By Keith Idec
While most boxing observers are wondering when Peter Quillin will face Danny Jacobs, Curtis Stevens or another middleweight who’s reasonably noteworthy, the WBO 160-pound champion is preparing for another optional defense Saturday night in Washington, D.C.
Quillin (30-0, 22 KOs) is scheduled to defend his championship against Lukas Konecny (50-4, 23 KOs) in a 12-round fight that’ll start Showtime’s tripleheader from the D.C. Armory at 9:30 p.m. ET. It isn’t a high-profile fight, but Quillin understands Konecny came to the United States for his debut on American soil with absolutely nothing to lose. The 35-year-old contender from Czech Republic is a 16-1 underdog, and is expected to help showcase Quillin and build momentum toward the Grand Rapids, Mich., native’s future fights on Showtime.
“Well, let’s just say, first and foremost, if we worry about too much [in the future] and don’t remain focused, then I wouldn’t have what I have,” Quillin said. “So I know that Lukas is a strong challenger, very experienced, and I’m going to focus on that. I know he’s going to come and fight for a world title shot. It gives somebody another sense of motivation, so I have to just worry about what’s in front of me and then, after the fight, I can worry about these other guys and worry about unifying the belts. But I just know that nothing is possible without looking good in this fight and winning spectacularly to consider myself as one of the best in the world.”
Konecny, ranked No. 2 by the WBO, said he had over 250 amateur fights. He began his 13-year pro career before Quillin even participated in one of just his mere 15 amateur matches. The former WBO interim junior middleweight title-holder has not been knocked out as a professional, but he has dropped decisions in 12-round junior middleweight matches to Russia’s Zaurbek Baysangurov (29-1, 21 KOs), Ukraine’s Serhiy Dzinziruk (37-2-1, 24 KOs) and Italy’s Michele Piccirillo (50-5, 29 KOs, 1 NC), and lost a split decision in a 10-round, 154-pound bout to Spain’s Ruben Varon (42-8, 20 KOs).
“I can look at any fighter and say that they’re dangerous because like, for instance, I don’t really know anything about Lukas,” Quillin said. “I just know that I’ve seen some videos of him and he seems very determined and he brings a lot of pressure. I just think I have to really focus on what he’s going to bring, because anybody is very dangerous, especially when they’re fighting for a world title.
“I’m an American star. This guy is a European star, and he’s pretty big in the Czech Republic and everybody seems to know him. Being a world champion doesn’t mean that I just fight guys in America or guys that American fans are familiar with. I think a world title-holder fights everybody across the world to be able to bring the best out. So I’ll just stay focused on that. I just know what I’ve been working towards, and [I’m] motivated being home, training here in Brooklyn. And, like I said, I’m just looking for a spectacular victory.”
A knockout win would qualify at least as impressive, considering Konecny hasn’t been stopped since making his pro debut in June 2001. But Konecny has a grand plan of his own.
“I know he is a world champion,” Konecny said. “I know he’s taller than me, he’s got a good punch and he has some skills. He’s, of course, a good world champion, but not a very good one. I think he has more experience, but not with the same style as I have. I have over 250 amateur fights, over 50 professional fights.”
When asked to clarify what he meant by “not a very good one,” Konecny added, “I think he’s a good boxer. He’s a good fighter. He’s a good champion, but I can beat him.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.