The Cuban-born fighter takes on WBC champion Mairis Briedis [22(18)-0] at the Riga Arena on Saturday night in the quarter finals of the World Boxing Super Series.
Following two years out oft the ring, Perez [22(14)-2(1)-1] returned this Summer. Formerly a world-rated heavyweight, the Caribbean boxer had slimmed down considerably, shedding around 40lbs to make it to the 200lbs cruiserweight division.
He returned in June with a facile first-round win over Victor Bicsak in Belfast before receiving an unseeded slot in the WBSS, with millions of euro, three of the four world titles, and the Muhammad Ali Trophy all up for grabs
An unknown quantity at the weight and the away fighter on the night, Perez is no doubt the outsider ahead of the Baltic battle.
The Leeside underdog however is eager to take his chance.
“It’s an opportunity of a lifetime,” Perez remarked. “Fighting in Latvia isn’t an issue for me. I don’t care where I fight. I’ll fight anywhere.”
“I feel good, I’m confident, and I’m looking forward to Riga.”
“I have a chance to become world champion in my very first fight in the tournament, so I couldn’t have asked for better.”
The weight-loss has Perez feeling sharp, and the 31 year old noted that “I have lots of experience as both an amateur and professional, a lot of ability and now at cruiserweight I’m much faster on my feet and can throw faster combinations, so I feel like I’m a much better fighter.”
Perez is insanely confident going into the clash at the weekend and the tournament as a whole. ‘The Rebel’ outlined how “I really believe I can win the Muhammad Ali Trophy.”
“That is how I see it. I think I will win. I cannot see anyone else winning it. I am the best cruiserweight in the competition.”
“Breidis is a good champion but I can’t wait to bring the belt home. I’m so lucky to fight for the Muhammad Ali Trophy and also become the undisputed cruiserweight champion in this tournament. I have no doubt that I will do just that.”
“I have worked hard for these last couple of years and really dedicated myself to get this chance and nobody is going to take it from me.”