Happy who like Bilel is going to make a beautiful trip… to try to conquer the fleece and then to return, full of use and reason, to live among his family and his friends… If the famous poem “Happy who like Ulysses” – somewhat mistreated – by Joachim du Bellay deals with the theme of travel in a register that is both lyrical and elegiac, it will be quite different for the Dijon boxer Bilel Latreche who will travel more than 9,000 kilometers to try to to conquer a new continental belt. It will be next Sunday, June 11 in Bangkok.

In what state of mind are you a few days before your fight?

“The interest for me is to win an away title against a defending champion. It’s true that, until now, I’ve won all my titles at home. My victory against the Colombian Diaz, in Dijon at the end of last year, attracted the attention of promoters who offered me to fight abroad. And there, it was difficult for me to refuse. It will obviously be another pressure, different from the one we are under at home. I’m up against the defending champion. My opponent will have the support of thousands of fans because boxing is a big common denominator in Thailand and the public is very chauvinistic. They are a people of warriors passionate about all types of boxing and they have many world champions in the small categories and we tend to forget that. It is unquestionably the country which has made the most progress in this sport throughout the Asian region. I know that I will fight in a particularly hostile atmosphere but I am going to Bangkok to win and send a very strong message to promoters and federations. I have analyzed my opponent’s boxing well and I will do everything not to go to the end of the fight. My objective will be to attempt the KO before the final gong. This is the whole meaning of my preparation. The almost will not exist. Only work pays. It will pass… or it will break! »

This adversary, who is he?

“This is Toedsak Sinam. I rank higher than him. I’m in the WBO top 15 in the world and my opponent is in the WBC top 100 but he’s still the one wearing the belt. In the event of victory, he would make a considerable jump in the classification. We therefore understand that his motivation will be total.

The Thai is younger – he’s 27 -, shorter than me, right-handed, very powerful in the blows he mainly hits the body before aiming for the face. Unlike the Colombian Diaz who throws himself on his opponents, his boxing is more academic. His weak point is defense and I intend to exploit it. His record is 30 fights, 20 victories including 16 by KO, 10 defeats including 5 before the limit. He won 3 titles. I’m going to have to be very vigilant during the first round because I’m expecting a storm”.

Where are you in your preparation?

My preparation was done in the best possible conditions. It was progressive. Today, I’m doing 9 workouts a week. Very hard workouts that require me to specialize in recovery management. I take care of everything: small injuries, moments of rest… To make you smile, I even put the heating on full blast in my car to get used to the high and humid weather that awaits me in Thailand.

The fight in March against the Franco-Polish Trenel did me a lot of good because I stayed in a good rhythm. I’m very quick on my marks because I haven’t had a lot of break time. I feel that I am still progressing. I am able, on certain shots, to shorten the fight at any time”.

Bilel Latreche’s typical meal as part of this preparation?

“In the morning, two 0% yoghurts with berries, raspberries, blueberries, and one or two small wholemeal biscuits, but no more. For the drink, a little coffee or a hot chocolate. For lunch, 150 grams maximum of chicken or turkey fillet with a portion of cooked green vegetables. A snack around 4 p.m., almost identical to that in the morning.

In the evening, it’s a yogurt or a soup, and it stops there. This is where the mind comes in. I will wait until I return to Dijon to find one of my favorite desserts: a fountain of hot chocolate flowing over strawberries. I’m having a hard time making this dessert, but I promise, I’m going to train! »

Interview by Jean-Louis Pierre