BLAKE Caparello has fought world level opposition twice before, but fell short both times.
The Greenvale-based southpaw has long been regarded as Australia’s best defensive fighter. But with that accolade follows the scrutiny of being labelled safety-first and not fan-friendly; which is something he plans on changing.
Having returned to the winners circle with a dominant fifth round stoppage of Rogerio Damasco this weekend, the former world title challenger speaks candidly about his areas for improvement to sharpen his overall game.
In an honest interview, the 29-year-old discusses his missed opportunities in recent high-profile fights abroad.
“The opportunity was the second chance that I had,” said Caparello in an interview with Aus-Boxing. “I got the opportunity because my good ranking in the WBO – I’ll just keep working away – I’ll keep learning what I can.”
“With Dirrell, I dropped him early. It just shows with experience that fighters find a way to get back on top. That fight was a good learning experience for me, I found that I sort of went in-and-out of the game plan,”
“I really need to just build on that now, and to make sure I don’t go off the game plan,” he continued.
“I really believe I still belong up there. Look I’ve had two losses to Kovalev and Dirrell,” he said. “I know I can give these guys a lot of trouble. I believe I can beat them both and it just comes down to experience,”
“I have just got to keep learning. I only had nine amateur fights whilst they have boxed their whole lives,”
To make up for the gap in experience, Caparello (now 23-2-1, 7 KOs) has spent time training away from home, most recently heading to Canada to train alongside reigning WBC light heavyweight champion, Adonis Stevenson.
While time away from home is never enjoyable, Caparello sees it as an essential part of his development.
“I’m trying to make up that experience in camps,” he noted. “I have no doubt I belong there, I’ve been brought into Adonis Stevenson’s camp twice. Training with him and his trainer Sugar Hill, you can’t buy that experience.”
“Sugar told me that Adonis asked for me personally, that meant he must have been happy with my work last time.”
“So I’ve just been watching and learning what he does. Seeing how he maintains his game plan during a fight and doesn’t go off it. I’ll just keep working my way around and if another opportunity presents itself I’ll be ready.”
Got the win via TKO last night. Was good to be back fighting in front of my home crowd. Can't wait to get back in the ring again!! Thanks to @rivalboxinggear for the custom outfit and gloves. Also to @adamsboxing for the custom boots. Appreciate it???????????????? #ilcapo #boxing #Melbourne #rivalboxing #AdamsBoxing #customgear #TKO #victory #caparello #blueblack
A photo posted by Blake Caparello (@blakecaparello) on
Having spent weeks at length preparing with some of the best fighters in the North American region, Caparello sees the bridge in class. With that in mind, he was quick to highlight the difference between Australia and Canada.
“They get the best sparring they can get,” says Caparello of sparring in Canada. “They don’t care about weight differences – they just want the best sparring they can get for their game plan – and the style of fight they want,”
“That is what makes them better, hungrier than Australian fighters. In Australia this just doesn’t happen,”
“Which is a shame – no one wants to mix it with each other – because we might fight in the future. Who cares?”
Despite starting positively against both Dirrell and the aforementioned Kovalev – both of whom Caparello floored – he was unable to stick to his well thought-out game plans, which cost him two marquee wins away from home.
To his credit, Caparello knows his weaknesses and has worked tirelessly to improve them.
“I need to work on my composure,” he noted. “It doesn’t matter if there are ten rounds to go.”
“I watched Hopkins when he fought Pascal the first time. He got dropped once or twice; he just built himself back up and stuck to his game plan. It’s just composure. I know technically I can go with these guys,”
“Especially with the slipping and the defence. I feel I’m just lacking that composure that these guys possess.”
“I actually thought because Kovalev got rid of me in two rounds, someone would have jumped on us for a fight after that,” he admitted. “But no, it didn’t happen. I then have a few good wins up, and then had the Dirrell fight,”
“I didn’t put my best performance up and I thought maybe this might work favourably for us again. People would’ve seen that I sat on the ropes – and got hit a few times – but then once again, no one is calling.”
Since turning professional back in 2009, Caparello has always taken pride in being the best fighter in his division domestically. But with no one calling his name, Caparello now only sees one fighter on his level domestically.
“Boxing is a big business and I have two losses to two world-class fighters,” he concluded.
“I believe I am the best super middleweight in the country. I know Sakio Bika is rated now at light heavy, but if he came down to super middleweight, he’d have the number one spot and he would be the man I need to beat,”
“He is the number one in the country, even pound-for-pound. From his record and who he has fought,”
“He is the man to beat. Other than him, no one is in my class.”