By Luke Furman
Italian Olympian Leonard Bundu (33-1-2, 12 KOs) is already gearing up for a planned IBF final welterweight eliminator with Errol Spence Jr. (20-0, 17 KOs), which is being targeted to headline a special Sunday edition of Premier Boxing Champions on NBC. The date of the fight is August 21
The winner of the contest will become the mandatory challenger to current IBF world champion Kell Brook (36-0, 25 KOs), who is heading into a unification with WBO champion Jessie Vargas on a tentative date of September 3rd.
The fight is the biggest for Bundu since a twelve round decision loss to current WBA welterweight champion Keith Thurman in December of 2014. Bundu has only fought twice since then, winning both.
Several other contenders who are rated above Bundu rejected the opportunity to face Spence. At 41-years-old, Bundu cannot afford to turn the fight down.
"It's a great opportunity. At my age you can not say no, you have no other possibility. At twenty years old you sit back and think, wait around and see what happens in the near future. At 41 you have to take the risks," Bundu told Dario Torromeo.
"Thurman was tough, but this will be more than that. I was impressed by the way that he dominated Algieri. But now I have more experience with regard to the high-level challenges. The first time I went with in there with some doubt and that slowed me down. This time I want fight. There are no doubts about anything, I want to fight. Certainly he will not fight like Thurman. He likes to attack. It will be more dangerous, but it will also be a small advantage for me because I prefer to box at close range. "
"I am aware of the difficulty of the fight, I know that I will find myself in front of a champion, but I have enough experience to handle a situation like this. My left uppercut to the liver, at the middle or short distance, might be the punch capable of blowing everyone out of their chair. Let me be clear: I'm not saying that I'll go in there and get a knockout. I'd be a fool. The match is difficult, very difficult, dangerous."
"I feel good, I'm motivated and I have experience. I do not mind the age difference. For now I am training in Cisterna. In mid-July I'll be moving to Florence from Boncinelli. I'll need adequate sparring, sometimes we were a bit rushed, but this time we won't be. We'll have to be more scientific. When I went to Las Vegas to face Thruman, I realized that he knew more about me than I knew about him. He knew how many shots I threw a round as I was moving, how long I needed to rest. He had thoroughly studied me. I was always limited when it came to watching videos. But now I think it's time to take a step forward. We need to study Spence thoroughly."
Luke Furman covers boxing for bokser.org.