The hour is drawing near. Fighters of the upcoming All In event, promoted by Dominus Boxing Group, met each other in the final press conference before their showdown on 17th December.
EBU lightweight king Edis Tatli (28–1–0) stared deep in the eyes of his opponent Manuel Lancia (14–1–1), WBC super featherweight champ Eva Wahlström (18–0–1) faced off with Anahi Esther Sanchez (14–0–0) and Robert “The Nordic Nightmare” Helenius (23–1–0) came face to face with Gonzalo Omar Basile (68–11–0).
Also Niklas Räsänen (13–0–0) talked about his EBU-EU super middleweight fight against the champion Mariano Hilario (15–5–0). Hilario’s flight had been canceled due to bad weather and he couldn’t make it to the press conference.
The fighters acted respectfully towards each other, but everybody could sense it in the air: this was the calm before the storm.
“Edis is a good, technical boxer, but we have prepared for him for months. He has no clear weaknesses, but this sport is also about psychology,” said Lancia’s trainer Giuseppe Fiori implying that Lancia might play mind games with the champion.
“We have watched his fights and found something that we’re concentrating on,” said Lancia. “It’s going to be a war. And if it goes the distance, it’ll be 12 rounds of war.”
“Lancia is a fine boxer. He’s the kind of a fighter who keeps on coming. But my preparations have been excellent: there have been no injuries and I’m in good health,” said Tatli. “I’ll probably start off cautiously, but sooner or later my fist will find it’s target and that will be that.”
“Edis has improved his game a lot during these past few months. Now he’s able to use his right hand more efficiently,” said Tatli’s manager Pekka Mäki.
Mäki also commented the psychological mindgames Lancia’s trainer hinted at: “Edis mustn’t get too much carried away. If you go for a knockout too eagerly, you may get yourself in trouble. I think that after four or five rounds Lancia will be spent and Edis will break him down.”
Tatli has risen high in world rankings. He’s now #6 on the IBF list and #5 on WBC rankings. Mäki hinted that should this fight go Tatli’s way, his team might be eyeing for a world title fight next.
“We’re getting closer to our main goal,” Mäki said.
When it was Robert Helenius’s and Gonzalo Basile’s time to talk, both fighters were visibly in a good mood. Thoroughly tattooed Basile joked that his nickname “El Paton” translates to “Bigfoot” in English, and he has gotten the moniker for his 48-size feet.
“I came here to win”, Basile said. “He’s a strong guy, but I’m not afraid of his power. I’ve faced almost 80 opponents and seen all kinds of fighters. I’ve fought strong guys in Argentina too.”
“It’s going to be a great fight, two giants beating each other senseless,” said Helenius grinning. He also commented on his KO loss against Johann Duhaupas last April: “I’ve learned to focus better. In boxing you have to focus one hundred per cent. If you don’t, you’ll end up like I did.”
WBC champion Eva Wahlström confessed to be a bit disapponted that the IBF world title isn’t on the line on Saturday. Anahi Sanchez, who won the IBF title fight against Tamara Núñez last July, has been stripped of the title because the promoter of the Núñez fight hadn’t received all the necessary licenses from IBF. But it is how it is.
“She’s a good boxer, a true professional,” Wahlström praised Sanchez. “But I believe many of her opponents have respected her too much and given her the center of the ring. Well, now we’re in Finland, and I’m the one in charge here.”
“I don’t focus on that,” said Sanchez when she was asked what she knows about her opponent. “That’s my trainer’s job. I just focus on training as hard as I can. There’s a good reason why I have a clean record. I’m prepared to take the title home with me.”
Niklas Räsänen declared that he was ready to seize the EU title. When he was asked for a comment on his opponent’s remarks of how the fight might not last very long, Räsänen said: “Well, we all have dreams. But the thing about real life is that it doesn’t always go like we’d like it to. Something may come between you and your dreams. As for Hilario, I will be that something. Saturday will be my day.”