NEVER employ a Mexican as an opponent. That should have been a lesson learned over the last six months. Josh Warrington’s brutal first career defeat to Mauricio Lara’s hands of stone at Wembley followed on from a very narrow, and controversial, squeak for Lewis Ritson when he topped the bill against Miguel Vazquez in Peterborough back in October. Two very mean-looking Mexican chaps have arrived at Wembley intent on inflicting more damage to top-line British talent at the SSE Arena. Gabriel Valenzuela, a shaven-headed 26-year-old, will take on Robbie Davies Jnr for the vacant IBF Inter-continental super-lightweight belt, while Cesar Juarez is the opponent for featherweight Jordan Gill, also over 10 rounds for the WBA International strap.
But for Gill this is the sort of test he wants and is determined to pass to prove he’s “well above domestic level”.
Speaking to BN from the apron of the ring in the Wembley Hilton bubble, the 26-year-old said: “Juarez has boxed at the highest level.
“I need to beat guys like him to get to where I want to go in boxing.
“He’s very tough, like all Mexicans, but he’s not just tough, he’s relentless, he’s experienced and he’s only been beaten by world champions or top 10 boxers.
“I’m expecting moments when he’s really going to push me.
“These guys never come over to get beaten, they come to fight and have such pride.
“They fight with fire in the belly and they really want to hurt you with every shot.
“I’m expecting a tough fight and that’s maybe what Josh Warrington wasn’t expecting last week.”
Gill was one of the stars of last summer’s Fight Camp, defeating domestic rival Reece Bellotti over 10 rounds in Matchroom’s back garden. “It was a privilege to be the first bout of Fight camp,” said the Chatteris star who has lost only once in 26 bouts. “I learned a lot, I felt I dominated Reece and showed the improvements I had made in the gym. The same applies here.”
Up a few divisions, Valenzuela told BN of his inspiration to reprise Lara’s victory when he faces Davies in a contest between boxers with very similar records. Both have 13 wins early, with Robbie’s log standing at 20-2 compared to 22-2-1 for Gabriel.
“We only got to see the highlights of Mauricio’s win, it was an amazing fight and an unbelievable knock-out,” said the Guadalajara boxer who is unbeaten in his last 20 outings. “We’re here to fly the Mexican flag again. Everyone knows every time we come here to represent Mexico we can expect a war.
“Mauricio’s win is a source of motivation, I don’t feel any pressure at all.
“I just want to perform and win the fight. Every time I step into the ring my intention is to get the knockout but if it goes the distance it goes the distance.
“We don’t know a lot about Robbie Davies and we don’t underestimate any of our opponents but what we do know has been enough for us to devise a strategy to win the fight.”
These two bouts are part of an exciting and highly-competitive five-fight card headlined by David Avanesyan’s third defence of his European welterweight title against the unbeaten Josh Kelly.