FRENCHMAN Yvan Mendy has won seven fights on the bounce since taking Luke Campbell’s undefeated record in 2015 and therefore resents the idea that he’s merely a barometer of the Hull man’s progress – and improvements – this Saturday (September 22) at Wembley Stadium.
He goes further than that, too. With a WBC silver belt, and a number one ranking with that organisation, Mendy feels he has been worthy of a world title shot for some time now.
“I do feel a bit frustrated that I haven’t had a world title opportunity yet,” said the 33-year-old. “He (Campbell) lost to me and yet he was able to fight Linares for the world title. So that does leave me a bit of frustrated.
“You do suffer being a boxer in France. It’s a cultural thing. In England, boxing is a part of the culture. Over here, it just isn’t. I’ve often said to myself if I were English I’d already be world champion; or at least I would have had the chance to fight for it.
“At the moment I feel like I’m unbeaten because I haven’t lost for so long. Mentally, I have forgotten about my defeats and in my mind when I go in the ring I feel undefeated. I feel as strong as ever.”
Campbell, the man Mendy beat three years ago, received his shot at a version of the world title last year, when losing a decision against WBA lightweight champion Jorge Linares. That fight, rather than a bone of contention, is all the evidence Mendy, 40-4-1 (19), needs ahead of his rematch this weekend.
“I haven’t watched him too much since the last fight,” he said. “I did see the fight against Jorge Linares, but I think that was the only one. He fought very well against Linares. It was close. He was up on one of the scorecards, so he is a good boxer and he has progressed.
“I don’t necessarily see it as a big advantage the fact that I won the first fight, simply because it has been three years since that and we change, all of us. After three years, we forget about a loss. I don’t think mentally it will play on his mind because a lot of things happen in that time.
“For me, it’s important to win by knockout to make a statement. I’m not here for the sake of it. I’m ready to win this. I want a nice victory.”
Saturday’s intended story-line will see Campbell, three years better, much improved, righting a wrong from earlier in his career and giving Mendy a boxing lesson. That’s how it’s being approached; that’s why Mendy has been brought back again. But, of course, just as Mendy upset some major plans last time, he seems more than capable of doing the same at Wembley.
Should that happen, he knows what might be next.
“The winner should get a shot at the champion Mikey García, but we will see if he stays at lightweight,” said Mendy.
“I’ve been waiting for the chance for a while. It’s one of the best weight classes in boxing; it’s very attractive. In each organisation the champion is a big name at lightweight. There’s a lot of high-level boxers operating at 135lbs and I’ll show that I belong at the top when I beat Campbell again.”
It’s being reported that WBA world lightweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko will look to unify his belt against WBO world lightweight champion Jose Pedraza at New York’s Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden on December 8, live on ESPN.
First mooted for December 1, it is believed promoters Top Rank are keen to gain a ratings boost from ESPN’s Heisman Trophy presentation a week later and have therefore decided on December 8 instead.
The fight will be Lomachenko’s first since he rallied back from a flash knockdown to dazzle against Jorge Linares in May. Expected to fight again in the summer, this plan was unfortunately scuppered due to an injury Lomachenko, 11-1 (9), picked up during that WBA title bout.
Pedraza, meanwhile, scored the win of his career when dropping and defeating Ray Beltran in August to lift his current world title. It was Pedraza’s third victory since losing to Gervonta Davis in January 2017 and exemplified how the talented 29-year-old has improved and matured as a lightweight.
Now 25-1 (12), he would seem as ready as he’s ever going to be – indeed, as ready as anybody can expect to be – to try and solve the puzzle that is Vasyl Lomachenko.