WBC number one contender Sergiy Derevyanchenko 13-2 (10) has promised to make it an inside fight when he faces WBC middleweight champion Jermall Charlo 30-0 (22) at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut on Saturday night.
“I’ll definitely be his toughest test at middleweight,” said Derevyanchenko.
“Jermall has never faced anyone like me. I’ll apply more pressure than he’s used to. He’s also never faced anyone with my footwork. I’ll fight more on the inside than his previous opponents.”
The 34-year-old enjoyed a successful amateur career, representing his native Ukraine at the 2008 Olympics and compiling an impressive record of 390-20 in the unpaid ranks.
“My amateur experience has helped me a lot,” said Derevyanchenko.
“I came to the pros with much more experience in the ring than most other fighters and it’s been a big part of what I’ve accomplished. I believe that all of that experience will help me get the win on Saturday and take Charlo’s belt.”
In October last year Derevyanchenko overcame a first-round knockdown against Gennadiy Golovkin before coming on late only to lose a close unanimous decision for the vacant IBF middleweight championship at Madison Square Garden in New York.
In his previous world title tilt against Daniel Jacobs at the same venue for the same belt a year earlier he lost by split decision.
Derevyanchenko, who trains under Andre Rozier in New Jersey, said they have been working with sparring partners who can imitate Charlo’s style.
“Golovkin is a very different fighter than Charlo, but Jacobs is similar stylistically, so that’s something I’ll be used to,” he said.
“This training camp has been very similar to camps for my previous fights though. We just brought in different sparring partners for this one. We’re using fighters who can show us what Charlo will bring to the ring.
“We’re making necessary adjustments based off all our experience and developing a game plan specifically for Charlo. The sparring partners have been giving me great work and I’m absolutely ready for September 26.”
Just like the Golovkin fight, Derevyanchenko was on the deck in the opening round against Jacobs and says he will be very focused in the early stages of the fight against Charlo.
“I’ll be very focused in the early rounds against Charlo, we’re not dwelling on the past,” Derevyanchenko said.
“We always have an eye looking forward. I’ll try to get the win faster against Charlo, so we’ll be applying more pressure early.
“Those first round knockdowns were just brief moments in those fights. I quickly moved on, put them behind me and fought my way back into it.
“I told myself that I may have lost the first round, but I just had to be better in the remaining rounds.”
“I’m not solely focused on the fight going one certain way, we just have our game plan and we’ll see what happens in the ring.
“If I can knock him out, I’ll be ready to go for it. But if it goes 12 rounds, I have all of the skills to win a decision.”