BLAKE Caparello has spent the majority of his career sitting atop the light heavyweight division domestically.
His domestic reign has been so long and dominant that the idea of a challenge on these shores appeared to be a novelty.
After disposing of long-feuding rival Trent Broadhurst in a singular round last year, it seemed likely that Caparello had faced his last ever Australian-based challenger.
However, Reagan Dessaix swiftly entered the conversation after emerging as a potential star in his last outing, and suddenly we have mouth-watering collision on our hands.
Despite the anticipation surrounding his all-Australian showdown on Friday night, Caparello (28-3-1, 12 KOs) remains staunch in his approach ahead of his latest high-risk assignment.
“I don’t read too much into what my opponent is doing,” Caparello told Aus-Boxing.
“Obviously he knows he’s up against it, I’ve been top the top of the game. It doesn’t matter if they bag me or respect me, they’re going to get the best Blake Caparello come fight night.”
“Trent Broadhurst tried to talk the fight up and I think that backfired for me. The main thing is that I’ve trained hard for this fight, and it leads to a possible world title eliminator for me.”
“I can’t lose this fight. With the way I’m training, I’m taking it to another level.
“With Damien Hooper no longer in the mix, you’d have to say that this is probably number one against number two. I suppose he’s next in line.”
Over the course of his nine-year professional career, the 32-year-old has never shied away from a domestic challenge. After all, it took just seven fights to establish his leading status.
And while he’s risking his status on Friday night, Caparello believes these are the types of fights the Australian public deserve to see.
“Reagan had that win over Steve Lovett that everyone was talking about,” he explained.
“He got rid of Lovett quickly and did the job, which is why they’re talking him up now, which is good. It’s what the public want, with Aussies not fighting each other, we’re putting it on the line.
“He did what he had to do in his last fight, but I think Lovett was a bit past it. He’d been stopped a few times in America, but in saying that, you’ve still got to do the job.
“It’s good for Australian boxing with two top Aussies fighting each other, we’ve both stepped up.”
Given the one-track mind fighters often have when chasing an elusive goal, it’s somewhat understandable that Caparello didn’t see the emergence of Dessaix (16-1, 11 KOs).
But now that the opportunity has been granted, the Melbourne-based southpaw doesn’t want to hear any excuses.
“They mentioned my name after I beat Broadhurst and at the stage, I hadn’t heard of him,” he said.
“All of a sudden, now that the fight has been made, people are creating excuses for him. I don’t want to hear those excuses because he’s the one that wanted to fight me.
“He’s got a good world rating with the WBA, so he’s done something to get that. Which works for me because I’m going to take it.”
Now seen by many as one of Australia’s best chances of capturing a legitimate world title, Caparello reflects on the road less traveled with a new-found wisdom.
“I’m still learning and I’ve only had nine amateur fights,” he concluded.
“I’ve made some changes and even though I’m seasoned, I wouldn’t say that I’m a veteran yet. I’ve got a lot of experience in terms of my training, but I’m always learning.
“I know that I’m not far away from another world title shot. I’m rating across the bodies and I know the champions are going to be looking for a fight.
“My weight cut hasn’t been hard at all, I’ve just put my head down and I’m feeling very strong for this fight, so they better not be banking on that.”
Photo: Marty Camilleri/Marty’s Knockout Photography