Doudou Ngumbu devastated his father when he gave up a football career to become a boxer.
It will be a decision proved right if he causes what will surely be the upset of 2019 and dethrones unbeaten WBC Light-Heavyweight Champion Oleksandr Gvozdyk in Philadelphia on Saturday 30th March, live on BoxNation.
Few give the Frenchman much chance against the Ukrainian powerhouse and given his 38-8 record it’s easy to see why, but as the cliche goes ‘records are for DJs’.
Gvozdyk, who is trained by Teddy Atlas, certainly isn’t writing off his 37-year-old challenger who is ranked eighth by the WBC.
“This is the kind of guy that if you underestimate him he's going to kick your ass,” he told Boxing Talk.
“He has a lot of defeats, but you can see that all of those fights were decisions against top fighters. This is not an easy guy. I think people just underestimate him.”
Before agreeing to make the voluntary defence, the man who ended Adonis Stevenson’s reign studied Ngumbu’s last five fights and believes his opponent is capable of making him looking bad.
Despite being feared, Gvozdyk has laboured at times particularly against Tommy Karpency and looked anything but a world beater when he outpointed Ngumbu’s countryman Mehdi Amar 12 months ago.
Gvozdyk added: “This is a similar situation [to Amar] and I don't want to make the same mistake twice. I'm not looking at his record or what people are saying about him. I'm taking him serious and I'm motivated and training hard to not make the same mistake twice.”
The Gvozdyk challenge will be Ngumbu’s second fight in the United States. On his previous visit in November 2014 he performed very well against Andrzej Fonfara in Chicago before losing on points.
That performance earned him a Stateside recall to face Artur Beterbiev several months later, but he was forced to pull out and has been waiting ever since for another chance to crack America.
Ngumbu was born in Kinshasa, the city where the George Foreman v Muhammad Ali ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ took place in October 1974, but his home is in Toulouse.
He is the eldest of six children, four boys and two girls and at the age of 13 decided to move from DR Congo to France and live with his father.
Ngumbu was soon scouted by several football teams and he signed for Toulouse FC, but boxing soon became his first love when he met boxing coach Karim Temar.
Football has been such a big part of Doudou’s life he never boxed as an amateur until he was 18 years-old, and didn’t turn professional until shortly after his 25th birthday.
He earned his shot at Gvozdyk by outpointing unbeaten Yoann Kongolo last May, and knows that time is not on his side.
Lose to the defending Champion, and there will not be another World Title opportunity.