Mike Perez [22(14)-2(1)-1] made his successful entry to the cruiserweight scene last night in Belfast without taking a punch.
The Cork-Cuban stopped overmatched Slovakian champion Viktor Biscak inside 30 seconds on the Matchroom ‘Belfast Boy’ undercard at the SSE Odyssey Arena.
It was an almost embarrassingly easy win fo Perez against a late selection, with Matchroom boss Eddie Hearn, who looks set to start working with ‘The Rebel,’ noting afterwards that it will be hard to find willing opponents for the 31 year old.
However, just hours later a willing top-level potential opponent put forward their name – former world title challenger Youri Kalenga [23(16)-3(1)].
The Congolese scrapper released an expletive-laden video where he stated “this is a message for Mike Perez. Mike Perez, bullshit fighter.”
“Come and fight ‘El Toro,’ the people’s champion. You fought a boxer straight out of a taxi, a taxi man.”
“Give me a chance to fight you, I’ll give you a big knockout.”
“F*ck you. I’m ready to fight you bro. Bitch.”
The French-based African challenged WBA champion Denis Lebedev in 2015, knocking the Russian down in Moscow but falling to a competitive points defeat. This fight came following wins over Commonwealth champ Denton Daley and European champ Mateusz Masternak where the WBA interim belt was on the line.
Last year he was stopped in the tenth of an epic Fight of the Year contender with Cuban Yunier Dorticos, again for the WBA interim trinket.
29 year old Kalenga, of course, has strong Irish links being managed by Cork’s Gary Hyde, a former manager of Perez and indeed the man to facilitate his escape to Cork. The Kinshasa cruiser fought in the National Stadium back in February 2014, where he stopped Cesar David Crenz.
Importantly for Perez, Kalenga would offer a route into the world rankings, as he is currently #17 with the WBC and #11 with the WBA.
Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)
LISTEN: Gavan Casey and Joe O’Neill speak to Luke Keeler and Paddy Barnes on Episode 6 of The Irish Boxing Show: