Canadian Steven Wilcox believes a boisterous Irish crowd celebrating St Patrick’s Day and cheering on his opponent will actually work to his advantage, at The Star this Saturday. Wilcox fights Sydney-based Irishman Darragh Foley in the main event of the second Johnny Lewis Fight Series promotion and the Canadian fully expects the big punching Foley to get caught up in the occasion.
“We have sat down and watched a bunch of his fights and he is no easy opponent, but he is not a great boxer. He’s a swinger! He actually makes his fights a lot harder for himself because he fights to impress the crowd and doesn’t fight for himself,” says Wilcox.
“This is a massive fight for both of us - the winner goes to the next level, top five in the world - and of course he’ll have the crowd on his side but I’m not going to worry about them, whereas he will be desperate to please them. I’ve watched him do it in his fights. While he’s doing that I’ll be outboxing him.”
At stake in the main event are WBA-affiliated regional Super Lightweight belts, and a place in the WBA’s top five. Currently Foley is ranked at eight with Wilcox at 10 - while the WBA Super Lightweight Title was won on Sunday by Belarussian Kiryl Relikh.
“Most of Foley’s knockouts have been against smaller opponents and often when he’s being outboxed. But this is the kind of fight I’ve been working towards since I started boxing at nine years old - I am not going to let it go,” says Wilcox.
“I know I’ll have big support back home where all my people will be watching the coverage live on Epicentre.tv. They’ve booked out two sports bars - The Hometown Sports Grill in Ottawa where I’m based, and EndZone in Hamilton where I’m from - and there will be hundreds of people in both cheering me on.”
Foley goes into the bout with typical confidence, and on a six fight winning streak. The Irishman has detailed plans to give his fans a memorable St Patrick’s Day before heading overseas to chase a World Title shot.
“It’s going to be great headlining a show on St Patrick’s Day. How could anyone beat me on St Patrick’s Day? Throw me in with Crawford, Thurman, whoever! Nobody can beat me on that day - it will be a sea of green! I have to do it for my country,” says Foley.
“I’ve watched him (Wilcox) a bit. He’s very tall. He’s a skilled boxer but it doesn’t look like there’s any power there at all. It’s my show - I’m the main event - so I want to go in there and perform. I want to stake my claim in the division. This is number 8 against number ten so it’s an unofficial World Title eliminator.”
“After this fight, my next fight will be in America or the UK. It’s time to take this show on the road! I’m going to sit down with some different managers and work that out once I take care of Steven Wilcox.”
Foley v Wilcox is the main event of the Johnny Lewis Fight Series promotion at The Star in Sydney, this Saturday.