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Ivan Baranchyk promises a knockout against Jose Zepeda if the opportunity comes

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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Former IBF junior welterweight champion Ivan ‘The Beast’ Baranchyk 20-1 (13) says he won’t let former two-time world title challenger Jose ‘Chon’ Zepeda 32-2 (25) off the hook if he gets the chance to knock him out during their 10-round contest at ‘The Bubble’ at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday night.

The 27-year-old Belarussian has just one blemish on his record, a competitive 12-round majority decision loss to current IBF and WBA 140-pound champion Josh ‘The Tartan Tornado’ Taylor 17-0 (13) in May last year.

In that fight Baranchyk was down twice in the sixth round but finished the fight on his feet to lose by scores of 111-115 twice and 109-117 to the classy Scottish southpaw.

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Baranchyk will be facing another lefty in 31-year-old Californian Zepeda.

“I watched his last fight. By the fifth or sixth round, his conditioning goes down,” Baranchyk told Bad Left Hook.

“He’s a southpaw, that’s no problem. I’ve been sparring with righties and southpaws.

“Comparing him to Josh Taylor, I think he’s a good opponent. He’s a good technical fighter. But you’ll see a TKO or KO if I get the chance.”

Baranchyk was set to meet Zepeda in July before a rib injury forced the bout to be postponed. The winner of the fight will be in the box seat to demand another world title shot, either against Taylor or WBC and WBO champion Jose Carlos Ramirez 26-0 (17).

“It is a tough fight,” Baranchyk admitted to The Ring through co-promoter Max Alperovich of Fight Promotions.

“He’s not an easy opponent, but I am ready to fight with anybody.

“It’s not 50-50, I am very confident. I will break him (laughs) towards the middle of the fight with pressure.

“After this fight, I hope to face Ramirez for the world title.”

Baranchyk has been training in Miami with coach Pedro Diaz.

“He’s the best coach I have trained with and I like his style,” said Baranchyk, who won the vacant IBF junior welterweight title against Anthony Yigit in October 2018 before dropping the belt against Taylor in his first title defence.

“We spend a lot of time on technique and strategy, something I think I needed to improve on, and the Cuban school of boxing helps a lot.”

Alperovich agrees that training with Diaz has helped his boxer hone his skills and says the loss to Taylor has only served to make his a better all-round fighter.

“He has settled down to a point where he knows exactly how to strategize the fight,” he said.

“I think he’s finally learned how to be patient instead of coming in trying to take somebody’s head off. Unfortunately, it took a loss to realise that.

“Zepeda is dangerous, but we’ve prepared very well. I think we’re going to see a new Ivan this time.

“Ivan is going to make a big statement and it’s going to be the beginning of a new journey for him.

“I think the time has come where he’s gonna go forward and win every fight and not stop until he gets the world title.”

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