THERE comes a time in every prize fighter’s career when there is a defining moment, a turning point. A coming of age fight. A time when you put up or shut up.
A fight that will propel you to the elite level of competition or leave you as an also ran. Well that time has now arrived for Aussie middleweight, Jarrod ‘Left Jab’ Fletcher (18-2, 10 KOs).
The former 2006 Commonwealth Games gold medallist knows it too.
In this exclusive one-on-one with Aus-Boxing, the former world title challenger knows his upcoming fight with fellow Aussie and former unified middleweight world champion, Daniel Geale (30-3, 16 KOs) is the most important and decisive of his career.
Despite them both being good friends, the friendly and engaging Fletcher knows and acknowledges that the niceties must be put aside ahead of their impending blockbuster in Sydney on December 3rd.
“Mate, I’m not even thinking about losing this fight. This is a massive fight, without doubt the biggest of my career. I have to win this fight, it’s a must win. I am not even thinking about losing. I’ve got seven weeks until fight time and I will be more than ready” Fletcher says.
“Daniel is a great guy and he’s a friend of mine, we’ve sparred a lot of rounds over the years. He’s a great fighter and I have a lot of respect for him. He’s going to be hungry to get back into the winner’s circle after the Golovkin fight.”
“But this is a business, and whoever wins will no doubt be put back into the mix for another world title shot. This is a must win fight for me. I am coming out the winner come December“ he said.
Fletcher challenged for the WBA regular middleweight world title against the unbeaten Danny Jacobs back in August in New York.
Fletcher acknowledged that he was outgunned that night, and although feeling comfortable with the big stage, said he has started working feverishly on improving the defensive and mental aspects of his game as a result of his stoppage loss to the American.
“I just got caught. That’s boxing. I’ve been working with Steve (trainer Steve Deller) to tighten things up. Maybe I got a bit too relaxed at times and learnt that I just have to switch on for the whole round. Having said that, I feel like I belong at that level, and I feel comfortable. I am continuing to work my arse off to get better,” Fletcher continued.
One man that ‘Fletch’ looks to is his Brisbane based trainer, Steve Deller. Fletcher holds Deller in very high regard and says that he has done wonders for his career.
“Steve and I have known each other for twenty years. Steve is a top bloke and has guided my career when I stepped out of the amateurs (Fletcher had a whopping 180 fights, winning 152).”
“I was actually going to go fight under Danny Green’s banner, but at the time Greeny went on Dancing with the Stars and things sort of went a bit quiet. I spoke to Greg Eadie, Steve’s son, and he told me to have a chat to Steve.”
“I then packed my bags and moved in with Steve in Brisbane. Everything worked out for the best in the end. I have a great relationship with Steve, he’s a man of his word and a top bloke. I am just fortunate to have such a great team around me” he said.
Jarrod Fletcher is a highly motivated and focused individual. The opinion amongst boxing fans in Australia on forums of late, seems to be that of a Geale victory.
On experience and the level of competition Geale has fought, you would be hard pressed to argue with boxing followers as to how they came to that conclusion.
But there is also a very important thing that often escapes those opinions and history tells us exactly this.
Beware the hungry fighter.
Words: Dan Smart
Photo: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images AsiaPac