Tarver ready for Cunningham clash, aims to earn Klitschko shot
Five-time world champion Antonio Tarver expects a tough fight with Steve Cunningham on August 14 as the American looks to extend his six-year undefeated run.
‘The Magic Man’ secured a clash with former cruiserweight title holder Cunningham after enduring a frustrating few months having previously dispatched Johnathon Banks in fine style last December via a seventh round knockout.
Tarver had been hoping his form would warrant a big-name opponent as the 46 year-old pushes towards a heavyweight title shot. Due to his relationship with Al Haymon, Tarver’s wish was granted as a debut fight on Premier Boxing Champions was made official.
“I’m really proud to part of Premier Boxing Champions. It’s a new era, new age, and for an old-school cat like me riding with young guns speaks volumes about me,” Tarver explained to World Boxing News.
“PBC has rejuvenated my career. To headline this card shows where I’m at and to have an international star like Marco Huck fighting on the undercard also speaks volumes about my name and my brand.”
Asked what fans can expect later this month, Tarver replied: “A barn-burner. Look at Steve’s desire to be recognized if he pulls it off. He’s licking his chops for this opportunity but so am I.
“I haven’t thought one second about losing as I’ve done everything in training over the past eight weeks to win this fight. Fans are going to see an explosive, elusive and destructive Antonio Tarver.”
Opponent Cunningham 28-7, has one more defeat on his record than 37-fight Tarver as both can claim to have been around the block. At least four of Cunningham’s losses can be questioned due to the manner of split decisions judged against him, which is something Tarver wanted to acknowledge.
“He’s had some bad losses, meaning a lot of people thought he really won those fights. He’s definitely a top ten heavyweight who was only a few inches from being Wladimir Klitschko’s mandatory.
“If there’s a measuring stick for me, Steve Cunningham is a perfect guy for me to put on a display of my ability. August 14th people will see that I’m a serious contender, letting people know I’m still capable on any given day to beat any heavyweight in the world.”
The southpaw’s ultimate goal has always been to mix it with formidable unified champion Wladimir Klitschko as stated to WBN on many occasions in the past – and little has changed in Tarver’s mind in all those years since.
“I’ve been to the top of the mountain five times. The boxing world knows who I am and there’s only one other heavyweight who has accomplished as much as I have in boxing, and that’s Wladimir Klitschko,” he said.
“After this fight it’ll only be a matter of time before I get a shot at him. In my opinion, he is the recognized champion. He’s the guy I want to fight.
“Klitschko has history on his side and he’s been world champion a long, long time. I have to beat him to be the best as he has everything I want.”