Next fight … December 2017
My next fight has been announced on Frank Warren’s show at the Copper Box Arena on 9th December 17.
Having been out of the ring since January recovering from a shoulder op, my adviser Al Haymon put this opportunity to me and I instantly agreed to it.
It’s been a frustrating and challenging time with surgery and recovery and I’m just happy to be boxing again this year to defend my title for a fourth time.
I turned pro with Frank after winning the gold medal in Beijing in 2008 but we parted company in 2012 when I took another route which led me to become World Champion - something I knew I was always destined to achieve. If the show is successful, and we’re both happy, then there’s no reason I can’t work with Frank again – it’s a business decision.
It feels good to be a free agent. I can box on any show, with any promoter, on any TV channel I want and my team look at each offer on a fight-by-fight basis. Exciting times for Frank right now – he’s making a bit of a comeback! He’s signed Carl Frampton who is a fantastic fighter and he’s putting together a great December card headlined by myself and Lee Selby. He has a good stable and with BT Sport and Box Nation behind him, the future looks bright.
I’ve been in training camp for four or five weeks now and I’m raring to go. I have no pain in my shoulder but it’s still a little stiff after the operation and the punches don’t flow as well as they do from the left hand, but that will take time and it’s getting sharper every day. I was nervous when I started punching again and even now, with certain shots from certain angles, I’m still wary, but I’ve got another seven weeks until the fight so I’ll be more than ready by December.
Looking to the future, I’ve got the best man behind me in Al Haymon. I have complete confidence in him and I’m planning to have three huge fights next year. The main one I want is against the winner of the World Boxing Super Series and it looks like that will be an Englishman in either George Groves, Chris Eubank Jr or Callum Smith. I said at the start of the tournament that I thought Smith would win because of his size and I’m going to stick with him, but I’m not as confident as I was. Both Groves and Eubank Jr looked good in their last fights so it’s up for grabs as far as I’m concerned.
The first fight I want next year is against David Benavidez, the WBC champion. He had a good win against Ronald Gavril and he’s young and undefeated – it would be an exciting fight. I've told Al Haymon that’s the one I want so 2018 promises to be a big year.