Queenslander Jarrod Fletcher says he will end the recent run of Australian boxing world-title losses in the US when he fights for the WBA belt.
Australia’s Jarrod Fletcher will be booed, heckled and taunted when he walks into New York’s Barclays Centre arena this weekend for a world-title fight against heavy hitter, cancer survivor and hometown hero Daniel Jacobs.
Most would be intimidated about entering enemy territory.
Fletcher, the former labourer from Hervey Bay, Queensland, couldn’t be happier.
Fletcher says it will be Jacobs, who grew up in the tough, crime-riddled Brooklyn suburb of Brownsville just a short drive from the arena, who will be feeling the pressure because of the huge weight of expectations from family, friends and the US media.
“I have no pressure on me at all,” Fletcher, 30, told AAP on Wednesday.
“I’m the underdog and I’m going to put in a massive performance.”
Fletcher and Jacobs, 27, will fight for the World Boxing Association’s middleweight belt, with the winner in line to take on the WBA’s super champion in the division, Gennady Golovkin.
Golovkin destroyed Tasmania’s Daniel Geale in three rounds last month just across the East River at Manhattan’s Madison Square Garden.
Jacobs is a crowd and US media favourite. not just because he is a New Yorker, but for the way he overcame a cancerous tumour on his spine.
The American was diagnosed with the often deadly bone cancer osteosarcoma in 2011 but, just as he has knocked out 24 of his 27 victims in the ring, Jacobs defeated the disease and was back in the ring the following year.
Fletcher is the third Australian in three weeks to fight for a world-title in the US, with Geale losing to Golovkin and Melbourne light heavyweight knocked out in the second round in New Jersey last weekend by Russia’s Sergey Kovalev.
The Queenslander says he will end the Australian run of losses on Saturday.
“Daniel got out there and boxed really well and then Golovkin just walked through his punches and knocked him out,” Fletcher said.
“He’s got freakish power and Jacobs does too.
“I have to be on my game and be ready for whatever he throws at me.”
Fletcher has a record of 18 wins (10 knockout) and just one loss.
Jacobs has 27 wins (24 KO) for one loss.