LONDON (July 18) – Super-bantamweight kingpin Guillermo Rigondeaux has blasted the other recognized champions in the division for refusing to fight him.
The reigning WBA Super and WBO world champion is set to battle the cultured Sod Kokietgym in Macao this Saturday, live on BoxNation, but has taken the opportunity on the eve of the fight to take a pop at the other leading names in the 122-pound weight class.
The 33-year-old is not happy with current WBC champion Leo Santa Cruz and IBF hotshot Kiko Martinez for turning down the opportunity of a unification clash to determine the undisputed number one in the division.
“I am frustrated that the two other champions in my division – Leo Santa Cruz and Kiko Martinez – will not step up to fight me in title unifications to determine the true world champion. I do not understand that mindset,” said Rigondeaux.
“How do you not want to prove you are the best? I do. Nonito Donaire did when we fought in our title unification battle in New York last year. The fans deserve better from Santa Cruz and Martinez. The media should be holding them accountable.
“A real champion fights and accepts the challenges from the best in his division. Back in the day, world champions accepted the top challenges.
“I get criticised by the media for my style of fighting. Maybe the media should be criticising the champions who deny the fights boxing fans crave?,” bemoaned Rigondeaux.
Martinez is set to face Irish sensation Carl Frampton next up, another fight live and exclusive on BoxNation, with Santa Cruz pencilled in to fight on the undercard of Floyd Mayweather’s rematch with Marcos Maidana.
Rigondeaux, however, has to come through a tough test of his own before he can look to unify the belts when he takes on Kokietgym, a two-time world title challenger who is on a nine-year, 37-fight unbeaten streak.
The Cuban, regarded as one of the world’s best pound-for-pound fighters, has refused to overlook the dangerous Thai and has been hard at work in the gym preparing for this weekend.
“I had a 10-week training camp with George Rubio where we focused on honing my combinations and power punching. I am taking nothing for granted with Kokietgym. He has an impressive record and he is a smart fighter,” said Rigondeaux.
“Hard training and discipline are my greatest assets as a fighter. I am dedicated to being the best boxer in the world and perfecting my technique. I am always the last man out of the gym in training camp. I never weigh more than 129 pounds between fights,” he said.
The two-time Olympic gold medalist, with an unmatched amateur background, has promised to push the action more in this fight after claims that his style wasn’t the most fan-friendly.
“I plan to be more aggressive to be more impressive,” said Rigondeaux. “But let me make this clear, I have been a world champion and an Olympic gold medalist for one reason – I do not make mistakes in the ring. I fight my fight, not my opponents’ fights. In baseball, great hitters do not swing at bad pitches,” he said.
With his defence amongst the very best, Rigondeaux believes he can dominate for many years to come.
“I feel great and I think I can keep fighting at this elite level for many more years because I have never taken any punishment in the ring,”
Rigondeaux said. Rigondeaux vs. Kokietgym is live on BoxNation (Sky 437/490HD & Virgin 546) this Saturday at 2pm. Visit www.boxnation.com to subscribe.