STEVIE Spark expects the unexpected when he faces River Daz on Wednesday night.
The Queenslander next meets the relatively unknown, but an immeasurably tough opponent, in the form of Daz, who is unbeaten in dual pursuits in both professional boxing and Muay Thai.
Across four professional fights, the 28-year-old Daz owns a credible decision win over Hunter Ioane, and has one eye on the biggest upset in Australian boxing this year.
Spark (12-2, 11 KOs), who has gone the distance just once during his eight-year career, admitted that this upcoming fight would be nothing short of tough, as he expects anything from the combat-sport veteran Daz.
“I am definitely not over-looking this man I know he is coming to win,” Spark told Aus-Boxing.
“They would not have taken this fight a second time if they were not confident, they were going to win it. I’m building this man up to be a world champion.
“He is undefeated in the Muay Thai and in the kickboxing, he just beat Hunter Ioane. No matter what the public or anyone else thinks, I know this is going to be a hard fight.
“So, when it gets down to who is that little better boxer, who wants it more and who has that better timing is when I believe I will come out on top, I will be the better fighter.”
Returning to his natural weight
After competing at both welterweight and super welterweight in recent fights against Jack Brubaker and Tim Tszyu respectively, Spark is confident in his power to stop any opponent in his return to light welterweight.
“I haven’t been at this weight for over a year, so it is just about getting the diet right first and the body composition back down,” he explained.
“I am actually really enjoying being back. I feel fast, strong and I do feel a lot more explosive.
“I feel like I am stronger than everyone else in this division, especially in Australia. Nobody is stronger than me, nobody can punch harder than me, and nobody will be able to move me around the ring at this weight.”
Spark was determined to put on a show for his maiden pay-per-view appearance last April, and clearly has a style that is tailed to the television audience.
Since impressing in his television debut against Brubaker, his only win by decision, Spark will feature on a live broadcast for the third consecutive time. Looking back on his first live outing, the 25-year-old remembers the experience fondly.
“That was my first fight on the TV, that was sort of my breakout fight to the Australian public,” he continued.
“I wanted to make a big impact and for everyone to leave the arena [and those to] finish watching the TV with my name on their lips. I believe I did that against Jack Brubaker.
“I believe I had a lot to prove in stepping up to welterweight and fighting him. So, I just wanted to leave it all out in the ring with my best performance.”
Looking for the biggest possible domestic fights
If Spark is successful against Daz, he’ll be setting his sights on long-time domestic rival Darragh Foley.
He wants a fight between himself and the Irish-born Foley to take place late but has no qualms if the fight does not take place at all this year.
“I’m confident that it will happen yes, we were offered it in November last year and I said yes. I never say no to a fight,” he said.
“I fought Tim Tszyu… do you think I am scared of Foley? Not a chance, I fought Jack do think I am scared of Foley? Not a chance, there is no man I am scared of and it’s definitely not that little Irishman.
“I’m sick of mentioning it and the more people that watch it is better for us but at some-point the talk has to stop and the fight has to happen.
“I win then great and If I lose its not a big deal, I will just go back to the gym and train harder, but I believe I am destined for big things in this sport, I am young and have a huge career ahead of me.”
Irrespective of who he faces next, Spark knows that a return to winning ways will springboard his career into biggest opportunities.
Staying active and getting world rated
An active fighter is a dangerous fighter, and Spark is looking to remain active for the remainder of the calendar year.
The bout against Daz will be Spark’s first WBC Australasian title defence, and another victory will likely result in an ascension towards a more lucrative challenge at regional level.
“I’d like to have at least three or four fights this year and get into the top 10, 15 of at least two of the organisations,” he concluded.
“And to get myself into a good position to hit the world scene the following year after.”
While it was clear that he understands his form could be crucial for his world level ambitions, Spark is still relishing in the opportunity to grow as a person and as a fighter.
“I’m starting to really enjoy the process and take everything in a bit more and relax,” he said.
“I want to continue to be a true professional in the sport, I want to continue to fine-tune everything to be the best athlete that I can be and the best person I can be.
“All while being a role model and improving myself as a human being.”
Words: Tom Pombart/Follow Tom on Twitter