Shotgun loaded for bear, ready to rumble
He’s being called “Canada’s next great heavyweight” on the web these days, but Qualicum Beach pro boxer ‘Shotgun’ Shane Andreesen has been too busy taking care of business, training relentlessly for the biggest fight of his career, to pay attention to what others are saying.
Andreesen has made a name for himself in his last two fights, vaulting him into a Canadian heavyweight title shot Dec. 14 in Windsor, Ontario.
“Not at all,” Shotgun surmised this week when The NEWS caught up with him. ”I’m not worried about anybody else. I’m doing this for myself, and for Rich and for all the years he’s worked with me.”
Andreesen is currently ranked the 91st heavyweight in the world, of 1,117 ranked fighters.
“It changes week to week,” Shotgun’s longtime trainer/manager Richard LeStage said of the rankings, adding Andreesen has been ranked as high as 72nd in the world, and is currently number three in Canada.
At 6’4” 230 pounds, Andreesen, 29, is a gentle giant outside the ring, but inside the ring, not so much.
The kid from Qualicum Beach is 13-3 with seven KOs as a pro and is poised to follow in the footsteps of stablemate Mark “Machine Gun” Woolnough who put Qualicum Beach on the boxing map when he won the Canadian Super Middleweight title in January of 2003.
Fast forward to today, and Shane’s opponent, Neven ‘No Surrender’ Pajkic, 35, 6’3” from Toronto, is the defending Canadian Heavyweight champion with a record of 17-1, and has been ranked as high as 25th in the world.
“Shane’s been asking for this fight since last year when he beat the hell out of Raphael Zunerano,” LeStage said of the fight in Spokane in January this year in which Shotgun made it clear he was back and he meant business. Raphael was 31-4 with 26 KOs at the time and the reigning WBO Latino champion.
That win came off a stunning upset six months prior in July of 2011 when he knocked out Jonte ‘Rock Steady’ Willis from Seattle at the Emerald Queens Casino in Tacoma. Willis was undefeated at 8-0 (3KOs) at the time and as an amateur was the United States National champion.
“He was being billed as the next great heavyweight prospect.”
Since beating Raphael, Shane has been calling for a rematch against Pajkic who he lost to “during the dark ages” when he lost his three fights.
“We’ve had lots of notice for this fight,” LeStage said of the road thus far, adding “we’ve had two months to get ready, and Shane’s been unbelievable — he’s been relentless. Technically, he’s never been this good before. Ever,” said LeStage, voted the Pacific Northwest Trainer of the Year in 2009.
“Physically he’s in the best shape he’s ever been in, and mentally he’s more focussed than I’ve ever seen him, he’s at his best for this fight,” LeStage said with the enthusiasm reserved for proud mentors. “He’s confident, and I’ve never seen him want anything so much.”
“We expect Neven to be at his best,” said LeStage, pointing out Andreesen’s opponent “is unorthodox in the way he fights. His punches come from all angles, but the big thing is he has so much will to win, he wants to win, but Shane’s bigger, stronger, and he’s just going to have to break him down and show him that he’s got more skill. I think it’s going to end up as a war. Win lose or draw, though, Shane has earned the right to fight for this title and he’s done everything. He hasn’t missed a thing to put himself in a position to win this fight.”
Asked what it’s like working Andreesen’s corner, and LeStage made the point that “since day one, since his first bout as an amateur (remember Andreesen had 26 KOs as an amateur) he was the easiest fighter to coach, because he listens.”
“I definitely took it to a new level that’s for sure,” Shotgun chuckled when asked about the self-imposed training regime he put himself through in preparation for the upcoming title fight, paused, then made the point the last time he climbed into the ring against Pajkic, “I didn’t prepare enough for him. I wasn’t taking the sport nearly as seriously as I should have been — there was some stuff going on in my life outside the ring — but this time I know. I train with a lot of respect for him, but I’m training to beat him and do my best.”