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Edwards vs Campos: The Curious Case of Sunny Edwards

Image: Edwards vs Campos: The Curious Case of Sunny Edwards

BY BN24 Staff: “I can’t get fed to the wolves, I am the wolf. I am the top of the tree.”

Confidence isn’t a trait lost on Sunny Edwards. The reigning IBF flyweight world champion believes that not only is he the best flyweight in the world, but he’s also one of the best pound-for-pound on the planet. Irked by the fact that there are multiple claimants to the 112-pound throne, he isn’t afraid to preach it to his fandom.

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“It sickens me. It pains me that there’s three other people at my weight that walk around saying the same shit that I say,” Edwards said on an episode of Matchroom Boxing’s In Camp show on Youtube.

“The fact that, with professional boxing you can’t force someone into the ring with you and they can go marauding around with a belt – look at (Julio Cesar) Martinez: how can he even consider himself a world champion? He won it (WBC title) in a vacant (bout), failed a drug test, same fight rescheduled, rescheduled, rescheduled, fighting easy opposition I’d get slaughtered for (fighting).”

Trained by Grant Smith, father of British super-lightweight champion Dalton, at the Steel City Gym in Sheffield, the south Londoner has been flourishing. This Saturday night, in his first outing under the Matchroom Boxing promotional banner, he’ll defend his IBF strap against Andres Campos at Wembley Arena, live on DAZN.

It’s been a long road for the 27-year-old to eventually be headlining a Matchroom event as a defending world titlist. With only 15 registered pros in the UK at flyweight and 13 at super-flyweight, it’s notoriously difficult making domestic matchups, meaning a naturally speedy transition to regional belts and international contests is the norm for British boxers in the lightest weight-classes.

‘Showtime’ moved to 14-0 by December 2019 capturing the British title at super-fly and several regional belts at flyweight and super-fly. He’d showcased his skillset and only shown minor flaws being dropped twice, once by Marcel Braithwaite and by Junior Granados. Then, at the genesis of the Covid-19 pandemic, his career moved up a level.

A decent win over current European bantamweight champion, Thomas Essomba, led to a crack at the IBF 112-pound title in the spring of 2021. The legendary South African, Moruti Mthalane hadn’t tasted defeat since 2008 and appeared to be the ultimate test for the young Briton. He passed with flying colours in a behind-closed-doors York Hall.

Parting ways with Frank Warren led to two defences of his title in the space of four months in Dubai, against Jayson Mama and Muhammad Waseem. In his last outing, he turned away the challenge of former light-flyweight world titleholder Felix Alvarado. Sadly, the fight at Sheffield Arena wasn’t picked up by a major television broadcaster.

Edwards will be heavily favoured to win on Saturday against his Chilean challenger, which he desires to precede a unification bout against Jesse ‘Bam’ Rodriguez, Artem Dalakian or Julio Cesar Martinez. If that doesn’t transpire, he’ll likely vacate in search of big fights away from flyweight. However, recent reports indicate that Eddie Hearn is overseeing talks for Rodriguez and Edwards to unify later this year.

In truth, it feels like he needs to be facing the other champions because his mandatory defences and defences against any fighter other than the elite are one-sided and uninspiring to watch. This is no fault of his own. A lack of power is the only facet of his career holding him back from being a superstar. His boxing and defensive skills are world class, but his last eight consecutive fights going to the scorecards bring an element of similarity and predictability. He’s won them all by unanimous decision, a feat to be celebrated, but not one that attracts fans yearning for excitement from combat sports.

Campos himself explained the seeming lack of support that Edwards possesses in the UK.

“It’s crazy – nobody cares about Sunny Edwards here in England. I have the support of Chilean fans and all of the English fans who I have met. Everyone on my social media is telling me that I have to beat this clown.”

Sunny’s abrasive personality and constant bickering on social media produces mixed feelings from fans. Well known for heated exchanges on Twitter, it’s clearly something he enjoys. Trolls beware: He even scrapped with one who travelled to his gym for a fight, after the keyboard warrior went a little too far with his abuse.

Bizarrely, a feud with brother and former WBC flyweight kingpin, Charlie, could be on the horizon. It is a fight that would attract obvious interest and publicity if the siblings faced each other.

“I think he’s a clout-chaser and that’s what this is about,” Sunny explained in a recent issue of Boxing News. “It might have hurt him a little bit that I just signed with his old promoter and he wanted a bit of attention. Who could begrudge him that? I’d hate to be my brother too.”

“First and foremost, he needs to work his way up the rankings. He’s in the middle of obscurity at the moment, to be calling my name when I’m top of the game, world champion with a lot of career prospects and storylines.”

“There’s too much in front of me and not enough in front of him. He wasn’t calling out his little brother when he was a world champion, he didn’t give me a world title shot did he? And if he did, I would have taken it off him then. Cheeky c**t. And he knows that as well.”

If true stardom awaits the talented Londoner, a signature victory in a big fight is a must. As a world champion, he’s already achieved so much. But, it feels as though there is more to come and he may excel if given the opportunity to unify the division, and truly become lord of the flys.

On the undercard to Saturday’s Sunny Edwards show, live on DAZN, Ellie Scotney gets her shot at IBF super-bantamweight world champion, Cherneka Johnson. Originally scheduled to take place on the Katie Taylor vs. Chantelle Cameron undercard a few weeks ago, Scotney was forced off the card by Cameron’s team due to Scotney being guided by Shane McGuigan – Cameron’s former trainer.

Also, Nina Hughes defends her WBA bantamweight crown against Katie Healy. Healy replaces Shannon Courtenay, who withdrew from the fight and the opportunity to win her old title back.

Cheavon Clarke faces David Jamieson and Youssef Khoumari battles Reece Belotti, in British title eliminators at cruiserweight and super-featherweight, respectively. Charismatic heavyweight Johnny Fisher looks to remain unbeaten in his ninth pro outing.

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