Q: How gratifying is it to be fighting at home in nearly 4 years?
A: It feels great. I feel like this is my pro debut all over again. This is brand new chapter in my career and it’s a fresh reset. There is a little more pressure, but I have my family here and helping and they’re letting me focus on training. I’ve been able to focus on training and being my best on Friday night. I am so thankful that I have a support system.
Q: Why has it been nearly 4 years since your last fight in the Philly area?
A: Mostly, I was with a promoter that was booking me out West and overseas. It is easy with my weight and size to fight overseas. The East Coast caters to the bigger guys. The smaller guys get put on the back burner. It just made sense for me to fight outside of the East coast. I’ve fought in Japan, St. Martin and California.
Q: What do you know about Carlos Maldonado?
A: I just know his name and what he looks like [laughter]. I don’t know anything else about him. I leave the studying of him up to my coach, Chino Rivas. He comes up with a plan and I will do my best to fulfill the plan.
Q: Did you do anything different this camp to prepare for Maldonado?
A: Well, I’m back with Chino Rivas and training around top level guys in boxing. I get to train with the likes of Tevin Farmer, Christopher Diaz, Jason Sosa and Mikey Perez. I have no choice but to step up and perform my best.
Q: Your last fight was against Brian Viloria in California. What did you learn from that experience?
A: I took the fight on 2 ½ weeks notice. It taught me that no matter how good the opportunity, you have to be 100% ready. It would have been a better outcome if I had a full camp. I always wanted to fight him. I got overzealous and I bit on the chance. Opportunities for my weight don’t often come around so I had to take it. I have no regrets. It was a good experience.
Q: You’re now a free agent. What’s your goal this year?
A: I want to take it back to the basics. I want to train and get good fights. I don’t want to be a superstar. I just want to build back up and get the right fights that make sense for my career. June 29 is a good start.