By Brock Ellis
LUCK is a matter of preparation meeting opportunity.
For Australian super-bantamweight champion “Mighty” Mark Quon – this is exactly the case. However, if you were to look-back seven days prior, Quon’s situation would almost be the exact opposite.
In training for a non-event six round fight in his home town of Melbourne, Quon’s career appeared to be at a legitimate crossroads.
Cursed with a lack of opportunities but blessed with an abundance of natural ability – Quon has been forced to watch on as less-talented but financially-backed fighters around him were given opportunities to challenge for regional titles on bigger promotions against inferior opponents with inflated records.
However, this all changed last Friday when Quon received the call he has been waiting for his entire professional career.
When European super-bantamweight champion Kiko Martinez withdrew from his highly anticipated bout with talented but relatively untested Irishman Carl Frampton after his father fell ill, all hope was lost for Frampton’s and the Irishman’s first high-profile title-shot as a professional seemed to be gone.
Promoter of the event, Matchroom Sports’ Eddie Hearn searched high and wide to find a new challenger for the highly touted Frampton, who Sky Sports named as one of their ‘11 to watch in 2011’ to no avail. That was until the call was made to the Australian champion through former IBF light-welterweight champion and fellow Australian Lovemore N’dou.
After days of speedy and productive negotiations – the fight with Frampton was made and Quon boarded a plane headed to Ireland to challenge the Irishman for the vacant Commonwealth super-bantamweight title.
Despite the luck in receiving the call at the right time, not everything has gone to plan for the heavy underdog.
Quon, 33, has made the trip without his regular trainer Mick Hargreaves – who has remained in Australia to concentrate on his other fighter Dianna Prazak, who is also preparing for the biggest fight of her professional career when she takes on WIBA super-featherweight champion Lindsay Garbatt on September 24th in Melbourne.
Quon will instead be cornered by his close-friend and fellow fighter in WBO #3 super-featherweight “Wild” Will Tomlinson and his manager/promoter Adam Wilcock, who also made the last-minute trip to Ireland.
Understanding of his position as a firm-underdog, Quon (11-3-1, 2 KOs) believes he has the tools to trouble the Barry McGuigan mentored Frampton, 24, who has only gone the ten-round distance once in his short ten-fight career – which has spanned over two years.
“The fight was taken on short notice, but I was (already) in training for a fight that was scheduled for September 24th,” said Quon from the comfort of his hotel in Belfast. “Being the underdog does not worry me, I’m thirty-three now and opportunities like this don’t come often - this may be my only shot.”
The Australian, who landed in Ireland on Wednesday night, has been using all of the short-time available to him – working with fellow visitor Breidis Prescott, who will challenge hometown favourite and former world-title challenger Paul McCloskey in the main-event at the Odyssey Arena on Saturday night (UK-time).
“Since I have landed, I have been training regularly with Breidis (Prescott) and his trainer (Luis Lazaro De Cubas). Training with a world-rated fighter is a great experience,” Quon continued. “I’m feeling comfortable at my weight and making weight isn’t a problem for me. It hasn’t been for a problem for me in this fight either.”
Frampton, (10-0, 6 KOs), is one of Ireland’s many bright-hopes in the punch-for-pay ranks. As an amateur he won a respectable silver-medal at the European Union Amateur Championships in 2007, only falling in the final to future Olympic Silver Medalist and equally talented Frenchman Khedafi Djelkhi.
Quon was modest in his assessment of his opponent, but was firm in his believe that he has the skills to beat Frampton in front of what is expected to be a sold to capacity home-crowd.
“I think I can trouble Carl, he can box and punch but I have fought all different types of boxers over the years. Come Saturday night he is just another one, nothing more.”
Follow Brock Ellis on Twitter @brockellis01.