ISRAEL Gonzalez doesn’t just want to turn in an impressive display of boxing right in his U.S. debut.
He also wants to become a champion in his first attempt at a world title.
And that’s foremost on his mind on Saturday (Sunday, Manila time) when he guns for the International Boxing Federation (IBF) junior bantamweight title against reigning champion Jerwin Ancajas at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas.
Gonzalez came face-to-face with his Filipino foe on Thursday during the official presser for the fight card topbilled by the super-middleweight championship bout between Gilberto Ramirez and Habib Ahmed.
He wasted no time revealing his intention to wrest the title belt from Ancajas.
“We didn’t come to play. We came to take that title from Ancjas. And I promised Mexico to take that title,” said the Mexican challenger, speaking through an interpreter, who sports a 21-1 record with 8 KOs.
The soft-spoken champion is hardly bothered by the tough words of Gonzalez, a Los Cabos Baja, California Sur native, although he’s not underestimating him, either.
“He’s a great fighter. He is very good,” said the 26-year-old pride of Panabo, Davao del Norte. “I am excited to get in the ring with him.”
Like Gonzalez, Ancajas is also fighting before a big American audience for the very first time and he too, hopes to make an impression.
“I’m very excited to be fighting in the U.S. because this gives me a big opportunity to be able to showcase my talent,” said the champion, holder of a 28-1-1 record with 19 KOs.
Ancajas is coming off a sixth-round stoppage of Jamie Conlan last November in Belfast, Ireland to retain his title.
Third man on the ring is veteran referee Rafael Ramos, who worked the WBO welterweight title match between legendary Manny Pacquiao and Joshua Clottey in Arlington, Texas eight years ago.