Randall Bailey pulling out of his fight with Devon Alexander was a blow to the September 8 card at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. But the next best thing may actually be a better fight.
WBC super lightweight contender Olusegun Ajose (30-0, 14 KOs) will take on Lucas Matthysse (31-2, 29 KOs) live on Showtime’s Championship Boxing on Saturday night. It should be an interesting bout as Ajose will be fighting in the United States for just the second time in his career.
Ajose took time out of training schedule to answer a few questions about Saturday’s bout.
What do you know about Lucas Matthysse? "I know he's one of the toughest in the division. He's quite tough. He lost twice, but I think he was robbed both times. I know he comes to fight, but I only saw two of his fights - against Devon Alexander and Zab Judah. I didn't see his fight against Humberto Soto. There are more fights of me on YouTube than there are of him, so he probably knows more about me, but when we fight we'll learn a lot about each other."
Will your style cause a problem for him? "He's never fought me before. Regardless of how many lefties he's fought, it doesn't matter. Every opponent is different. I can't say I have an advantage because I'm left handed. He's got his weak side and his strengths, and so do I. I've got more speed, more skills, more experience and that's what's going to make me successful against him. "My advantage is my skills, my experience in the ring - not that he's had more fights here (in the U.S.) than I have. That doesn't matter. He may have fought more times here, but he's never faced anyone like me."
Matthyse lost split decisions to former champs Devon Alexander and Zab Judah and could easily be undefeated. Is this your toughest fight to date? "I think he's the toughest opponent on paper, but I can't say that he's the toughest guy until after the fight. He definitely is on paper, but I don't know how that will translate in reality. Other than me, he's probably the toughest in the division. I'm the only one better than him. He's better than Danny Garcia, Zab Judah. Apart from me, he's the best. "The big difference between us - it's common knowledge I've been deprived of this fight for so long. I've been ready to fight for a championship for four years. Now that I have this opportunity I'm not going to let it go. I better win this fight. I'm going to give everything I have to win this fight."
You've never been knocked down but he has 29 KO's in his 31 wins. How will you handle his power? "Just because he can punch other boxers doesn't mean he can fight me. He has never fought me. When he punched Zab did he knock him out? No. Did he knock out Alexander? No. I'm at their level. Knock me out? That's not going to happen. It's going to be me knocking him out, not the other way around. "Ali Cheba had an 80 percent knockout ratio and when he hit me it didn't hurt me. I proved my chin. I knocked him down twice but he didn't hurt me. I felt some of his power but nothing I couldn't handle."
Do you feel you need to knock him out? "Obviously, every boxer wants the knockout to avoid the decision; however I'm not going to be looking for it. If it comes, great. I just want to win and I'm going to do my best to win. I'm going to fight in a way that will make it difficult for anyone to rob me. It's going to be clear decision. I am prepared to go all the way and make it obvious that I won."
Who do you want to face next in the 140-pound division if you beat Matthysse? "Danny Garcia. That's who I want to fight, 100 percent. After I beat him I want Danny. He's been saying he's better than me; okay, come out and fight if you think you're a superstar. Show me you're good., because right now I have a bigger fish to fry, and that's Lucas. Lucas is way better than Danny. Right now I'm thinking about Lucas. After I beat him we'll think about Danny."