I think Muhammad Waseem is tough. I was maybe a little bit disappointed that this was the most lucrative, most viable fight for me to take. For me there’s other exciting fights out there. I was holding out for a fight with Julio Cesar Martinez that fell by the wayside.
But I had the back-up plan. The day we found out about Martinez and Chocolatito fighting I think the next day we announced my fight because it was all pre-agreed. I’m liking to think I’m getting to a point where I’m knowing how to navigate this boxing world a little bit better.
Over 12 rounds I feel like every fight goes the same way. By the second round they’re putting a lot of effort into it, the third round I’ve got their rhythm and for the next nine rounds I punch their head in. That’s what I think is going to happen with Waseem. But I don’t think he’s going to make it the whole 12 and this is the first time I’ve ever said that as a pro. I’ve never said I’m going to stop anyone. I might not because he is genuinely quite tough, he put Moruti Mthalane down, he went the distance with Moruti, someone who hits harder than I do. But I’ve just got a youth and an exuberance and a rhythm to my work that I think is too much against someone like Waseem. Bear in mind we’ve sparred rounds before, I punched his head in in a 14-foot ring with a metal bar headguard in front of his face, with 14-ounce gloves on. He can’t hit me. He struggled to hit me and I hit him at free will.
It doesn’t matter what he’s going to try and do. I’m going to batter him, I’m going to make him look silly. I’m going to make a joke of him. I’m going to showboat, make it flashy, I’m going to goad him. I’m going to hurt him, I’m going to bust him up. I’m not focusing on what he’s going to do. For me, he doesn’t deserve to be in the ring with me. The last thing he did that impressed me in a boxing ring was when he put Moruti down in the 11th round. Since then he’s had close fights against D or E level opponents, if that. He’s the other end of the spectrum from me.
But obviously we’ve got to find out. I’m going to come out and I’m going to show him I’m levels above him. But I still have to do that.
The stakes are high. This is something I’ve worked my whole life to gain. Do you think I’m going to give it up?
I was always asking for the best fights. If you’re as good as you think you are, and you’ve got a good team around you, and you prepare, you’ll be able to beat everyone or at least think you can.
As soon as someone mentioned my name I was ready to go there and then. Any name I’ve ever mentioned I’m ready to go there and then. I’ve never said anything related to boxing that I wasn’t ready to stand on in my whole entire life and that includes flying out to San Diego on 24 hours’ notice to fight Román González. I would have gone. I don’t say things I don’t mean.
I might just be completely deluded. But trust me in my head, I believe it.
Every step I take is vital. Because the fall-off at this point is way too far. The fall-off’s way too far.
Ideally I get a fight like a Martinez next and have a wicked little belt collection that would probably give me British fighter of the year. Because, I can’t lie, I want to win that so bad. I got nominated this time, and that was nice. Josh Taylor was a very deserved winner. Beating Waseem that’s not going to move the needle too much but if I beat a Martinez at the back end of the year, after the year I had last year, after already being top three… I could get there. I could push for pound-for-pound in Britain.