Exclusive: Ashley Theophane only interested in facing Brit rivals with world title at stake

Joe Hewlett 03/04/2017

Idris Erba

After a brave and competitive effort against Adrian Broner last year, Ashley Theophane has one goal this year – to become world champion.

The US-based Brit has targeted the winner of the unification clash between Ricky Burns and Julius Indongo.

Burns and Indongo take on each other at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow on 15 April with the WBA and IBO titles on the line. And after a second defeat to Jorge Linares, Anthony Crolla has admitted interest in moving up a division to light-welterweight to fight Burns if he prevails against Indongo.

It would make sense with both being part of the Matchroom stable. Despite wanting the winner next, ‘Treasure’ Theophane knows he must be patient and bide his time but he admits he is open to fighting Crolla if he was victorious.

“I think Burns will win in two weeks’ time and if Crolla moves up then it makes sense for both to fight each other as they are both with Eddie Hearn and it could be made easily. It would be a close fight and if Crolla was to win then I would happily challenge him for the titles. I understand why Hearn would want to keep it in house which is fine, I can wait another fight for sure. I ain’t going nowhere,” Theophane exclusively told World Boxing News..

The slick orthodox has praised Crolla’s effort after he came up short for a second time and believes he will bounce back.

“I didn’t watch the fight but I heard Linares fought really well. I’m a big fan of Joe Gallagher and his team and I’m sure Joe got him in the best shape possible for the fight. He took on an elite fighter and when you fight the best then there’s no shame in losing. That’s boxing for you, there’s a winner and a loser and I’m sure he’ll come back again.

“If you look at Burns, he had three defeats and has become world champion again. Sometimes the boxing fans can judge boxers badly when we take losses but it’s all about learning and when you lose to the best there’s no shame in that,” he added.

The Londoner has been called out by a handful of Brits recently but has reiterated his desire to stay in Vegas. One of those who called him out was WBC Silver champion Ohara Davies but Theophane was quick to cool off interest.

“Around four years ago, I remember giving him two tickets for the fight between Mayweather and Guerrero. I’m glad I spotted him when he was an amateur because he’s a good fighter and I’m pleased for him that he’s doing well.

“I saw his knockout of Derry Matthews but have never watched a full fight of his, I know he trains hard though. He’s one of five boxers from the UK that have mentioned my name, including Frankie Gavin, Jack Catterall, Tyrone Nurse and Robbie Davies Jr. I understand why these guys want to fight me, I remember being the same when I was younger, I’d call out those in front of me but I lose no sleep over it.

“I’m not going to fight any of them unless they are world champions and if I can fight in Vegas then why would I want to go back to the UK?”

Joe Hewlett is lead writer for World Boxing News. Follow Joe on Twitter @Hewlett95