YVAN MENDY insists he is “stronger than the last time” as he prepares to face Luke Campbell for the second time, in a WBC lightweight world title eliminator.
Mendy defeated Campbell via split decision in December 2015, handing the London 2012 Olympian his first professional defeat.
On that night, Campbell’s former Olympic teammate Anthony Joshua topped the bill, defeating rival Dillian Whyte via a seventh round stoppage to claim the British title.
Fast forward almost three years, and Campbell and Mendy meet for the second time, again on an AJ undercard. However, according to Mendy, and Campbell’s new trainer Shane McGuigan, the goalposts have changed since their first encounter.
“In the first fight Luke was still developing, I feel like he’s improved a lot,” said McGuigan.
“I also feel like people can’t take away the fact that Yvan Mendy has improved a lot. He’s had seven fights, seven wins since and he’s now ranked within the top two with the WBC, he’s a very good fighter.
“You know what you’re going to get with Yvan Mendy, whereas because [Luke] has changed since then, although he has an idea of what Luke Campbell is going to be like on the night, there’s a different beast in there now, and I believe there will be a completely different outcome.
“Once you have a blemish on your record like that I feel like you have to go in there and correct it and he’s been looking for the fight for a long time. For one reason or another it has not materialised.”
Since that defeat Campbell, 30, has gone on to also fight seven times, losing just one against then WBA world champion Jorge Linares.
It could perhaps be argued Mendy, 33, is a bigger underdog than he was almost three years ago, despite owning a win over his opponent. However, the Frenchman does not think about his odds going into the rematch.
“I’m stronger than the last time, I don’t care about being the underdog or the favourite, I’m just stronger than the last fight,” he said.
“I focus on myself, I feel that I’m stronger and I can’t imagine how the rounds will go on Saturday but I’ve never felt as strong as I do now.
“I’m not so superstitious but maybe it’s a sign that Joshua was there last time but it’s another story and another fight so we will see on Saturday.
“I really am ready to fight against the likes of [Vasyl] Lomachenko, [Mikey] Garcia, Linares, I am not afraid of any boxer. I trust my team, my promoter and my trainer to find the best solution after my fight against Luke Campbell.”