Finland’s undefeated Edis Tatli (23-0) is taking a step up in class when he challenges Cuba’s Richar Abril (18-3-1) for Abril’s WBA lightweight world title in Helsinki, Finland on Saturday September 20th.
Tatli is a relatively unknown entity outside of Europe, having only fought once outside of is home country. The only real opponent of note in his 23 fight career so far is the former IBF world champion Mzonke Fana who Tatli beat easily by unanimous decision in December of 2013.
With only seven of Tatli’s fights ending inside the distance it raises questions about his power. According to Pekka Mäki, Tatli’s trainer and manager, the number doesn’t tell the whole truth.
“In the beginning of his career I told Edis to get as many rounds in as possible to build up his experience,” said Mäki. The fact that in his last five fights Tatli has stopped three of his opponents inside the distance indicates that as his career has progressed he has begun using his power more.
With a week to go both trainer and fighter appear relaxed. “I’ve never seen Edis as fit as he is now,” said Mäki “Sparring has gone well and I’ve told him to relax and enjoy this historic event.”
When asked, Tatli would not be pressed for a prediction on how he sees the fight playing out, other then that he’ll be victorious. “No predictions,” said Tatli “I’ll make my adjustments on the night and do what’s necessary. I feel sharp and I’m ready.”
Richar Abril, who will be facing a deeply partisan crowd, will have other plans. Abril and his team visited Finland for a promotional tour prior to the fight and while the meetings between the two fighters lacked the trash talk so common in professional boxing today, the tension between them was palpable.
The fight is drawing massive media attention in Finland. Not since 1952 has Finland hosted a bona fide world title fight. The excitement and anticipation is showing and it’s not just fight fans who have caught the boxing bug. Tatli’s build up to the fight has been the subject of a TV-documentary series and he has become a common face on national television. Tatli’s sudden rise to fame in his home country doesn’t appear to have affected him adversely, if anything, with each media appearance, he appears more and more relaxed. Even before each training session he still finds the time to go through his daily routine of smiling and greeting everyone at his gym.
Tatli is ready to make national sporting history in a bout that the promoters have simply named “The World Title” first he must get past the capable defending champion.
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