By Matt Bevan (@MBevs68)
Most fighters who are eight fights into their pro careers are looking at potentially securing an Area title, perhaps an English title or aiming towards a future British title shot. There aren’t many who go for a world title, unless they are a special talent, in their ninth.
It is becoming the norm with fighters who were top, world class amateurs like Vasyl Lomachenko, who succeeded and Zou Shiming, who failed in their campaign to win a world title in the shortest amount of time possible after turning pro.
Charlie Edwards may not have the credentials of those two, but his amateur background is excellent and his progression through the pro ranks has been excellent so far. He won the English title in his fifth fight, before defending it and winning an international belt in his seventh.
The 2011 European bronze medalist has done everything right so far, although I would still have liked to see him take on former amateur rival Andrew Selby for the British title, but he is really up against it on Saturday when he takes on John Riel Casimero for the IBF flyweight world title.
There have been some comments claiming that the Filipino is the worst of the champions at the weight, which you have to agree with. But, that is only because the other champions are pound-for-pound King Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez, who is moving up anyway and Juan Francisco Estrada, whilst Japanese three weight belt holder Kazuto Ioka holds the WBA’s regular title.
Casimero won the title back in May, stopping Amnat Ruenroeng, who was recently one of the three mercenary Olympian’s at Rio 2016, in one of the dirtiest rivalries in recent years, and will be unfazed by travelling into Edwards backyard.
Casimero is an established two weight world champion, whilst Edwards is still pretty green, but nevertheless very talented. He will have the crowd on his side, but Casimero has seen it all before. After escaping a riot in Argentina, when he beat Luis Alberto Lazarte, I doubt he will be ruffled by a crowd that will be doing their best to resemble an episode of The Only Way is Essex.
If you want to see what I mean by the riot, have a look at the link below to see the madness unfold.
Edwards is getting this shot early, although it is not against the grain at the lower weights, where fighters progress a lot quicker and can win multiple titles much quicker than at the more well known weights.
But, one thing they always provide are thrills and spills and breathtaking speed and action. If you haven’t seen fights at this weight before you could well be in for a treat.
It will be interesting to see if the Epsom man comes of age in the fight and shows that he is ready to mix it with the elite. It was an unexpected opportunity but one he must take with both hands.
But, just because you haven’t heard of a fighter, doesn’t automatically mean it should be an easy win for Edwards, a mistake plenty are making online. Casimero is no joke and the young 23-year-old Brit is well up against it here.
He has six more stoppages than Edwards has wins, so that proves his power. If Edwards tries to drag him into the trenches, it could be the worst thing he does, as the Filipino is more than comfortable is those situations.
Edwards will have to box and stay out of range, but as I’ve mentioned before, a good fighter will always adapt and enjoy some success during the fight. Casimero will be more than happy to pursue Edwards and knock him out of his rhythm and comfort zone.
I applaud Edwards for taking the fight so early in his career. In reality he doesn’t have anything to lose and a good performance in defeat could see him in more big fights. A win means he becomes the quickest Englishman, not Brit, to a world title.
He’s gone against the convention of building himself up against journeymen before moving up when he feels he is ready. He is jumping in the deep end early to try and make a name for himself.
Good luck to him, although I don’t think he’ll win and I wish more young fighters would do the same. You either win a fight or you learn from a loss, so Edwards will gain something no matter what. However, it may well be too much, too soon for him.