Featherweight contender Jayson Velez missed out on a world title rematch with Evgeny Gradovich over the weekend as the Russian lost his IBF title to Welsh challenger Lee Selby in London, England.
Velez had previously fought out an exciting split decision draw with Gradovich in November and was hopeful of landing a return contest if the now ex-champion could have fought his way past the Briton on UK soil.
As it turns out, Velez is now in the dark as to where his next world title challenge lies but has no grudges to bear as the Puerto Rican prepares for his ring return against Daniel Ramirez at the Belasco Theather in Los Angeles on Thursday night.
“I would have liked to have faced Gradovich first and wanted the rematch but I understand the politics of the sport and I was okay that it didn’t happen. I will keep fighting to be become a world champion,” Velez told World Boxing News.
“In the Gradovich fight I learned that I have to train harder as at this level every fight is going to be difficult. I have to be better every day and have a better defense. I thought I trained hard, but now I feel like I could have been a little better and that is what I am doing now.”
On his upcoming opponent, who has eleven wins and two losses, Velez added: “He is a good fighter, he throws many punches. He is a fighter that is prepared to fight that comes to war.
“I expect a lot of action on fight night. I am the same type of fighter, ready for anything so it will be an exciting fight. I am expecting a brawl, Daniel is the kind of fighter that keeps coming forward.”
A win for undefeated Velez could push him closer to a possible fight with Gradovich conqueror Selby as ‘La Maravilla’ aims to record a 23rd win and head a step closer to a second chance of claiming his maiden world title.
The 27 year-old has shown much promise in recording 16 stoppage wins in his eight-year ring career and has a further opportunity to display the skills that brought Velez so close to becoming a world champion in his last fight.
“Now that the rematch with Gradovich is gone, I’d like to fight Robinson Castellanos, Vasyl Lomancheko, Abner Mares, Leo Santa Cruz or Lee Selby. I am ready for anyone, but I am only focused on my next fight,” Velez concluded.