Q&A: MAURICE BYARM SET FOR USA VS. RUSSIA BOUT
Press Release: Washington DC (via Philadelphia) heavyweight Maurice "Freight Train" Byarm (13-1-1, 9 KOs) says he's never had a better training camp than the one he just finished in preparation for his ten-round showdown with Russian southpaw Magomed "Mago" Abdusalamov (14-0, 14 KOs). The two big men will meet in the co-main event this Friday, July 6th, at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, and televised live on ESPN2's Friday Night Fights. In the main event, featherweight Javier "El Abejon" Fortuna (19-0, 14 KOs) will take on the toughest opponent of his career when he faces ex-IBF featherweight titlist Cristobal Cruz (39-13, 23 KOs). Even though he's coming off his first career loss, via decision to Bryant Jennings in January, the 29-year-old Byarm says the jump from one TV fight to another is exactly what he needs and Abdusalamov has the exact style to help him make the most of it.
Q: How did training camp go, Maurice?
A: I feel great. Training camp went fantastic. Hands down, it was my best so far. I did a few things different for this camp. I had to change things up a little bit because I had to prepare for a southpaw puncher. I had to rotate a little differently and move differently, but overall, I feel blessed coming off a TV fight into another one. That lets me know I did a good enough job that people like to see me and are impressed with my performance.
Q: What do you think of Abdusalamov as a fighter?
A: He's a fighter and I respect that. I can't take anything away from him. But I will say it's going to be a war in there. He's a puncher and so am I. He has the exact right style for me because he always comes forward and I have the exact right style for him because I do the same. But I don't think he can fight going backward. I can.
Q: In retrospect, what went wrong in your last fight?
A: I didn't use my jab like I should have. I could have done a lot of things behind my jab. I could have taken breaks with it, or stepped up the pace behind it, but instead I just followed him around trying to land a big shot and Bryant was in good enough shape to be elusive the whole 10 rounds.
Q: So what's going to be different this time?
A: I'm going to win. This fight I had a lot more time to prepare. Everything was good. All my ducks are lined up perfectly. I'm going in at 100%. I had the greatest sparring I've ever had. I've even impressed myself this training camp.
Q: Are you worried about his punching power?
A: I'm not really worried about his power. I've got a reputation as a puncher also, so it comes down to who punches harder. He's never fought anybody that hits as hard as I do. If they did, they weren't around long enough to test him like I will be. He has to know it's not going to be easy fight. He's not going to just come in and walk me down like I'm 2-17.
Q: His team is very confident he's a future champion. Can you comment on that?
A: One thing about him that might be bad or good, his camp has a lot of faith in him, but sometimes when your camp shows more faith than reality that's when things get screwed up. He's good. I can't take that from him, but it's like I told another interviewer. Numbers can be easily manipulated. You can make a six look like a nine, all you have to do is flip it upside down.
Tickets are available at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino box office daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and through Ticketmaster, either by calling 702-474-4000 or 800-745-3000, or by going online at ticketmaster.com.