Former two-division title holder Rances Barthelemy discussed changes to his training camp as he nears a fight against former IBF lightweight champion Robert Easter Jr. taking place Saturday, April 27th live on Showtime from The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas and presented by Premier Boxing Champions. At stake will be the vacant WBA regular title, secondary to Vasyl Lomachenko's WBA super championship. (Lomachenko also has the WBO title). After losing for the first time in his pro career in a 140-pound title fight against Kiryl Relikh last March, Barthelemy rebounded to stop Robert Frankel in December as he prepared to return to the lightweight division to face Easter. Since the loss to Relikh, Barthelemy made fellow Cuban and former world champion Joel Casamayor head trainer as he looks to return to the championship ranks. Here is what Barthelemy had to say from training camp at Prince Ranch Bones Adams Boxing Gym in Las Vegas:
Q: How has training camp gone so far?
A: “Everything has been going well under the guidance of Joel Casamayor and the assistance of my brother Yan Barthelemy and Oscar Vasquez. We have been training twice a day and sparring three to four times a week against solid guys like former world champion and ex-opponent Mickey Bey. Like they say, ‘iron sharpens iron’ and the quality of sparring has been tremendous help in getting me ready for April 27th. I feel better prepared both mentally and physically than I did in my most recent fights.”
Q: What do you make of Robert Easter Jr. and what do you know about him?
A: “I have seen various Robert Easter Jr fights and have been studying him very closely. He’s a great boxer who likes to use his height and reach to his advantage. He’s an ex-world champion who has fought quality opponents. He deserves all of my respect but we are very confident that we will be victorious against him.”
Q: Do you feel you have been able to rebound from your first career defeat?
A: “Most definitely, I have been able to move on and use that defeat as a lesson in my career. They say sometimes we learn more in defeat than we do in victories and that was the case in that fight. Sometimes we do not see clearly when we are winning. Bad habits or little details that need correction are overlooked when you are winning. Sometimes we do not even see them. I feel rejuvenated and we have made many important changes that were necessary for my career. You will see on April 27 that there is still much more left from Team Barthelemy.”
Q: What would it mean to become a champion again on April 27th?
A: “We have no doubt that we’ll become champion again for a third time on April 27. This will bring my name back at the top of the sport with many potential big fights to be made. It will mean so much more to me because Cuban boxing has currently gone through a rough patch and this victory will allow Cuba to have a champion once again.”
Q: Any final message to your fans before your fight?
A: “Please make sure to tune in on April 27th. This fight will be very competitive, with two evenly-skilled former world champions looking to reclaim their status at the top of the sport. Fights like this are what make boxing great. Cuba will have a champion once again on April 27th.”
Showtime's coverage will also feature former WBC 140-pound titlist Viktor Postol taking on France’s Mohamed Mimoune in a WBC eliminator, while rising heavyweight Efe Ajagba looks to remain undefeated against once-beaten Michael Wallisch iof Germany in a ten-round heavyweight attraction. Tickets can be purchased at www.cosmopolitanlasvegas.com or through Ticketmaster.