There is more than one fighter to look out for on February 20th’s Southpaw Promotions fight card in Greenville, South Carolina. We already had the chance to talk to Baltimore’s own Malik Warren about his camp and upcoming fight on the card, and now we’re talking to Mansaborie Conde.
Also going by Manzo and his nickname “The Punisher” Conde is a 1-0 1KO fighter from Laurel, Maryland who has grown up in boxing gyms in the Baltimore area and is part of the ever-growing crop of talent coming from that area. The newly turned 22-year-old is in the midst of gearing up for his first big run in pro boxing, as he prepares an unfriendly welcome for Tyler Perkins to the professional ranks. That fight is part of the Noche de Campeones III card put together by Southpaw Promotions that you’ll be able to watch on Facebook Live.
Manzo took some time to chat and we touched on a wide range of topics. We hit style in and out of the ring, Jamaican food choices, his current running jams, and much more.
MM: You’re a bit tough to find on the internet for a pro athlete, why are you so under the radar?
MC: Yeah that’s how it is for me right now, I don’t have so much stuff on the internet. My name is spelled so many different ways that it is hard to find anything on me. People spell my full name wrong, people spell my short name wrong so it can be hard to find me. I like it though, then my opponents can’t do research on me.
MM: I was able to find your Instagram profile and saw that you were sparring with Jaron Ennis, what was the experience like?
MC: That’s right, I just got to spar with Jaron Ennis for the first time it was a great experience working with him.
MM: Had you known him at all before sparring?
MC: I know of him previously and I had been to his gym before and watched him spar rounds but I hadn’t shared the ring with him until last week.
MM: What was it like getting to move around with as experienced and accomplished as Ennis (26-0 24 KOs)?
MC: It was great because that’s where I want to be one day. He helped me learn and helped show me what it’s really about. I knew I belonged there once I got in the ring with him. I will definitely be going up there to spar with him more often, maybe once a week. That’s how you get better. You don’t get better at fighting by beating up gym bums. You’ve gotta get up there and challenge yourself.
MM: I saw you guys also popped by to TKO Fitness in Cherry Hill as well.
MC: Yeah we dropped by TKO and shut it down. That’s for sure.
MM: It has to be nice to get to travel and pop into other gyms and get a wide variety of experiences so early in your career and with everything being limited right now yes?
MC: Yeah I love that because it allows me to travel and get different work in. Different fighters and different styles. It helps now that I’m a pro to have seen all this in gyms, it won’t be new to me. I love traveling to different areas and seeing different fighters. I don’t like sparring just local guys that gets tiring. I love sparring new partners and getting to push myself and see where I’m at. It always goes good. I call it fresh meat.
MM: Most of your training is based in Baltimore?
MC: Yes I do most of my training in Baltimore and I do evening workouts in Laurel. My main training takes place in Baltimore though.
MC: Yeah it is very motivational seeing a Gervonta Davis, a two-time world champion, coming from the background he came from. It’s showing the younger generation that if you dedicate yourself and work hard anything is possible.
MM: How did you get into the sport?
MC: My dad put me into the sport at a young age so I grew up boxing. He had me in the gym at a young age, he already knew I was a future champion. I ran with it and fell in love with the sport at a young age.
MM: Do you like to watch boxing outside of your training?
MC: Oh yeah I watch a lot of boxing outside my training. I don’t even watch other sports. I don’t watch football, basketball, they don’t interest me. If it is boxing, that’s the only thing I watch.
MM: Who are some of the old school fighters you like watching and who from this generation do you enjoy?
MC: I like to watch Sugar Ray Leonard and Tommy Hearns, those type of fighters. Mike Tyson to see how those guys make it to the top. In the new generation, I like watching Gervonta Davis of course, Floyd Mayweather of course, Terence Crawford, and Jaron Ennis.
MM: Do you believe you have a style that compares to any of those guys you just listed off?
MC: Yeah I feel like I’m made up of each and everyone one of the names I just called. I’m very versatile. I have punching power. I can box when I need to. I can bang when I need to. I’m defensively sound like Floyd, and I’m going to have one of the best jabs in the game for sure.
MM: Starting off with the jab is always important. Has that always been a big part of your game?
MC: Yeah that was drilled into me. Using my jab to set up all the punches and it is my range finder. I can beat people with just my jab. If you go onto my Instagram right now you can see there is a video of me saying I’m just gonna use my jab to beat him and the next video on the side is just be banging. I can do both, versatile.
MM: Would you say the jab is your best punch?
MC: The jab is the main weapon that I use but I like an uppercut. That’s one of my favorite punches, the uppercut. I have punching power in both hands.
MM: Your next fight is coming up on February 20th. In the 2 1/2 or so weeks of camp what are working on at that stage?
MC: I’m working on perfecting my craft and looking more sound. I want to be fundamentally sound. I’m working on the little things like bringing my hands back to my face and making sure I learn something every time I get into that ring.
MM: Is there a particular challenge or goal you’ve set for yourself in this upcoming fight?
MC: No nothing in particular. I want to come out and have a great performance and please my fans. I would love to get the knockout for sure.
MM: You’ve got an opponent making his pro debut. Do you have to sit back and make everything about what you can do rather than worry about them?
MC: Exactly yes. I focus on what I’m capable of and what I can do. I’m not worried about him. I don’t have the film of him or anything. I just know he’s making his pro debut. It’s his first professional fight. I’m going to take him to the deep waters and drown him.
MM: Your first pro fight was back in December. What was the experience like? Did it come with a lot of nerves or excitement?
MC: It was a great experience. Not too many nerves just the butterflies but that’s usual to have. That’s just nervous energy that is always there and good to have. Under the spotlights, it just felt like it was meant to be. It was like a dream come true, to be honest. I feel like I was at the right place at the right time.
