How relieved are you now the WBO have given you a world title shot after you have to pull out earlier this year?
Yeah, I’m buzzing. Obviously I was always told it was going to happen but from a fighter’s point of view you’ll always have that bit of doubt that from their [the Jaime Munguia team] point of view they’ll try and shift me and try go a different route. But everyone stuck to their guns, Frank [Warren], my management team MTK, all stuck to their guns and pushed the WBO, and the WBO have been fair. It was a legitimate injury, I’ve never messed anyone about, I’ve never pulled out from a fight in nine years, not a four rounder, six rounder, I’ve never pulled out of a fight at any level. I think everybody saw sense and the WBO stuck to what they said as it was only a couple of days after Munguia won his title that they ordered me as the mandatory for him, so I’m happy with that and I’m buzzing to get my shot that I fully deserve to be honest.
How have you recovered from the illness that forced you out of the last fight?
It’s been fine, to be honest we still haven’t got to the bottom of it but I can’t put my whole career on hold. I’m 29, so I either have to put my career on hold to try and get to the bottom of what the illness was but then I’d definitely miss my shot. So I just have to look at that and pray to god it doesn’t come back, it hasn’t come back as of yet so we are where we are I’m fit and healthy and I’m excited for this fight.
This fight was only announced this week, how long have you had to prepare?
I’ve actually been training right through, I’ve only been off for a week due to the allergic reaction and that was the week Munguia beat Sadam Ali. I had that week off the gym, but I never ballooned up in weight, I never let myself go, I was fit when I got back in the gym, my weight was good and we just got back on it. I’ve had enough notice, I always knew the WBO were going to make the fight happen, so I’ve had enough notice I was always told it was going to be around July, August time so that was no issue for us that the fight is only a few weeks away.
What do you make of your unbeaten opponent Jaime Munguia?
He looks a good fighter, it looks as though he can do almost everything, he looks like he can punch, he can box, brawl, he’s big for the weight so he looks good, he looks dangerous. But it doesn’t take a genius to realise I’m the best boxer he’s fought, I know he said that himself, and I’m confident going in there. I’ve seen him blow a few people away but again, I think I’m better than all the people he’s fought. I’m experienced at every level, I’ve fought British title, to world champions and obviously I fought Canelo in front of that many Mexican fans. I’m experienced at every level and that puts me in good stead. When we are in there I’m the experienced one, as much as he’s the champion he hasn’t fought anyone better than me, I have fought better than him, let’s put it that way.
You spent a lot of time preparing for Sadam Ali, now you’re meeting Munguia how much has your preparation changed as a result?
Preparation wise its gone the same but I’ve changed my sparring partners. Obviously Munguia is six foot and strong and aggressive whereas Ali is smaller and a backfoot boxer, so the only difference is the sparring partners and the intensity of the rounds. Again, that comes with every camp, that changes every camp, the sparring and the padwork with Joe [Gallagher] he’ll come back with some shots that Munguia throws rather than me chasing Joe round on the pads, which we might have done if it was Ali we were facing.
This will be your second time boxing in America, does it bother you having to travel away for the fight?
No, I’m happy it’s there, I’m buzzing to be honest. It’s on my bucket list in boxing, and it’s one I can tick, boxing for a world title in Las Vegas. I’m happy it’s there and happy to put my name in lights and win a world championship in Vegas.
Will you be looking to use your prior experience of boxing Canelo Alvarez in America and learn from that?
Yes, 100 percent. The fight with Canelo was one of the best weeks of my life really, the build up to that fight, and the weigh in day was all unbelievable. I’m going to take every bit of that experience into the fight with Munguia and hopefully it all pays off.
As much as it was an unbelievable opportunity against Canelo, when you look at all the fighters that go to America and make names for themselves it’s been the likes of [Ricky] Hatton who went there and fought [José Luis] Castillo, [Juan] Urango, he built a name for beating world level fighters. I went there and faced one of the best pound for pound, I could’ve went there to America and fought the likes of Ishe Smith or a boxer of that level, but I went there and fought the very best, and I don’t think it did me justice. Now they’re all raving about Munguia, when I beat him I think they’ll look at me and think I’m a good fighter who just came up short against Canelo.
When are you planning on travelling to the US to get used to the different time zone?
I’ll probably just go the week before, I don’t usually suffer with stuff like that. I predict we’ll go the full week before, seven days. I’ll adjust to it, I’m used to America and their different times so that won’t be a struggle for me.
How do you see the fight with Munguia going?
I think it will be a very exciting fight, a lot more than it would be with Sadam Ali. I know I’m going to have to bite down many, many, times but it’s something I’m willing to do and believe me when I say more questions will be asked of Munguia than it will be of me in this fight. Everyone knows the fight and the grit I’ve got and toughness but we’re yet to ask those questions of Munguia, but believe me I’ll ask them questions.
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