WITH the dust still settling on his US debut, Australia’s own ‘Wild’ Will Tomlinson was candid in his review of his performance against Jerry Belmontes, which took place on the stacked pay-per-view card which was headlined by Mexican superstar Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Without a doubt a leading light domestically, Tomlinson, 27, took his talents abroad and was signed by Golden Boy Promotions without lacing a glove, a testament to both his talent and status in the super-featherweight division.
“There was absolutely nothing wrong with the way I prepared. Everything was on track and everything was prepared to a tee.” explained a candid Tomlinson, in an exclusive interview with Aus-Boxing. “On the night I couldn’t put it together. I think what happened was I went out there and over-thought things too much and because of that, I went out and put too much pressure on myself.”
“It was a very frustrating fight,” he continued. “It was very similar to the fight that I previously had with Irving Berry, he was very evasive, he made me miss and obviously he made me pay as well.”
The fight didn’t start well for the Melbourne-based Tomlinson, who was previously unbeaten in twenty-two contests as a professional, having picked up state, national, regional and world honours while being based in Australia. Tomlinson, who has a tendency to cut, was not done any favours in the fight, with a heavy nose bleed starting in the opening round – as well as a nasty cut – gained from a head-clash in the seventh round of the fight, which was scheduled for ten rounds.
“I got cut from a headclash, I ended up getting a concussion from it. It happened in the seventh round,” Tomlinson continued. “In the first, I got a real bad blood nose, after the first jab my nose started gushing. It wasn’t because of the punch, it was because of the nose spray that I’ve been using called Drixine. It weakens the blood vessels in your nose, the day before the fight I had a blood nose from the spray. But I need it because my nose blocks up from allergies, so without it – I can’t get a good nights sleep.”
Tomlinson was refreshingly honest in his breakdown of the fight, admitting the pressure he was under to finish Belmontes – a trickster who has never been knocked out – was a lot to cope with during the fight. Belmontes’ effective tactics of countering and fighting primarily off the back-foot, unsettled Tomlinson, who was eager to get a conclusive knockout in his first fight abroad.
“With the pattern of the fight, that’s just how it went. I was pressing the fight, I was too eager and overthrowing my shots, and trying to take him out with one shot.” he admits. “I was trying to win by spectacular knockout and it led me away from my gameplan that my trainer Manny and I had in place but it didnt work out the way we wanted.”
“I’ve learnt alot from the fight and I just take that forward with me.”
To his credit, Tomlinson was able to break down his performance, and admits there was areas to improve. Which is refreshing in a day and age where excuses are offered just as quickly as punches are thrown. In many senses, Tomlinson is a throw-back fighter to a generation gone and is willing to take his loss with the exchange of learning and with his continued development as a fighter.
“All I had in my head was one gear, and that was to fight – and at the end of the day, that’s what cost me the fight,” he continued. “To be a world class, competitive fighter, you need to adapt and be diverse and that thought process of going into the fight to be spectacular is what cost me. I wasn’t able to change and adapt to beat this guy, I know for 100 percent, I know that I could’ve beat him and had I been more aware – I would’ve changed it up and boxed him a bit more.”
“I should’ve used my jab to find my range and to set up my power shots, I was really just chucking it out there,” Tomlinson said. “Anyway, it’s done and dusted and im just concentrated on the future. I’m still just as hungry to succeed in the states, it hasn’t gone to plan but I’ve definitely improved. I’m a better fighter now than I was before and I’m still improving. I almost feel like I need to be the underdog to perform at my best.”
Tomlinson will return to Melbourne next week, not before meeting with Golden Boy officials at their Los Angeles base, to discuss his options and any planning for a future fight.
“I’m going to meet with Golden Boy before I come back home, and work out the plan going forward. It’s not going to be easy, I know they’re gonna try and feed me to the wolves and get some young up-and-comer to try and take my record. But I embrace that, and I dont want an easy fight,” said Tomlinson. “The fight against Belmontes was too much of an easy fight on paper, I still worked hard but if I’m put in with the expectation of bowling someone over, I perform at my worst.”
“I’m gonna come back home, till the end of March and come back to the states around April/May and hopefully I’ll fight in June.”