MINNEAPOLIS – Boxing fans in the United States probably would have an easier time pronouncing Aidos Yerbossynuly’s surname than identifying any of the conquests on the Kazakh contender’s unblemished record.
Ronnie Shields, David Morrell’s respected trainer, still believes Yerbossynuly can give his talented, undefeated fighter plenty of difficulty during their 12-round, 168-pound championship bout Saturday night at The Armory. Morrell (7-0, 6 KOs) is consistently listed as at least a 10-1 favorite ahead of their “Showtime Championship Boxing” main event (9 p.m. ET), yet Shields considers this assignment more challenging than those lopsided odds suggest.
“This is definitely not an easy fight,” Shields told BoxingScene.com following a press conference Thursday at W Minneapolis The Foshay, a hotel near The Armory. “I’ve been watching this kid [Yerbossynuly] ever since they made this fight. You know, he impresses me a lot. He can punch and he seems like he’s always in good shape. This has been my longest camp with David [10 weeks]. I feel like we got a lot more done this camp than we did the previous two camps, so he’s doing a lot more things that I think he needs to add to his game. And I really feel good about this fight.”
Shields wasn’t particularly pleased with Morrell’s performance in his last fight, a fourth-round stoppage of Kalvin Henderson on June 4 at The Armory. The result was what they sought, but the skillful, strong southpaw’s recklessness once he buzzed Henderson during the second round made Shields realize that there was plenty of work to accomplish during their recently completed third training camp together.
“He went in to try and knock this guy out,” Shields said. “That wasn’t the plan. The plan was to set up the knockout, and he didn’t do that. And then when he did hit him and hurt him, you know, he just went crazy. That’s something you just can’t do, because that can cost you.”
The crowd in Minneapolis, where the Cuban-born Morrell resides when he’s not training at Shields’ gym in Houston, impacted Morrell’s performance against Arkansas’ Henderson (15-2-1, 11 KOs). Shields implored Morrell while preparing to battle Yerbossynuly (16-0, 11 KOs) to block out what figures to be another raucous crowd in Morrell’s adopted hometown.
“I like how he finished the fight, but he fought different than what I trained him to do,” Shields said. “He went out to go get a knockout. I wanted him to show some skills first, then get the knockout. But he just got caught up with the crowd, and that’s the thing that he can’t do. I tried to explain that to him as best as I could, to make him understand that, ‘Look, it’s easy to go in and hurt a guy, but sometimes you might not get him. You might not knock him out.’ But then, all of a sudden, you didn’t train to do this thing that’s there now and you’ve gotta get yourself back [on the game plan]. And he did do that in the next couple rounds.
“But you can’t make mistakes when you get to a certain level. Those mistakes will cost you. I told him, ‘You can’t listen to the crowd. You’ve gotta block the crowd out. You’ve gotta concentrate like you do in the gym, when you don’t have a crowd. Everybody wants you to win, and that’s fine, that you’re trying to satisfy the crowd. At the same time, why did we work 10 weeks and then you go in and do something different? So, I think we’re on the same page now and he understands that he can’t let the crowd dictate what he does in the ring.”
Shields continues to preach patience regarding the 24-year-old Morrell’s development. With only seven professional fights on his record, Shields doesn’t see the need to rush Morrell into a fight against unbeaten WBC interim super middleweight champ David Benavidez (26-0, 23 KOs), who announced on social media Thursday that he and former IBF 168-pound champ Caleb Plant (22-1, 13 KOs) have signed contracts to fight at some point early in 2023.
In the 30-year-old Yerbossynuly, Morrell will encounter a hungry, rugged contender who knocked out Lennox Allen in the 10th round of his most recent bout, which took place in September 2021 in Astana, Kazakhstan. Brooklyn’s Allen (22-1-1, 14 KOs) is the only opponent who has taken Morrell the distance as a professional.
“He’s a pressure fighter and he doesn’t get hit flush,” Shields said of Yerbossynuly. “That’s something that we have to make sure that we do, touch him and get him to understand that this is a different level than what he’s been in with. But, you know, David can’t get into his game. David has to stick with what he does best and he’s gotta make Aidos do things that he wants him to do and stay in control of the fight. And so, that’s gonna be the most important thing, that David stays in control and doesn’t rush himself to do something that he doesn’t have to do. It’s a 12-round fight, so he just needs to let the fight come to him, and I think he’ll be OK.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.
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