MM: In terms of your career and how you want to start off, how many fights would you like to take this year?
MC: I want to be very active. I’ll be 9-0 or 10-0 by the end of the year. I’ve talked to my manager and we’ve got about six scheduled dates already. I’ve got another in March, one in May, June, and July. If not once a month I’ll be fighting every other month. I’ll be caught up by the end of the year. 10-0.
MM: When you have a schedule set like that, is training as a continual fight camp? Are you maintaining a constant level of fitness?
MC: My motto is to stay ready so I don’t have to get ready. I could take a call at any time and I wouldn’t have to do too much to get in shape. All my life I’ve just stayed in the gym year in and year out I don’t really take breaks. It is a lifestyle for me so it is nothing new, to be honest. I love fighting once a month. It is excitement. Fans, interviews, training. I love all of it.
MM: Your first fight was at super middleweight, is that where you’re comfortable?
MC: That first fight at super middleweight was because an opponent had pulled out. I’m really a super welterweight. I took a challenge fighting a bigger guy and that’s why it took longer to get him out, until the 3rd round. he was a tough durable opponent but I was able to break him down. It wasn’t really a problem for me though I’m used to sparring bigger guys. I’ve sparred Lorenzo “Truck” Simpson he’s a big guy. It’s nothing really. When I get in there with someone my size I can just walk through them.
MM: Do you find more benefit sparring a bigger guy or smaller quicker fighters?
MC: I like sparring bigger guys just to make sure and know I can take the punch. I’ve got a good chin. I like to spar smaller guys too though for speed, foot movement, quickness. I like to spar both not just stay sparring with bigger guys. I mix it up. Small guys one day, big guys the next day.
MM: The superwelterweight division is stacked. Do you have a plan worked out for development or is it just taking whatever fight comes right now?
MC: I’m leaving all that up to my manager. I trust him and he’ll put me in the best position every time. I won’t be ducking or dodging any fights. I’ll take fights and look to make an upset. I’ll do what I need to do to get on board, that’s for sure.
MM: Are you still figuring out your prefight routines like the ring walk or do you have things like that honed in and figured out?
MC: I always like to go with the flow. I’m a flashy guy so I love the ring music I love having a nice custom ring outfit, so I always plan those things a few weeks ahead of my fight. I don’t try to give those things too much focus because it’s all about winning at the end of the day but I enjoy my ring walk and I’m into the fashion and clothing. I like to get my knockouts in style.
I have merchandise I sell. My fans will be wearing “The Punisher” sweatsuits that I have.
MM: Where can folks get a hold of some of your merch?
MC: Right now I’m doing meetups in Laurel, Maryland but I’ll be shipping out because I know more people are going to want them. Maybe start a website soon too. I just started but it’s moving pretty fast. Every time I get a batch it sells pretty quick. Everyone can keep up through my Instagram I always drop information there.
MM: Another style question. Ring gear. What kind of gloves and shoes are you rocking?
MC: I like Everlast gloves and Grant gloves of course but those are expensive just to use for one fight. For my pro debut, I used Title Pro Max and I think I’ll continue to use them. They are good, it’s a mixture of Grant and Winning gloves. They look nice, felt good on my hands and I can continue to use them.
Shoe wise I like the Nike boxing shoes and the Adidas boxing shoes. Mostly the Nikes though.
MM: Do you like to train in a similar style glove that you would use for a fight, or are you less particular?
MC: I can be sort of whatever but now sometimes I use my professional gloves when I’m working on placing my punches with the smaller gloves but I usually train in 16-ounce gloves. Any type of those, lace-up strap on I’m not very picky.
MM: Have you had any particular focus on improving skills in this camp?
MC: I just want to look better each time I get in the ring. I train every fight as if it’s a world title fight. Just keep working harder and harder.
MM: How much cardio goes into training for a four-round fight?
MC: I’ve got my daily runs, sprints and I leave the rest up to my coaches. They’ll give me the best workouts in the ring and I’ll push myself that extra mile. If my opponent is doing six rounds I need to be doing ten. If my opponent is running three miles I need to be running six miles.
MM: Do you like running? Are you a “natural” runner?
MC: I don’t mind running, but it’s not my favorite thing to do. If I’m running I definitely need some music to keep it going and keep my energy up. I like to run with a training partner or have someone follow me in the vehicle. It’s not a problem though cause I know it’s what I have to do at the end of the day so I don’t whine too much about running at all.
MM: Do you have a running playlist?
MC: I’m listening to a lot of Lil’ Dirk and a lot of Lil Baby right now. I’ll mix it up, R&B, slow music, fast music, hype music, whatever I’m feeling.
MM: Post-training meals, post-fight meals, do you have a favorite local spot you’d like to shout out?
MC: Oh for sure shout out to CaribeExpress, on Main Street. They always show love and have great Jamaican food there. Shout out to them. I love their beef patties, or their jerk chicken, or the oxtail platter.
MM: Is there anything else fans or a future fan should know?
MC: Stay tuned to me. Follow me on Instagram @manzothepunisher_ and I’ll definitely be making my way on the boxing scene soon as I continue to show my talent. Support me and I’ll fight for you guys.
Manzo Conde has an air of calmness and purpose around him. For some young fighters, greatness is an inevitability and from talking to him you feel that Conde believes that of himself. Where fighters struggle and fail to meet expectations is in the process of reaching their goals and putting in the work. Conde does not seem like a young man who will have any trouble with the work and dedication it takes to become a world champion.
If you want to watch Conde and Malik Warren showcase their talent they will both be in the ring on February 20th, for Southpaw Promotions Noche de Campeones III which will be broadcast on Facebook Live.