By Mike Coppinger
Philadelphia cruiserweight Garrett “The Ultimate Warrior” Wilson will meet Canadian Troy Ross in an IBF Final Eliminator this fall, the winner to face No. 1 cruiserweight in the world Steve Cunningham.
While Wilson (10-5-1, 4 KOs) will be a decisive underdog against the 36-year-old Ross (24-2, 16 KOs), the tough and rugged cruiser is confident that he can shock the boxing world and spring the upset.
“I believe that my toughness will be too much for him as well as the fact that I’ll be able to outbox him,” said Wilson, known for his willingness to fight through punishment.
“I’ve always liked to fight. Even as a kid, I liked to fight. Now, it’s something where I can actually channel my aggression into.”
Although Wilson, 29, doesn’t have a glamorous record, he has shown steady improvement, reeling off two straight impressive victories. He knocked out Aaron Williams in November of last year and then followed that victory with a dominant 12-round decision over Omar Sheika.
“I think that my earlier losses are contributed to the fact that I’m learning as I go,” said Wilson, who only fought 11 amateur contests. “I’m quick to jump in over my head sometimes, but at the same time, I believe that the sparring that I get – I have sparred Steve Cunningham at one point, I’ve sparred Eddie Chambers, I’ve sparred Yusaf Mack – helped me out along the way with some of the techniques.
“As you can see, the quality of fighters has been getting better as I’ve been going along and I’ve been getting better as well. I’m not quite as wild as I used to be, before everything was power, me trying to throw ridiculous power shots and trying to know everybody out in one hit. Now I’m more subtle and I take my time and just take the shots as I see ‘em.”
No date or television has been set for the cruiserweight clash as of yet, but Wilson is course hopeful that the fight will find a home on a network.
“I’m one of the toughest guys in this weight class,” said Wilson. “I’m just eager to prove it on television.”
Mike Coppinger is a regular contributor to both USA TODAY and THE RING Magazine. He is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America,THE RING Ratings Advisory Panel and the Yahoo! Sports Boxing Panel. Find an archive of his work at www.mikecoppinger.com. Follow him on Twitter: @MikeCoppinger. Write to him: [email protected].