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Boxing & MMA

Liam Wilson gaining inside intel on Emanuel Navarrete ahead of world title showdown

Just 25 minutes from the headquarters of the CIA, Australian boxer Liam Wilson is conducting his own fact-finding operation.

As he prepares to go 12 championship rounds with Emanuel Navarrete, Wilson is drawing on the help of those already familiar with the crafty Mexican.

The Queenslander will face Navarrete for the vacant WBO super-featherweight title in Glendale, Arizona on February 3 (Feb. 4 in Australia).

In what will be his first professional bout outside Australia, Wilson knows he’s facing his toughest challenge yet.

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That’s why he’s missing Christmas with his two young children to undertake a seven-week training camp in Washington DC ahead of the fight.

“It’s the first time I’ve been away from the kids for this amount of time,” Wilson told Sporting News.

“To be away for such a long period it’s hard.

“I know one day they’ll know what it was for and I know myself that I have to be here to win this fight.

“We’re training out of Headbangers Boxing Gym.

“There’s a fighter out of the gym that’s fought Navarrete twice, so we’ve come here to work out of the gym, work underneath the trainer and get some advice from the coach and the fighter himself on what sort of fight I could be expecting.”

Former WBO super-bantamweight champ Isaac Dogboe fought 24 rounds over two fights with Navarrette and was cornered by veteran trainer Barry Hunter on both occasions.

Wilson (11-1) hopes to borrow from their experience in his maiden world title bout.

“I’m only going off Youtube footage, so to get the advice off Isaac and the trainer over here, they’ve been in the corner against him, they’ve seen him in person, up close, so I have to take their advice onboard,” Wilson added.

Navarrete (36-1) is on a 31-fight winning streak and has been WBO world champion at both super-bantamweight and featherweight.

The fight with Wilson will be the 27-year-old’s debut at 130-pounds (59kg).

Despite having considerably less professional experience, Wilson believes he’ll have the edge at super-featherweight.

“He’s been in these fights so many times before. This is my first 12-rounder,” the 26-year-old said. 

“In a sense, he has every reason to overlook me – I’ve only been in 10 rounders, he’s been 12 rounds multiple times, he’s a two-division world champion and for him it’s just another fight, for me it’s what I’ve dreamed of.

“He’s very awkward, big engine and he’s been here many times. 

“He’s been through a lot of hard fights and he’s moving up in weight again.

“I think I’ll be the bigger, stronger fighter, I believe I’ll be the biggest puncher he’s fought.”

Wilson’s date with Navarrete comes at a busy time for Australian boxing, with Tim Tszyu meeting Jermell Charlo in Las Vegas for the undisputed super-welterweight title less than a week earlier.


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