Sunny Edwards suggests “championship boxing” as he prepares for a flyweight defense
Sunny Edwards believes that a successful defense of his IBF world flyweight title on Friday will be a springboard to begin high-profile bouts against fighters in smaller weight classes.
Edwards talks as fast as he can, and one of his ideas is to set up a tournament made up of brothers boxing featuring the likes of him, Naoya Inoue and Jesse “Pam” Rodriguez and their siblings.
Edwards (18-0, 4 KOs) who takes on Mexico’s Felix Alvarado (38-2, 33 KOs) at Sheffield Arena in England on Friday, is ready to rise in the weight class to battle the big names and suggests it can be done. As part of a unique competition in which brothers who are among the best in the world in flyweight, mini pant weight, bantamweight and mini featherweight participate in it.
Edwards’ older brother Charlie (17-1, 7 KOs), 29, made one defense as the 2019 WBC world flyweight champion while Texas brothers “Pam” Rodriguez (17-0, 11 KOs) and Joshua Franco (18-1- 2, 8 KOs) holds the WBC and WBA junior welterweight titles respectively. Franco had three fights with Australian Andrew Moloney (25-2, 16 KOs), who lost his twin Jason (25-2, 19 KOs) to the bantamweight world champion two years ago.
WBC-WBA-IBF king Inoue (23-0, 20 KOs), from Japan, is one of the best boxers in the world at any weight, and his younger brother Takumi (16-1, 3 KOs) also ranks high in bantamui and featherweight Little.
Former WBA Junior Bantamweight Champion Cal Yafai (26-1, 15 KOs), of England, and younger brothers Jamal (19-2, 11 KOs) and Jalal (2-0, 2 KOs), who won an Olympic gold medal in Tokyo 2020, It is another well represented family in the lightweight categories.
“Now we have something we may never be able to reciprocate again, you can put teams of two brothers against each other in a win-win tournament,” Edwards, 26, told ESPN. “Me and Charlie for the first team, then the second team will be Cal and Jalal Yafai, then the third team will be Andrew and Jason Moloney, the fourth team will be ‘Pam’ Rodriguez and Joshua Franco, and the fifth team will be the Inoue brothers.
“What a round of sibling fights that would be. We’re all in the same weight classes, there’s a story, and we can fight on the same card. I’ll give Charlie the easiest fight if he wants. There’s only one world between us so I’ll fight the best one.”
Edwards used to quarrel with Charlie and does not rule out fighting against him in the future.
“We’ve had very good races, the heat has turned up and if that happens it will be one of the best fights ever,” Edwards added. “For a long time Charlie agreed that I was the man, but whatever he did, [his] Coach Joe Gallagher made him think he could beat me again. I thought I had bothered this confidence from him a long time ago, but if Charlie wants to fight, he can come and get it—he might actually accept it this time.”
For now, Edwards is delighted with the challenge of Alvarado, 33, of Nicaragua, who relinquished the FIFA junior flyweight title to advance to the league.
“I think he’s the most dangerous man in the department outside,” Edwards said. “He is the only person in my weight who is a real world champion like me. He was an IBF [junior] Flyweight champion and climbed up without losing his title. It’s a massive punch and only lost to the world champions and it’s good to face someone who has set his goals against me, it’s good to have someone who is confident in my warrior because I haven’t had that yet.”
Edwards, a skilled mover in the ring, is desperate to face the big names after WBC Heavyweight Champion Julio Cesar Martinez and others are accused of avoiding him.
“None of the other fighters, the heroes, want to fight me,” Edwards said. “They don’t want to standardize titles, it’s pathetic. Felix is the last name I need to clean up in flyweight before I go up because there are no fights as exciting as in super flyweight or bantamweight, which I think I can go into.”
“I’ve chased the Julio Cesar Martinez fight for the last 18 months as a champion and before that too, when my brother Charlie was the world champion and he was beaten by him. I never got close to him. For six weeks we accepted the terms, the date and location, the money, and after he started camp he decided he need more money.
“Just this year I made Martinez fight a fight and then pulled out, and then Ricardo Sandoval decided to have another fight as well. [WBA champion] Artem Delacyan does not want to know. [WBO champion] Junto Nakatani is the only other person I want to fight at flyweight.
“I want to compete with the likes of Ino and Rodriguez, [Roman] Gonzalez, [Juan Francisco] Estrada and Nakatani. I don’t want easy fights. I’m a nightmare for anyone in my day. I need to face these guys to take on the challenge I need.”
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