Veteran Leonard Bundu is preparing for the biggest night of his nine-year pro career on Saturday night as the Italian goes up against renowned puncher Keith Thurman at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
At 40 years of age, a shot at the big time has been a long time coming for the former European title holder who faces a tough task opposite a young fighter with an almost 90% KO ratio through 23 contests.
Under no illusions of the challenge that faces him at the weekend, Bundu says he will use his extensive ring experience to nullify the threat posed by Thurman and put himself within touching distance of a full world title shot.
“Well, given Keith’s power, I have to adapt. I have to use my intelligence, my tactics,” said Bundu.
“I have experience. I box pretty well. I’m a very instinctive guy, but I don’t like planning fights too much. When I get in the ring, I adapt. So of course, I’m not going to trade punches with him, but I’ll adapt. I’ll put on a good show for sure.
“I take it one step at a time. In this fight, of course, I’m the underdog. Everybody is looking at me as a lamb to be slaughtered, but I’m coming to try and win. I’m coming for respect because a lot of people don’t give me the respect I deserve. I’m coming to show people that I’m a top welterweight and I’m going to give it all I have.”
Bundu gave up his coveted European championship in order to fulfil his American dream at the Mecca of boxing in Nevada, but dismissed any concerns that he poses a lesser threat to Thurman due to his advancing years,
“I know I’m going against a very tough fighter, a very good fighter, but the problem is that I actually don’t have any problem with my age,” pointed out Bundu. “I feel just as fit, maybe even better than I was 10 years ago. I’m really getting better and better with each of my fights.
“So, for me, I mean I’ve been reading all the stories that Keith Thurman is going to fight this 40-year-old guy. But to me, it’s not me. That 40-year-old guy is not me.
“I already said before I feel as young as he is. I mean I still do my things and I don’t think like an old person. I mean I have my wife and kids, but I still go to the gym every day. I feel fit and I’m prepared. I know it’s going to be tough, maybe my toughest fight, but I’m ready to go, to give it all.”
Thurman, 26, has been linked to a potential fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr if ‘One Time’ can extend his standout run against Bundu as the interim WBA title holder aims to keep pace with middleweight king Gennady Golovkin in the knockout stakes.