Hopkins, who had set-up training camp there to prepare for his eventual victory last month against Roy Jones.
Oliveira, living and fighting out of Miami, is unique among contemporary professional boxers, coming from an affluent family, attending Miami Dade Community College, and having only a two-match amateur career.
“I didn’t spar with Bernard,” Oliveira explained, “but he pulled me aside each day for about 15 minutes to teach me his personal moves. He told me not to forget anything, because he was only teaching me once, and I learned a lot from him. He taught me that age was just a number, to put my mind and heart into training, and with determination you can conquer anything. Anything is possible if you train hard, he stressed.”
Watching Hopkins workout live also benefited the talented teenager. “He is very, very calm in the ring,” he noted. “He never wastes unnecessary energy; he’s not fidgety, he glides around the ring. And he’s very, very focused on his opponent. I noticed that he only throws a punch when he’s almost certain it’ll land. I just listened, watched and took everything in. It was a great experience.”
Michael received his award as the 2009 Brazilian Athlete of the Year this past Friday night at the Brazilian International Press Awards ceremony in the Amaturo Theater at the Broward Center for Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale. The following day Michael was a special VIP guest in front of 20,000 at Brazilian Day festivities in Miami.(Photo by Jade Matarazzo)
Oliveira is slated to fight April 30 on a show at Miccosukee Resort in Miami, tuning-up for his proposed homecoming, August 7 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
“I’ve been training, sparring and pushing my body to the limit with Danny at the gym.” Michael concluded. “The hardest part of boxing is training. Fighting is easy because you’re in top shape and do what you’ve been practicing. I can’t wait to get back in the ring to fight.”
Go to www.MichaelOliveira.com for more information about Michael. Oliveira’s valued sponsors include The Confianca Moving, The Beira – Mar and Pro 1 from Sao Paulo, Dumonde Travel (Michael’s official travel agency) and the multi-national fuel company, Shell.
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