Jonnie Rice realizes that his seventh-round stoppage of Guido Vianello could lead to an offer for him to fight Jared Anderson next.
Las Vegas’ Rice has sparred with the undefeated Anderson enough to know that fighting him would be much more difficult than boxing Italy’s Vianello. The 23-year-old Anderson (13-0, 13 KOs), of Toledo, Ohio, has established himself as one of the biggest punchers in the heavyweight division during his three-year professional career and is widely viewed as one of boxing’s rising stars.
Matchmakers for Top Rank Inc., Anderson’s promoter, haven’t solidified Anderson’s opponent for his next fight, which will take place April 8. ESPN will televise Anderson’s next bout as part of a broadcast that’ll feature Shakur Stevenson’s debut in the lightweight division, which could come against unbeaten Japanese contender Shuichiro Yoshino.
“I can’t stop the way things go,” Rice told BoxingScene.com in reference to being offered a fight with Anderson. “You know what I mean? I’ve mentioned Jared Anderson countless times. He is outstanding. He does fight incredibly well. And if they had to put me in there against him, then I would have to go to another level of training. That’s just a fact, because he is that good. And I definitely got better working with him immediately, just like I got better working with Michael Hunter or Efe Ajagba. It’s similar to that. I wouldn’t do anything on short notice, not even close, with him.”
Rice (16-6-1, 11 KOs), who beat Michael Coffie in his two prior appearances, took his fight versus Vianello (10-1-1, 9 KOs) on less than one month’s notice. Vianello, a 2016 Olympian, was initially scheduled to fight Stephan Shaw, who was elevated into the main event against Ajagba on Saturday night because Ajagba’s original opponent, Oscar Rivas, withdrew due to a detached retina.
Vianello was ahead on all three scorecards (59-55, 59-55, 58-56) when a huge cut above Vianello’s left eye caused a stoppage in the seventh round of a co-feature ESPN aired from Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York. Rice was declared the winner of their scheduled 10-rounder by technical knockout because a damaging right hand he landed during the sixth round opened Vianello’s gruesome gash.
The 35-year-old Rice credited Anderson and Ajagba (17-1, 13 KOs), who unanimously out-pointed the previously undefeated Shaw (18-1, 13 KOs, 1 NC) in the 10-round main event, for helping prepare him for his victory over Vianello.
“Jared helped me get ready for this fight,” Rice said. “I’m not gonna lie, he beat on me a few times in sparring. He’s a great fighter.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.