Feature | Dec 15 2018

Sunny Edwards plans to build on his breakthrough

'My opponents have to work really hard because I don’t give you the opportunity to catch me.' Sunny Edwards is in action tonight. He speaks to Matt Bevan
Sunny Edwards
ABA Finals  |  Action Images

SUPER-flyweight Sunny Edwards will look to build on a superb performance against Ryan Farrag at the end of October, by stepping up a level to take on tough Mexican Junior Granados on Saturday (December 15) at the Brentwood Centre on BT Sport.

Edwards, 9-0, with three wins coming inside the distance, won every round against Farrag in a standout performance, and he is currently riding the crest of the wave following the birth of his son last week.

The 22-year-old who is based up in Sheffield at the Steel City Gym, wasn’t expecting to fight again before the end of 2018, but explained the situation to Boxing News and how the clash with Granados, 16-5-1, came about:

“2018 has been massive for me not just in boxing but in my personal life as well. I only fought six weeks ago and there’s already been a change from my management chasing my promoter to get me on a show, to now my promoter ringing asking to get me on as soon as possible.

“Initially, this wasn’t the first that I accepted, as I accepted a fight with Charlie Hoy, but the next day he wasn’t interested for whatever reason, I didn’t even ask, so then they came back a couple of days later with Junior Granados which I accepted straight away and asked what was it for and how much?

“I counted the other day that Granados is the 17th opponent I have taken so far in my pro career, as I’m not in the market of not accepting fights.

“I want to be in with good fighters because my mentality is that if I get beat by someone they must be a good fighter.

“I’ve got the style and know how, well, touchwood, as you do never know in boxing, but the way that I box, I don’t ship too much punishment, so if I can stay one step away from my opponent, like I did against Farrag, then I’m going to be a wide winner.”

Granados’ name will be familiar to British and Irish boxing fans, as he is a former opponent of world title challenger Jamie Conlan, who now works behind the scenes for Edwards’ management MTK Global.

The 25-year-old Mexican gelled with Conlan for what was a superb fight, almost stopping Conlan in the seventh round of a breathtaking encounter in Dublin, before losing a unanimous decision at the National Stadium.

Edwards though is promising a very different fight on Saturday in Brentwood to the one we witnessed with Conlan, as he looks to outclass Granados and use his attributes and boxing ability to their full potential on his BT Sport showcase.

“Styles make fights, but me and Jamie Conlan are very different fighters. When Jamie was using the jab and moving he was outboxing Granados. I don’t want to be disrespectful to Jamie at all, but his style is stand there and have a ruck or tear-up. He doesn’t have the skill-set or repertoire that I have, as I use my jab, keep my distance so they stay in my range. When I look back at the fight he had with Conlan, I know that I’m superior to Jamie, so I’m very confident,” Sunny said.

“It will be a very hard night’s work but I was expecting one of them against Farrag. For my opponent to win a round against me, they have to work really hard because I don’t give you the opportunity to catch me. Look at the Farrag fight. For the 30 minutes that we were fighting, he probably only had the chance to get to me for two minutes of that because of what I was doing to him with my range and then I could land almost at will on him, so I’m expecting the fight with Granados to go the same way.

“I’m expecting a tough night overall against Granados, but I’m confident that I’ll get the win. There will be times that he’ll be putting it on me, but I know that my style means that I can negate whatever he’s doing, like I did with Farrag and I will show that again on Saturday.”

Edwards nows turns his attention to working his way up the world rankings, as well as some domestic clashes with the likes of Commonwealth champion Jay Harris and triple Olympian Paddy Barnes.

“The build-up with Farrag was fun and we had a bit of back-and-forth, but if you look at what was said in terms of the boxing, what I said would happen in the fight, happened. I’ll hit him when I want and when he wants a tear-up I won’t give him one, so I’ll frustrate the life out of him and make him have to work really hard to win a single round, which was exactly the case,” Sunny said.

“I never expected to stop Ryan, even when I caught him with those clean, eye-catching shots. He was never noticeably hurt, although he was buzzed by a few shots as the rounds went on, but I didn’t jump in because if that shot is going to come, then it will.

“It was a step up in terms of the opponent and it was important because at that time, I hadn’t fought anyone and my WBO European title meant very little because I’d beaten Ross Murray who isn’t even a super-flyweight. But for me the win over Farrag validated the belt. No one gets into boxing to be the WBO European champion, but it is a very good stepping stone and after I beat Granados I will get a ranking with the WBC as well, so my climb will continue.

“I want to take on guys like Harris and Barnes, who are good fighters and build a fanbase that way, so people will know that I’m more than willing to step in with anybody, which I showed with Farrag. People thought with him coming down from bantamweight, a former European champion who also gave Ryan Burnett some good rounds there were lots of if’s and but’s going into it. Ultimately I showed that there shouldn’t have been any doubt that I was going to get the win.”

The fight with Barnes, is the one that has captured the attention of the boxing public so far, with the two going back-and-forth and social media for some time, as Edwards has chased the fight, which he has no doubt will see him with his hand raised at the end.

Both Edwards and Barnes are signed to MTK Global and Frank Warren, so there are very few obstacles to the fight coming to fruition. Edwards claims that it could have been made in April and he has more to offer Barnes, who was stopped in four rounds by Cristofer Rosales in August at Windsor Park.

“We all know that I want the fight with Paddy Barnes. There was an effort to get it made for the undercard of Carl Frampton and Nonito Donaire. Frank Warren wanted to get it made and MTK tried as well, maybe a bit more reluctantly as they knew Paddy wouldn’t beat me and that I also have another 10, 15 years left in this sport, whereas he’s got one more loss and he’s done.

“Back then it was a case of what does Sunny Edwards offer Paddy Barnes? Nothing. I held the same belt as him at the weight above, but I offered nothing which I said all the way through. But, he lost a gift at world level and he has to re-build.

“Paddy Barnes is just saying that he wants a world title fight with Moruti Mthalane, who is a good friend of mine actually, but what has he actually done in a professional ring?

“His only knockout came against someone who was shocking and he still looked poor when he got that. I just don’t understand how he’s getting the chances. Yes, he got one of the back of his good amateur career, but after you’ve lost, you can’t just stay at the front of every queue, it doesn’t work like that. Now if you look, BoxNation and Frank Warren are really trying to steer the ship towards making the fight between us, since I beat Farrag, which they weren’t doing before.

“I’m ready for it whenever. We have the same management and promoter in MTK and Frank Warren, so they will get very quickly fed-up of lumping up sums of money for him, just to get beaten again. They’re paying him decent purses, but is it worth it, because if you look at his fight in Manchester on the 22nd, he wasn’t even on the posters. Tommy Fury in his debut, someone who had about eight amateur fights was on it over him. The whole argument was you’ll see the best Paddy when he steps up, well we didn’t, as he got wiped out in four rounds.

“I don’t get personally invested in boxing, I just enjoy every aspect of it, even the winding each other up side of it, but if I really didn’t like someone, then I don’t think there would be any better course of action than to get good money to punch their head in live on TV… He keeps coming out with things like I really don’t like Sunny Edwards, I hate him. Well you can’t hate me that much. Because you’d want to punch my head in.”

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