Having recently re-signed with legendary boxing promoter Don King, Peth-born Mark “The Dominator” de Mori is climbing the world heavyweight rankings, with his controversial and “arrogant” fighting style of keeping his fists low. The 28-year-old talks to MF about using YouTube as a learning tool, battling a Russian giant and being shot at.
Is it true you taught yourself to box watching fights on YouTube?
I have had trainers, but a few years ago I decided I wanted to learn the American style of boxing. I watched clips of my favourite fighters every day and tried to emulate them in my dad’s garage. It took me from local slugger to world-ranked heavyweight.
What boxer would you fight in your ultimate match, living or dead?
At the moment, it’s Nikolai Valuev – the 7ft Russian giant and two-time former titleholder. It’s a fight we’re working on putting together with Don King Productions – a real-life David and Goliath match-up.
Do you have a scar that tells a story?
I have a scar on my leg from falling off my BMX as a kid. I was showing off for the camera – some things never change!
What has been the most frighteningexperience of your life?
My first few amateur fights were scarier to me than the many dangerous experiences I had working as a bouncer, including being shot at. I have never been so nervous or felt so alone in all my life, as before those first few fights. I have no idea why I kept going back for more.
What trait should every man possess?
Courage – be willing to defend people close to you, no matter how scared you are.
What should every man do before he dies?
Live – whatever that means to you. Take some risks, roll the dice. There are so many reasons to talk yourself out of it, but then you are just treading water endlessly.
If your house was burning down, what would you save?
Assuming no people or animals were in there, probably nothing. I often think I own too much. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and get angry that I have so many possessions I don’t really need. Being a “cup is half full” kind of guy, I think I’d see it as a great opportunity to start over.
What’s a subject you wish you knew more about?
Right now I wish I could speak fluent Spanish. [He’s currently training in California.] Everyone in my gym speaks Spanish and I’m missing lots of the jokes!
What is Don King really like?
The King is a very smart businessman who knows how to sell USA-style glitz and glamour. He is entertainment from start to finish.