Most eyes will, of course, be on Ruslan Chagaev and Fres Oquendo on July 6th in Grozny when the two ring veterans meet for the vacant WBA world heayvweight championship. But there is another big name in the co-feature who wants to get back to old stardom: "The Black Panther" Juan Carlos Gomez faces unbeaten Goran Delic for the WBA International cruiserweight title.
"I am looking forward to this big fight and especially to fighting in Grozny", says Gomez. "I heard only good things about the city and the people down there. I know that I have lots of friends and fans in Russia. So this will be a special night for me."
"The Black Panther" has a lot in common with the two main event fighters Chagaev and Oquendo: They were all excellent amateurs before making their pro debuts back in the 90s. Chagaev and Gomez have even been stablemates for most of their careers at Universum Box-Promotion in Hamburg, Germany, and became world champions in their respective divisions. The Cuban defector won the WBC cruiserweight championship in 1998, while Chagaev crowned himself WBA world heavyweight champion by beating "Russian Giant" Nikolay Valuev in 2007.
"It's great to fight on the same card as Ruslan again", states Gomez. "We go back a long, long time and I have always liked and respected him a lot. I also know Fres who is a Latino just like me. Both guys are excellent boxers and I am sure that this will be a great fight. But I have to focus on my own job - and that's Goran Delic."
To get back on track in the cruiserweight division after an unsuccessful run at heavyweight between 2002 and 2012 which led him to a world title shot against Vitali Klitschko which he clearly lost, Gomez has to get passed a guy like Delic. But the unbeaten Bosnian (24-0) is looking for the biggest win of his career so far in order to get into position for a world title shot.
Adds Gomez, "Like every unbeaten fighter Delic will do whatever it takes to defend his '0'. But I got bad news for him: The 'Black Panther' is hungry and will eat up that '0'. After this fight he finally knows what losing feels like."
Gomez has always been very self-confident - and he never changed his mantra over the years: "On July 6th in Grozny, I will continue my successful comeback at cruiserweight and show the world that whenever and wherever the 'Black Panther' enters the ring... IT'S SHOWTIME!"