By Terence Dooley
Guillermo Rigondeaux (16-0, 10 KOs), Jazza Dickens (22-1, 7 early), Terry Flanagan (30-0, 12 KOs) and Mzonke Fana (38-9, 16 stoppages) appeared before the assembled press in Cardiff earlier today to discuss this weekend’s bill of boxing at the city’s Ice Arena, a show that will be broadcast live on BoxNation here in the U.K.
WBA World Super bantamweight holder Rigondeaux, 35, and British titlist Dickens, 25, were supposed to fight earlier this year, but a Visa issue prevented the highly acclaimed Cuban boxing from travelling over from Russia to make that date. This time, though, he has made the trip and opened up the show with some words of respect for his Liverpool-based opponent.
“Out of all of the 122 pounders in the world, Dickens is the only one who had the courage to take me on,” he said, making a pointed reference to his rivals. “The fans are going to get an amazing show, we had a great training camp and I'm ready to go.”
“I have great respect for him, he is a warrior and leaves it all in the ring,” he added. “I'm ready to face anyone in the world, I'm quicker than UPS and better than Fedex. All the other Super bantams like to talk and talk, but they won't fight me—they know where to find me.”
“I've been working with Rigo for many years, he's the only fighter to face others with winning records,” argued Pedro Diaz, his trainer. “If he's not the best, he's the most complete boxer in the world. For us he is in a class of his own.”
Dickens knows he is up against it yet he vowed to seize this once in a lifetime opportunity to test himself against the very best the division, and the sport, has to offer. He said: “I'm the massive underdog, I'd just like to say to all the youngsters out there don't be afraid to chase your dreams. We've got a good game plan coming in to this fight. He's a man after my own heart.”
Manchester’s WBO lightweight titlist Terry Flanagan hopes to secure a local showdown with WBA holder Anthony Crolla, but the 27-year-old is refusing to look past Fana despite claims that a KO win is a formality in this one.
“There's talk of big fights out there but first I've got to deal with this one,” he stated. “It's going to be a tough fight, he's a two-time world champion [he twice held the IBF's Super featherweight belt] who is well schooled and experienced. This Saturday night I'm going to get in there, put on a show and do the business.”
Just like Dickens, the visitor is a prohibitive underdog. However, Fana, 42, believes he has the experience to upset the odds away from home. “I respect Terry, but on the 16th we'll see who is who—I'm here to fight and to take the title,” he declared. “I've come here with a mission and with a vision of winning the world title for a third time.”
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