Civil foes: American fighter Rubin Williams and Australia’s Les Sherrington.
Civil foes: American fighter Rubin Williams and Australia’s Les Sherrington. Scott Powick/ SMP Images

Boxing rivals show air of respect

UNLIKE most press conferences in the boxing world, yesterday’s square-off between Les “Lock ‘n’ Load” Sherrington and Rubin “Mr Hollywood” Williams was rather civil.

Although both hard men are confident of getting the job done tonight at the Gold Coast Convention Centre, each showed an air of respect for the other’s noted calibre.

The American in particular quashed stereotypes of the big-mouth boxers from his home country.

“I’m looking forward to the fight,” Williams said.

“I have fought many top guys but Les will bring something different to table.

“He’s a nice bloke. I could probably even have dinner with him because there’s no hatred. It’s just business.”

However, that is not to say the man they call Mr Hollywood, who has fought the likes of Jeff Lacy for the IBF world title and more recently been in with current WBA champion and Olympic gold medallist Andre Ward, didn’t get a couple of little pre-fight digs in.

“I don’t need to talk,” he said.

“A lot of people get into a war of words and up in people’s faces, but they generally have more bark than bite. I’m from Detroit, Michigan, the murder capital of the world and I’m telling you not much talking gets done there.

“Once the bell rings it’s show time. I’m just concerned about doing my best, and if I do that I’ll win, because I don’t think there is much Les can show me.”

Gold Coaster Sherrington, 27, was in action last on November 27 at the same venue, when he dispatched another former world title contender, Shannan “The Bulli Blaster” Taylor, to claim the WBF championship.

In an impressive display he accounted for the aging Taylor easily.

That win instilled much confidence in Sherrington. However, he too was not keen to spout off, much.

“I’m appreciative of the opportunity to fight a guy like Rubin,” Sherrington said. “I respect him and I know it will be my biggest and hardest fight.

“But I’m in the best shape of my career and I’m confident of scoring an impressive victory.

“Will it go the distance? We’ll see when the bell sounds.”

Respect seemed the order of the day for the conference, put on by promoter Jamie Myer, with heavyweights Bob Mirovic and Alex Leapai showing an equal amount of admiration for their heavy-handed opponent.

“I want to fight Leapai because I believe he is the best in Australia, and if I can’t beat him, then there is no point in carrying on,” former Australian heavyweight champion Mirovic said.

“I respect everything Bob has done for boxing and particularly the Australian heavyweight scene, but if what he’s saying is true, then this will be his last fight,” Leapai responded.

Also on the card, Tweed Stingrays product Matt “Third Degree” Burns, trained by Tony Nobbs, trades blows with Mark Pawsey from the Tony Mundine Gym.

Burns has been there with some of the best on the circuit and believes his experience will get him across the line.

“I’ve done the work. I’ve had 92 rounds of sparring with Australian No.4 light heavyweight Trevor Jacky, and the talented Will Hadlow,” Burns said. “I’m moving well, my footwork is vastly improved and, more importantly, I’ve got a tonne of ring experience.”

In the opening bout at 7pm Alex Ahtong fights Josh King, then Rey Anton Olarte fights Olympian Ryan Langham and Ray Lucas tackles former NBL star John Szigeti.

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