|THE IBF WORLD flyweight champion Sunny Edwards will make a first defence of his title against the unbeaten Filipino Jayson Mama at the Copper Box Arena on Saturday September 11.|
For ‘Showtime’ Sunny, 16-0, this mandatory challenge for his belt comes just over four months after his exquisite skills proved simply too much for the former long standing and decorated champion Muruti Mthalane at York Hall, where he became his promoter Frank Warren’s 149th world champion a matter of months after the Hall of Famer celebrated 40 years in the professional sport.
This time around, the 25-year-old Edwards will have the additional boost of crowd support inside the Copper Box on a show that falls squarely near the beginning of the traditional boxing ‘season’.
It should make for a spectacular start to the new campaign, with Edwards up against a 16-0 challenger, whose KO-record justifies his stage name of ‘Smasher’. The 24-year-old has stopped nine of his 16 opponents and hails from a nation with a rich pedigree in the lighter weight classes.
Promoter Frank Warren commented: “This is a bit of a step into the unknown against an unbeaten fighter who will be as confident of victory as Sunny was against Mthalane. Jayson Mama was good enough to step aside to allow Sunny his shot at the South African great and now it is his turn to attempt to upset the odds.
“To my mind though, Sunny is the best flyweight on the planet and this is just the beginning of a glorious reign as champion. He wants to unify and win the Ring Magazine belt and we will look to do that, but he has this mandatory obligation to navigate through first and he cannot take anything for granted.
“After winning his title in an eerie atmosphere, it would be fitting if the public really come out in their numbers to support Sunny on his journey as world champion and I hope the Copper Box is full to the rafters in recognition of his achievements.”
Ticket information to follow next week.
Boxing is back live on BT Sport for a second consecutive week, this time boasting a World Title fight. The action kicks off tomorrow night, live on BT Sport 1 HD at 7pm.
In the main event, brilliant South African Moruti Mthalane (39-2, 26 KOs) defends his IBF World Flyweight championship against Croydon’s Sunny Edwards (15-0, 4 KOs).
In a ten rounder Belfast’s WBO number one ranked Super-Bantamweight Michael Conlan (14-0, 8 KOs) faces dangerous Romanian Ionut Balata (14-2, 3 KOs).
Big punching Southampton Super-Featherweight Ryan Garner (9-0, 6 KOs) and Reading Super-Welterweight Joshua Frankham (2-0) are also in action.
Joshua’s cousin, Levi Frankham is one of two debutants alongside Finchley Super-Welterweight Jonathan Kumuteo.
Weigh-in results below:
Sunny Edwards 111lbs 5oz
Moruti Mthalane 111lbs 14oz
Michael Conlan 121lbs 15oz
Ionut Baluta 122lbs
Troy Williamson 153lbs
Kieran Smith 153lbs 7oz
Jordan Ellison 141lbs
Ryan Garner 136lbs 12oz
Naheem Ali 156lbs 3oz
Joshua Frankham 152lbs 15oz
Paul Cummings 155lbs 11oz
Levi Frankham 158lbs 4oz
Dale Arrowsmith 159lbs 10oz
Jonathan Kumuteo 158lbs 5oz
Stephen Jackson 119lbs 12oz
Andrew Cain 121lbs 10oz
SUNNY EDWARDS BIDS for world title glory on Friday night at York Hall when he takes on the formidable IBF flyweight champion Moruti Mthalane, live on BT Sport 1 from 7pm.
The challenger faced the media today, along with Michael Conlan and Ionut Baluta who make up the bantamweight chief support.
Below is a selection of quotes from the preview event.
Sunny Edwards, 15-0-0 (4)
I don’t think anyone has ever come to a press conference and said they have been really struggling or a camp has been hard. Every camp is hard, but it went as well as it could have gone. I want to thank Frank, MTK and BT. I have had a lot of notice for this fight and people inside the offices know I have taken short-notice fights, hard title fights at four and a half weeks notice and less than that.
For this one I have had 13 weeks where I have known the opponent, the scale of the fight and the event for a very, very long time. I have had the time to prepare meticulously, my trainer Grant has done a great job, as always, and the team is very strong. I am just looking forward to welcoming myself to the world scene on Friday night.
I need to look like myself on the poster! They must have great photoshop skills or must have foreseen the future with me being in great shape. I have always known what to do and how to get there, but with using my talent I have allowed myself to cut corners when I shouldn’t have. I’ve always trained hard and I am very fit, I am always in the gym and love training. I don’t do anything else, if i don’t go to the gym I am pretty much sitting around the house all day. Apart from my sons, there is not much more to me than boxing, if I am honest.
It has been easy to make the adjustments and my strength and conditioning coach has been cooking for me the last 13 weeks. Together with my food sponsor, the food has been put on a plate for me and I haven’t had to think about what times I am eating. It has been a good run-up, I have dedicated and committed myself to it and I am hoping those efforts will show on Friday.
Having kids has really made me appreciate what I had growing up, the opportunities I had. One thing I can say about my dad is there was never a lack of effort that went into me or my brother. He was 100 per cent full tilt from early on and we used to run something like 36 miles a week, much more than I do now!
You’ve got to enjoy the journey. Too many people focus on the destination to make them happy, but if you enjoy the day to day, whether it is camp or dieting, these are the best times of my life and a lot of boxers forget that. I am enjoying every second of it, enjoying walking in and seeing big posters of myself next to a good friend in Michael Conlan, who was a hero of mine.
It is good to be recognised as part of the top tier by just challenging for a world title and I will make my claim on Friday to join the handful of British world champions and one of the two Frank Warren promoted ones next to big Tyson. I will be where I feel I have deserved to be for a long, long time.
