IT took Reagan Dessaix just one fight to capture the attention of the boxing public.
The 22-year-old will look to continue his asension and climb to the summit of the light heavyweight division domestically, when he faces long-time ruler Blake Caparello in Melbourne on Friday night.
As his biggest test fast approaches, Dessaix (16-1, 11 KOs) speaks of the challenge at hand with the maturity of a seasoned professional.
“He’s had three losses, but they’ve all been against world class fighters in Chilemba, Dirrell and Kovalev,” Dessaix told Aus-Boxing.
“That’s how I’m looking at this fight, if I’m at that top level, which I believe I am, I’ll be the next to beat him.
“My whole life I’ve always stepped up and been up for a challenge. My last fight against Steve Lovett was the same, people were saying he was too strong.
“But I backed myself and got the win, this fight is no different. To be the best, you’ve got to beat the best, and Blake has definitely ruled the division.
“This Friday night will be the changing of the guard and I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
With the ability to campaign across multiple divisions, the technically gifted Caparello (28-3-1, 12 KOs) has fought as low as super middleweight and more recently, as high as cruiserweight.
Dessaix sees the versatility of Caparello’s weight cutting as a significant advantage, citing the sizeable gap between light heavyweight and cruiserweight.
“I think the last time Blake made light heavyweight was when he fought Trent Broadhurst,” he explained.
“For him, it’ll be a struggle making the weight, especially with his last fight being at cruiserweight. I’m not putting it all down on weight, but it’s definitely a huge advantage in our favour.
“With Blake’s style, I can definitely see a lot of advantages for myself. When you put my style against his style, I think he can be beaten.
“There are a lot of differences between my last two opponents, I’ve got to be switched on from start to finish.”
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This Friday night there’s a New kid on the block & his here to stay😤👊🏽👀 Fight week Feels🙌🏽💯🙏🏼 This Friday night it all goes down! – 🥊 Dessaix VS Caparello – 🏆WBA Oceania Light Heavyweight title – 🗓 Friday 22nd February – 🏟 Melbourne Pavilion #TeamPresidentBoxing #AndStill
For as long as the 32-year-old Caparello has campaigned in the light heavyweight division, the Melbourne-based former world title challenger has struggled to find domestic competition to provide resistance.
Rather than denigrate the accomplishments of his opponent, Dessaix, who is ten years younger than Caparello, made a point to recognise the Melburnian’s status as a leading light.
“He’s a seasoned veteran with 32 professional fights and I respect that,” he continued.
“I want to prove myself as the best and that’s why I’ve got to beat the best out there. Blake has shown within the last year that he’s still got the ability.
“He stopped Trent Broadhurst in one round and had another knockout win a few months later. For me, if I beat him, they can’t say Blake wasn’t at his best.
“Now is the best time to fight Blake because I believe he’s at his best right now.”
Dessaix’s rise in a competitive division coincided with his signing with respected managerial authority, Tony Tolj. Since joining the Perth-based Tolj’s stable, Dessaix has seen his career reach higher heights.
“It’s been a year since I signed with Tony and joined his stable,” he said.
“Each fight I’ve seen the improvement, especially getting those ten rounds fights in. To cap off my year with the big win over Steve Lovett, I knew beating him would put me right in contention.
“It’s really good being in the same stable as great fighters such as the Moloney brothers. I got so much out of Jason’s fight with Emmanuel Rodriguez, how they ruled him out, and how he performed.”
If things go according to plan for the world rated Dessaix, Friday night could be a swansong of sorts for domestic fights, signifying the crowning of an outright number one in the traditionally stacked division.
“As I see it, Blake is number one and I’m number two,” he concluded.
“The winner on Friday night will be Australia’s number one light heavyweight. If I can get this win, I’ll be looking at going overseas for the next challenge, whether that be the UK or the US.”
Photo: Capture Photography