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Undefeated Paul Fleming faces former world champion in Sydney, targeting WBO 130lb boss Masayuki Ito in 2019

Anthony Cocks

Australian-based boxing journalist Anthony Cocks has been covering the sport for over 15 years for various print and online publications. He refuses to believe that Roberto Duran ever lost to Tommy Hearns and says that Jeff Fenech would destroy Chuck Norris, Bruce Lee and Muhammad Ali on the same night.

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Australian boxing’s best kept secret Paul ‘Showtime’ Fleming 25-0 (17) is looking forward to returning to the ring this month before making a world title run next year with reigning WBO super featherweight champion Masayuki Ito 24-1-1 (12) of Japan in his sights.

The 30-year-old Sydney southpaw is keen to get some momentum going after a year on the sidelines.

“The last time I fought I took care of Filipino strongman Vergil Puton in seven rounds,” says Fleming. “I had him cut-up, busted-up and closed up his right eye. By the time I was finished with him it looked like his face had been put through a meat-grinder.

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“It took WBO 130-pound champion Ito two more rounds to get rid of Puton than it did me – and that was after I’d already carved him up.

“If this Japanese kid is everything he’s cracked up to be, we might have an entertaining fight on our hands. If he’s anything less, I’ll put him away the same way I did Puton. It’s as simple as that.”

Fleming is set to headline MJA Platinum’s inaugural card when he takes on former two-time WBO bantamweight champion Panya Uthok 52-5 (35) of Thailand over eight rounds at the Emporium in Bankstown, Sydney on December 21.

“This is a great opportunity for me to knock off some rust and set myself for a title run in the new year,” says Fleming. “Uthok won’t last the distance and neither will Ito if I can get my hands on him.

“If the Ito fight does happen I won’t be sitting on the outside waiting for him to throw, I’ll be using my speed and giving him those southpaw angles and making him work every minute of the fight.”

The 30-year-old Sydneysider, originally from the cane-cutting town of Tully in Far North Queensland, represented Australia at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing in the featherweight division.

Fleming is promoted by leading American promotional firm Top Rank and is managed by Dubai-based international management firm MTK Global.

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