Sunny Edwards says he does not mind if people believe he is feather-fisted, but he says he punches harder than he is given credit for.
Edwards challenges Moruti Mthalane for the IBF flyweight title in London on April 30, a big step-up for the unbeaten Londoner and with only four stoppage victories on his record, some will question whether he has the power to make it at the highest level. But the 25-year-old says his power is very under-rated.
“People who have been in the ring know I am much more heavy-handed than journalists or fight fans give me credit for,” Edwards said.
“I will happily let everyone thing I am a little feather punches that carries no weight in my hands, because when they are trying to break me down, they will get stung by shots. I’ve faced good level fighters and put them on their arse.
“I don’t need to prove anything to anyone apart from getting that win because I am not going to risk my percentages just to stand and trade with someone, because with a big puncher, they could land a lucky punch and I could get knocked out.
“But when I need to bit down on my gumshield, when I need to plant my feet and let my hands go and get some respect, I do get it. I’ve faced guys who are bigger than me, stringer than me and more athletic than me, but how many times have they ever walked through me? Because when I do hit them, it stops them in their tracks.”
Edwards’s style is not based around power, though. It is very seldom in his career that he has been dragged into a tough fight and he sees no reason why his style will not transfer to a higher level.
“I don’t mind me classing me as a non-puncher,” he said. “I have had 101 professional rounds and I have lost very few of them. It is a reputation I think my platform and reputation is building well. If II wasn’t attractive to watch, I wouldn’t have been on TV as much as I have.
“I’ve had 15 pro fights, at least half at a decent level. How many times have you seen me under intensive pressure where they have built on it and built on it? People have knocked me down with a flash shot and still lost the rest of the round.
“If I do need to sit down on my punches, I can, like against Pedro Matos, who went the distance with Dennis McCann, who is a big-punching bantamweight. I may have shipped a few more punches than usual, but I busted him up and got him out of there.”
The South African champion has been around so long, that Edwards was only 12 when he first boxed for a world title.
“He has boxed countless rounds in world title fights, but with that comes a sort of pattern,” he said. “I don’t think he has ever had a fight against someone like me. I am going to show him something he has never faced before. I’m not going to stand and trade, I am going to make him work for absolutely every punch he throws.
“A lot of the time he fights, he doesn’t really think about what he has to do. Because he's so good at coming forward, normally fighters will stand and trade and then try and move around.
“I’ve got the legs and freshness that can cause him nightmares. He is very good at what he does. He is good at breaking down and busting up opponents and making world class fighters look very ordinary.”
Ron Lewis is a senior writer for BoxingScene. He was Boxing Correspondent for The Times, where he worked from 2001-2019 - covering four Olympic Games and numerous world title fights across the globe. He has written about boxing for a wide variety of publications worldwide since the 1980s.