ORANGE, Calif. - WBA Lightweight Champion Darleys Perez (32-1, 20 KOs) arrived in England over the weekend giving himself roughly one week to settle into a new country before defending his world championship against Anthony Crolla (29-4-2, 11 KOs) in Crolla's hometown of Manchester this Saturday, July 18.
Since losing a close decision to Yuriorkis Gamboa two years ago, Perez has won four in a row. During that span, Perez, who is from Colombia, won the interim title against Argenis Lopez last June. He followed up that win with two successful title defenses, the most recent coming in January against Jonathan Maicelo.
With WBA belt holder Richar Abril not able to fight, Perez now holds the full title, while Abril is the champion in recess.
The Thompson Boxing team caught up with the Colombian native and got his thoughts on his upcoming world title defense.
As you prepare to defend your title, what has been the most difficult aspect of this training camp?
"I think getting adjusted to the different time zones has probably been the most difficult part of this fight. I trained in Los Angeles and now I'm in England, so just getting used to the time change and getting the required amount of rest before fight night is what I'm focused on.
Any concerns over fighting Anthony Crolla in his hometown?
"He'll have everyone in the arena rooting for him. He'll have the full support of the crowd, but none of that bothers me. I know what I have to do to win and there's no way I'm going back to Colombia without my world title."
What are your strengths as a boxer?
"My mental and physical fortitude. I don't get rattled. I don't waste rounds. I find my rhythm early and try to win every round.
Why did you pick up boxing?
I started really young. It wasn't really a hobby or a sport that I thought I would make a career out of. I started boxing to defend myself. It was that simple for me. Where I'm from (Uraba, Colombia), you need to know how to fight.
Perez is co-promoted by Thompson Boxing Promotions and Gary Shaw Productions.