I don’t really know my optimum weight because I have never before applied myself like I have this time. I am eating four meals a day, two steaks yesterday and a steak and two eggs already today, with two more meals to come. I have never been like this on fight week and normally I look at food and see weight. I’ve done it properly and jumped off the scales at 51.8 yesterday, which is under the super fly limit and normally with the cut I do you would see me very drawn and my eyes a bit poppy. I look different this time and probably could drop down to light flyweight. If I lose I will just blame the weight and move down!
One realism when I first called for this fight was that he was the only MTK-signed champ. I have seen him spar up close and logged enough upstairs to think when the time comes I would be able to take him. That is no slight on him because he is a great, great world champion. I don’t need to sell him anymore than the media team has been selling him, other than to let everyone know he is a proper world champion.
I just wanted the best and he has been ranked No.1 by Ring Magazine for a little bit now. That is what I want, although I am not quite sure how the Ring rankings work, but surely if you beat the man you become the man. I am trying to be the best at the weight and, from being No.1, I can then start looking down and pick off the other champions.
I want to be at the top of the tree and recognised as such. I want to test myself and be known as one of those fighters who takes the best/hardest fights, the biggest fights that my name and platform will allow me to have.
I’ve got a ‘no quit regardless’ mentality and I think I will learn more from the 12 rounds on Friday night than I have in a large proportion of the rest of my career, which is why I am looking forward to it.
MICHAEL CONLAN 14-0-0 (8)
It has been an up and down 12 months. The things that have happened are part of life and everything happens for a reason. Before my injury my performance last August (Sofiane Takoucht) was my best as a professional and I believe I am now continuing on from that. I have had injuries, we have had a pandemic, but it is what it is. I was devastated when I did my ankle, but it happened for a reason and now I am back, fully recovered and looking forward to Baluta on Friday. I was already planning to move down to Super-Bantamweight before my injury in December. The pandemic showed me how easy it was to drop down. I am making 122lb very comfortably. I actually make 122lb easier than I was 126lb and that’s nice. I am looking forward to going in and putting a performance on. This is the weight where you will see the best performances from me and that is what I am looking forward to. This fight cements my mandatory position with the WBO and hopefully I will fight for the belt this year. I am very confident of that happening. First, I have to get rid of Ionut and I believe I will do it in good fashion. I don’t need to ask anything about his win against David Oliver Joyce. I look at him and I see what I have to see. Ionut has pulled off two very wins recently and he is a very good fighter. He is a very dangerous fighter. He has beaten two Irish guys (TJ Doheny and David Oliver Joyce) in a row and his confidence is sky high. I believe that I will put on a performance and shut that completely down.
IONUT BALATA 14-2-0 (3)
This is a great opportunity to fight Michael and I am hopeful that he will be the third Irish fighter I beat. I will be doing the best I can. I respect Michael as a fighter. He is a very good fighter, but we are about to find out who is the best between us. I am very focused on winning this and wont think about the future. This fight is very important as regards getting a World title fight in the future.
|SUNNY EDWARDS HAS vowed to make sure 2021 is another big year for the underdogs by following in the 2020 footsteps of Teofimo Lopez, Dillian Whyte and Jeison Rosario by shocking the boxing world when he takes on IBF Flyweight World Champion Moruti Mthalane.|
Last year saw the bookies – along with a good few pundits – rocked by a series of high profile fistic upsets, and 2021 has started in a similar fashion with Mauricio Lara and Lennox Clarke recording stunning victories over higher ranked opponents.
Upsetting the odds is what Edwards will need to do if he wants to take possession of the IBF belt held by the battle-hardened champion on April 30, live on BT Sport.
This particular betting underdog is a dedicated lover of our canine friends and will need to summon up the bulldog spirit of his beloved hounds against the 39-2 ruler of the division, with 26 KOs to his name.
Edwards is the proud owner of two American Bullys – Duchess and Kilo – who he insists are not quite as fierce as they look. He knows it is up to him to prove once more that underdogs can snap and bite with the best of the pedigree champions.
“I am pretty happy to be considered the underdog,” confirmed the 25-year-old. “They have been on a great run recently and especially since boxing went behind closed doors.
“It is a trend I am confident of continuing and when I get the belt it will be in safe keeping with Kilo and Duchess protecting the crown jewels! I might have to ask the IBF about sanctioning some world champion dog collars if it all goes my way.
“And I know my dogs look quite mean, but they are big teddy bears!”
Edwards goes into battle admitting that he might be minus the supposed menaces of his four-legged family and will need to assess what he is up against in the opening couple of rounds.
“I think I will have to move around and have a look for the whole 12 rounds, to be honest. You don’t go head on against an immovable object, I’ve got to try and work around it for as long as I can.
“This is definitely a 12-round fight and I have trained for 15. All I know is, I wouldn’t try and beat him in an arm wrestle, so I am not going to try and beat him in a fight!”
Edwards is both familiar and friendly with the 38-year-old, known as ‘Babyface’, since spending time together over in Ukraine at a training camp.
“It is a friendly one since we were together in Ukraine and we have got each other on social media, so it has always been a ‘good luck’ or ‘well done’ before and after fights. He is top of the division, top of the tree and he is where everybody else wants to be.
“He is heavily avoided, we know that. I think he’s had like 10 world title fights and nobody has ever given him a unification shot. He has proved time and time again he will be the away fighter, even as a world champion.
“I think you have to understand the beast I am getting in the ring with, to be honest. I do.
“When I got out of the ring in Ukraine he said I would 100 per cent be a world champion, when I asked him for a picture. Hopefully that 100 per cent will be on April 30 and against him, but he is such a nice man and a great champion.
“I do genuinely feel honoured to be sharing a ring with him, but all the friendliness will fall by the wayside when that first bell goes. I just need to win and having that world title would mean the absolute world to me and it would put me up there with the top British fighters right now.”