Rising star Spence Jr targeting title shot by maintaining rampant run against Bundu
Lee Gormley | August 19, 2016
Errol Spence Jr v Leonard Bundu
- IBF welterweight title eliminator
- Sunday, August 21st
- Scheduled for: 22:30 BST
- Ford Amphitheater, New York
- Live on BoxNation
Spence Jr targeting title shot with Bundu win
Former American Olympian Errol Spence Jr looks to continue his rampant run through the professional ranks this weekend and set up a world title bout, as he takes on Italian veteran Leonard Bundu in his home state of New York.
At the Ford Amphitheater, Spence Jr (20-0, 17 KOs) will enter the ring after blasting through all 20 of his previous opponents and the welterweight rankings, as he aims to overcome Bundu (33-1-2, 12 KOs) in this IBF title eliminator match-up.
The 26-year-old reached the quarter-finals at the 2012 Olympics in London and within four years has become a force to be reckoned with at 147lbs in the paid ranks, having impressively stopped his last seven successive opponents.
With Spence Jr targeting a title shot, the New York southpaw knows he needs another strong showing against a defiant Bundu, with the 41-year-old having never been stopped in his long-standing career, and the rising welterweight star is 11/4 with Coral to secure an eighth consecutive knockout victory inside rounds 4-6.
‘The Truth’ set for superstardom
The unbeaten prospect, ranked number two by the IBF, is tipped by many to reach the top of the sport and possesses all the traits needed to become a superstar, proven by his recent performances against Chris Algieri and Alejandro Barrera.
Long Islander Spence Jr, known as ‘the Truth’, did what both Manny Pacquiao and Amir Khan couldn’t in April, as he handed fellow New Yorker Algieri his maiden stoppage defeat, dispatching him inside just five rounds.
The dangerous world title contender has not been taken beyond eight rounds since June 2014, and is 11/4 to halt Sierra Leone-born foe Bundu within rounds 7-9 on Sunday night in his own backyard and book a shot at Kell Brook’s IBF crown.
Halting another fighter that is so far yet to be stopped would be another huge statement for the former Olympian but, while many will argue he needs a career-defining bout to enter the elite fray, Spence Jr believes he’s already up there at 147lbs.
“I definitely see myself in the top six or seven,” stated Spence, who is 6/4 for a points win. “I think it’s great group of guys. If everybody fights each other, anybody who comes out of top in that welterweight division is a future hall-of-famer. I know I’m just two steps away from kicking in the door.”
Bundu an “awkward” challenger
Sheffield’s Brook is the current IBF title holder, but is 4/1 to cause a major upset and stun middleweight kingpin Gennady Golovkin in September after stepping up two weight classes, though he will likely drop back down afterwards.
Before Spence Jr can think about going toe-to-toe with the likes of Yorkshireman Brook, he must first get the better of tricky customer Bundu, who is 16/1 to derail the promising American’s title aspirations.
“Bundu is awkward,” he continued. “He switches from southpaw to orthodox. Has a a lot of experience but I feel like I’m the bigger fighter. I’m stronger. I’m faster. I’m smarter. I’m going going to use my skills and my boxing experience just to beat him.”
In a division stacked full of talent, including former Bundu conqueror and current WBA champion Keith Thurman, Spence Jr is fully aware of the challenges ahead and is relishing the biggest test of his career this weekend.
“This to me is the biggest fight of my career because this is a title eliminator. I have to handle business on Sunday [because] it guarantees me a world title shot on my next fight,” added ‘the Truth’.
Following earlier wins over Sammy Vargas and Chris van Heerden, recent sparring partner for UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor, among others, Spence Jr will soon enter the ring on his home patch knowing he’s just two more victories away from achieving his dream of becoming world champion after a rampant rise to prominence.