“He’s never fought anybody that hits as hard as I do. If they did, they weren’t around long enough to test him like I will be. He has to know it’s not going to be easy fight. He’s not going to just come in and walk me down like I’m 2-17.” So says Washington DC (via Philadelphia) heavyweight locomotive Maurice “Freight Train” Byarm (13-1-1, 9 KOs).
Elaborating, the fighter says he’s never had a better training camp than the one he just finished in preparation for his 10-round showdown with Russian southpaw powerhouse Magomed “Mago” Abdusalamov (14-0, 14 KOs).
The two big men will meet for the WBC United States (USNBC) Silver Heavyweight Championship in the co-main event of the Sampson Boxing and Greg Cohen Promotions show entitled “The Moment of Truth”, this Friday, July 6, at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, and televised live on ESPN Friday Night Fights.
In the main event that same night, featherweight prospect Javier “El Abejon” Fortuna (19-0, 14 KOs) will take on the toughest opponent of his career when he faces former IBF Featherweight Champion Cristobal Cruz (39-13, 23 KOs).
Even though he’s coming off his first career loss, a close decision to fellow undefeated prospect Bryant Jennings in January, 29-year-old Byarm says the jump from one notable TV fight to another is exactly what he needs and Abdusalamov has the exact style to help him make the most of it.
How did training camp go, Maurice?
I feel great. Training camp went fantastic. Hands down, it was my best so far. I did a few things different for this camp. I had to change things up a little bit because I had to prepare for a southpaw puncher. I had to rotate a little differently and move differently, but overall, I feel blessed coming off a TV fight into another one. That lets me know I did a good enough job that people like to see me and are impressed with my performance.
What do you think of Abdusalamov as a fighter?
He’s a fighter and I respect that. I can’t take anything away from him. But I will say it’s going to be a war in there. He’s a puncher and so am I. He has the exact right style for me because he always comes forward and I have the exact right style for him because I do the same. But I don’t think he can fight going backward. I can.
In retrospect, what went wrong in your last fight?
I didn’t use my jab like I should have. I could have done a lot of things behind my jab. I could have taken breaks with it, or stepped up the pace behind it, but instead I just followed him around trying to land a big shot and Bryant was in good enough shape to be elusive the whole 10 rounds.
So what’s going to be different this time?
I’m going to win. This fight I had a lot more time to prepare. Everything was good. All my ducks are lined up perfectly. I’m going in at 100%. I had the greatest sparring I’ve ever had. I’ve even impressed myself this training camp.
Are you worried at all about his punching power?
I’m not really worried about his power. I’ve got a reputation as a puncher also, so it comes down to who punches harder. He’s never fought anybody that hits as hard as I do. If they did, they weren’t around long enough to test him like I will be. He has to know it’s not going to be easy fight. He’s not going to just come in and walk me down like I’m 2-17.
His team is very confident he’s the next world champion. Can you comment on that?
One thing about him that might be bad or good, his camp has a lot of faith in him, but sometimes when your camp shows more faith than reality that’s when things get screwed up. He’s good. I can’t take that from him, but it’s like I told another interviewer. Numbers can be easily manipulated. You can make a six look like a nine, all you have to do is flip it upside down.
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Tickets for “The Moment of Truth” are priced at $29 general admission, $44 reserved, $104 ringside and $204 VIP and are available at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino box office daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and through Ticketmaster, either by calling 702-474-4000 or 800-745-3000, or by going online at ticketmaster.com.
On fight night, doors open at 5:00 p.m. and the event starts at 5:30 p.m.
All bouts are subject to change.