Matthew Thirlwall is in upbeat mood ahead of his American debut at the Seminole Hard Rock Arena in Florida this Friday on the undercard of Howard Eastman’s IBF Middleweight final eliminator against Edison Miranda.
The 25-year-old will take on Mexican born, American based Moises Martinez over six rounds on the show being televised by ESPN.
“It’s good to be out here,” said Thirlwall from his hotel yesterday. “This is a great experience. I am delighted to be boxing on a bill like this at such a prestigious venue. I landed ten days ago and have spent some time in local gyms soaking it all up and now I am looking forward to the fight itself. I am looking to make a big impact.
“It’s only a six-rounder, but it will give me a feel for fighting on a big American event. I don’t know a great deal about Martinez. I have seen his record, but you can’t take much notice of them in America, most of the kids out here can fight. Their records are deceiving.”
The sparring Thirlwall has got in on this trip will be particularly beneficial. In addition to renewing his ring acquaintance with Howard Eastman – whom he also helped prepare for then undisputed champion Bernard Hopkins last year – he has got in a few rounds with the highly rated Canadian super middleweight champion Jean Pascal.
“Obviously, Eastman is world-class,” Thirlwall, who stopped 7 out of 8 on the way to his ABA title, appraised. “Sparring with a guy like that is invaluable, particularly given his experience; he has done just about everything. I have enjoyed my sessions with Pascal as well. He is a big talent. He is really aggressive, strong and powerful, a proper handful.”
On his return then, the Bermondsey Boy can be expected to be in prime condition for his onslaught on domestic honors.
Last time out he lined up a shot at the English super middleweight title by sensationally stopping Donovan Smilie on Sky Sports in a final eliminator that in addition to providing one of the candidates for the fight of the year, could well have featured knock out of the year.
Instead of opting to take that opportunity, however, he has elected to move back down to middleweight, where he has been instantly rewarded with another final eliminator for the English, (against Ryan Kerr on a Hennessy Sports promotion in May).
“I took the fight against Smilie for the Championship experience,” Thirlwall explained. “But I only came in at 11 stone 9lb after training hard, so I will be sticking at middleweight.
“Smilie was naturally heavier than me and was able to lean on me and slow me down when he got in trouble. I could feel the difference in weight, but there is no middleweight that will be able to push me back. I am going to be bull strong in this division and fancy my chances against anyone.”