Top French-Moroccan actor Saïd Taghmaoui explains to Umbreen Khan what makes his close friend Vasiliy Lomachenko so special
Milling around, eschewing the familiar spotlight, at the Vasyl Lomachenko vs Luke Campbell final press conference this week was Saïd Taghmaoui, French-Moroccan actor and star of films as diverse as Wonder Woman and the seminal La Haine. A fan of his work, I spotted him and he was gracious enough to grant Seconds Out an interview regarding his boxing history and close friendship with Lomachenko.
When did your interest in boxing start?
I started when I was really young, I used to fight when I was a kid. In clubs, amateur, very serious and I wanted to become world champion when I was a kid. That was my sport and boxing brought me so much in life, like a ‘backspin’. It gave me all the values to become a man; respect, fear, training, dedication all that, all that backspin will help you to become a real man.
When did you stop boxing, although you still train?
I still train [like] crazy, I never really stopped. I have stopped competing a long time ago because I became an actor and you’ve got to make a choice and honestly the choice was really quick for me because my passion for movies and acting is the same as boxing, but I always promised to myself that I will stay next to this sport which helped me to become who I am. I met so many people when I was a kid in boxing and I keep in touch with them and some of them have become the best champions so I’ll do anything for them. I’m a movie star and when I’m around them, they are the stars, I’ll give them everything that I have, I even carry the bags. I’m just happy to be there, it’s a blessing because for me, they are superstars. They are superheroes of everyday, everyday superheroes, the real ones like my father who nobody knows but raised eight kids and who had to provide food to the table. That’s the real hero of the everyday life.
When and how did you first meet Vasiliy Lomachenko?
Like four-five years ago, the boxing world, my friends, connections, I was a fan too you know, so we get along together and I decided to help them and bring anything that I could to the table.
Will you be ringside again on Saturday?
I’m going to be ringside obviously, maybe carrying the belt again, we’ll see, anything. Even if I don’t do any of that I’m just happy to be around and to be a part of history.
How do you think the fight will go?
Tough, tough fight. I believe the fight is going to be a very technical fight. It depends how Campbell is going to handle that, he has reach and all that but we are going to find out in the first couple of rounds but you’ve got to understand, there are levels to this shit and Vasiliy has something that is quite unique. There is only one Vasiliy and he comes once every century. Just that dedication, sacrifice since he was a kid and he has all the abilities, he’s just something else.
Have you seen him in training and during camp?
Of course, not only training, I was lucky enough to witness more than just training, I was lucky enough to witness some private moments, I’m privileged, very privileged.
He seems very welcoming.
You know if you go to Pakistan in the mountain and you see a little village and the pure people for real who don’t have any interest in anything, who are part of God and race and belief and train and hard work? That’s what he is. He’s part of those shy… the real brave ones, that’s what it is. He has that thing of greatness, that humility of greatness, so simple man, such a man of values like for real. Before I’m a fan of the man, before the fight, we are the same level. He is as good as a human being as he is a boxer for real.