WBA ‘Super’ World Bantamweight Champion Rau’shee Warren is confident of beating mandatory challenger Zhanat Zhakiyanov in Toledo, live on BoxNation this Friday night.
There are two World Title fights on the bill at the Huntington Center, as Robert Easter Jr defends his IBF World Lightweight crown against Luis Cruz.
Speaking to PBC, Warren described his excitement ahead of the show: “As amateurs, me and Robert dreamed about fighting as professional Champions on the same card. Now all of Ohio is coming out to see us.”
[Image credit: Premier Boxing Champions]
The 29-year-old lifted the WBA strap last June, avenging his only career defeat to Juan Carlos Payano 14 months earlier. Warren’s first defence on Friday is against Ricky Hatton-trained Kazakh Zhakiyanov, who has earned a stoppage in 18 of his 26 wins.
“One round of one of his fights was all that I needed to see. He comes straightforward trying to walk you down. He’s a mandatory, so I won’t overlook him. I respect everybody, but I see myself giving angles, wearing him down and beating him easily - especially in Ohio,” said Cincinnati boxer.
In preparation for the bout, Warren has been training alongside former Super-Lightweight king Lamont Peterson, who challenges David Avanesyan on the Adrien Broner undercard on February 18th.
“Since I got here in December, it’s been Champions building up Champions in the gym. We’re going hard, pushing and motivating each other. You’ll see the results on both cards on February 10th and February 18th.”
As well as training alongside Peterson in recent weeks, last May Warren spent two days sparring Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis, who was crowned IBF Super-Featherweight Champion last month.
The American believes seeing Davis become boxing’s youngest World Champion gave him desire to impress. “Watching Robert and Tank become champions was motivational. I’m ready to defend my title with the hunger of a challenger,” he added.