'I'm in a great place': Sunny Edwards interview
Photo: James Chance/Getty Images
Super flyweight Sunny Edwards reveals his next opponent, talks about the possibility of fighting his brother and much more in a revealing interview with Ezio Prapotnich...
They share the same last name and love each other but as far as boxing goes super flyweight contender Sunny Edwards (10-0, 3 KOs) and his brother Charlie, the WBC flyweight champion, are two very different people standing on their own.
Sunny’s biggest strength is his ability to focus 100 per cent on his job and not let anything personal whether good or bad, affect him, including his brother’s success and the advantages he might get out of it. Make no mistakes about it: if those two were to meet in a ring at any point it would be business as usual.
Coming off the two best wins of his career so far and with solid promotional and TV platforms behind him, the stage is set for Sunny to enter a whole new level of the game. The next 18 months are going to be busy for the likeable Croydon man and it all starts on the Warren Promotions card on 27 April at Wembley...
BM: How did you get into boxing and end up becoming a pro?
SE: I was nine years old when my journey began. Charlie started before me and I used to go to pick him up at the gym with my dad, eventually deciding to try myself. I had my first amateur fight when I was eleven, won six national titles and boxed for England and Team GB. I already knew I wanted to box for a living by the time I turned sixteen and made the transition to the professional ranks four years later after I lost the second final in the Senior ABAs, Olympics also being off the table as Kal Yafai qualified. My style has always been more suited to the pros and I love competing and entertaining. Money was a factor in the equation but fighting is mainly something I enjoy. I had a good managerial and promotional backing from the start with MTK and Frank Warren and boxing has been my only occupation ever since.
BM: Describe your own style and what you think your major assets as a fighter are.
SE: I am an elusive, unorthodox and tricky counter boxer. My greatest assets are footwork and ring IQ.
BM: What were your first thoughts when hitting the canvas for the first time in your life in your last fight against Granados and how did you react to the situation?
SE: I never thought of myself as untouchable and always considered a knockdown a possibility in every fight. I wasn’t hurt. It was new to me but it woke me up more than anything. I just got up and stuck to the game plan. I was winning the fight before and kept winning it after, as the 10-9 score of the round proves.
BM: What are your short and long-term objectives in the sport?
SE: I only have short term objectives to be honest. I want the Lonsdale belt next and to challenge for a world title within the next 12 months, which I am confident Frank can make happen. I am ranked number 8 by the WBO and the belt is vacant. Granados actually holds a win over number one Aston Palicte, so fighting him for the title is a realistic possibility.
BM: What about the recent talks of moving down to flyweight then?
SE: I am naturally a flyweight and ideally I would be campaigning in that division but we do not live in an ideal world. I only fight at super flyweight because of the opportunities. I am comfortable at either weight, I will keep choosing whichever way presents better options.
BM: Any news about your next opponent?
SE: I am fighting Pedro Matos (7-1, 1 KO) from Portugal. Not a great record but he also holds a win against the fighter who beat him. It’s not as tough as my last two opponents but he is coming to win. The bout has only just been announced but we have both known about it for the last six weeks so he has had time to prepare. I expect a tough fight.
BM: Were you able to come up with a game plan then?
SE: We had a look at him and I don’t think his style requires particular adjustments. As long as I come in condition and have all my existing tools sharpened, it will be enough to beat him.
BM: Do you still struggle to find opponents at domestic level?
SE: I would prefer to build a domestic pedigree before stepping up in levels but it seems that everybody at the weight wants to go for the international route without fighting each other, so I have to do the same but. But I believe Farrag, whom I beat before Granados, is as good as anybody else in the current UK scene. It is a bit frustrating but I don’t feel like I am missing opportunities. I think I can go back to the British title at any point in my career.
BM: How much do you value the WBO European title you hold, aside from the ranking it brings?
SE: It is definitely something I will look back at positively. It was nice to win my first belt but I admit I didn’t win it against the strongest opposition. It is more like everything around it had value, as it generated interest and gave me a chance to headline a show in my first defence. Overall, I believe it’s the fights that make the champions, not the titles.
BM: Has your brother's sudden rise to fame affected in any way, good or bad, your own career?
SE: I love my brother and I am proud of him. We have always been aligned so if they speak about him my name has to come up as well and that’s good for exposure. Nevertheless, I am paving my own career and building my own route. It is nice that he is at the top but I am not looking to make a career fighting on his cards. I want to be recognized for my own merits and I feel I am doing it.
BM: You have referred to yourselves as 'mini Klitschkos'. Does that imply that you would never fight each other?
SE: I don’t see that happening to be honest as we are on different trajectories but for the right money I would put my feelings aside and I am sure he thinks the same.
BM: Can you give us the details of your contract extension with Queensberry Promotions?
SE: I just signed for six fights over the next 18 months, three of which are happening before the end of the year, if not four. Frank Warren believed in me from the start and we are gaining momentum as BT wants me on their platform. I’m in a great place. As long as I am looked after the way it’s been so far, Frank has my loyalty and I look to build an even better relationship.
BM: Your mother’s health issues have been widely documented recently. Has boxing helped you somehow to cope with the situation? At the same time, do you feel your personal circumstances gave you more determination in the ring?
SE: Obviously boxing has brought a lot of positives as of late and gave us a few reasons to celebrate as a family, along with the birth of my son. It’s also true that when things don’t go well in my personal life, I look forward to go in the gym a bit more but I don’t see a connection between my job and my private life, honestly. When I train and fight, I am totally focused and cannot think of anything else. It’s the only way. We had some hard times and we had some good times but no matter what happens we keep moving on.
Ezio Prapotnich is on Twitter @EPrapotnich, Instagram e.prapotnich, Facebook Ezio Prapotnich and Linkedin Ezio Prapotnich