Interim WBA Super Middleweight Champion David O. Morrell Jr. shared insights into his training camp and previewed his upcoming showdown against Mike Gavronski that headlines FOX PBC Fight Night and on FOX Deportes this Saturday, December 26 from Shrine Auditorium and Expo Hall in Los Angeles.
“Training for this fight has gone really well,” said Morrell. “I’ve been training in Minneapolis with my head trainer Sankara Frazier and my second trainer Adonis Frazier. For my last fight, I had no sparring because of all the restrictions with the pandemic. This time around has been different and I have gotten sparring. I’ve had Maidel Sando helping me with sparring and things have been going great in camp.”
The 22-year-old Morrell won his interim title in just his third professional fighter after arriving stateside from Cuba and turning pro in 2019. Morrell won the belt by defeating then unbeaten Lennox Allen via unanimous decision in PBC’s first fight on FOX after the pandemic this August. Despite that experience fighting during the pandemic, Morrell is not relying on it heading into Saturday, while taking lessons from his time in the ring instead.
“I don’t feel like my experience in ‘the bubble’ is an advantage, because I believe that I can adapt to any situation,” said Morrell. “I just want everything to go right once I step into the ring. That’s what I’m focused on.
“Against Allen I learned to control the timing and rhythm of the fight. I also learned to be calmer and more patient in the ring. Now I feel like I can go 12 rounds with anybody and still feel fresh. I think I know when to slow it down, as well as when to pick up the action and turn the heat up. I’m more confident knowing that I can go a full fight.”
Morrell’s rapid rise since turning pro will now see him take center stage as the primetime main event on FOX. Despite the speedy ascent, Morrell doesn’t feel any added pressure from the headlining position.
“I show out whenever it’s a big stage, so there’s no pressure,” said Morrell. “I’m just excited and can’t wait for the fans to see me back in action. I’m like anybody else that wants to be a champion and number one, I’m at my best in front of a big audience.
“Like any other athlete with big ambitions, I just want to prove that I’m the best. I want people to be happy to see me win and I have a strong desire to be the best in the world.”
In Gavronski, Morrell will face another opponent who laps him in pro experience, as the 34-year-old Gavronski has faced a slew of veteran contenders, including former title challenger Jesse Hart. Despite Gavronski having 10 times the number of pro fights as his opponent, Morrell still believes he is the one with more to prove.
“From what I’ve seen of him, Gavronski has fought some good fighters with good qualities,” said Morrell. “I think he’ll come in confident knowing that I’m only 22-years-old and have only three professional fights. But I’ll prove to him, and everyone else doubting me, that I’m here for a reason. He’s going to come to win, but so will I. Whoever’s best will emerge victorious.”
The super middleweight division is stacked with stars such as Canelo Alvarez, Caleb Plant and David Benavidez, giving Morrell no shortage of potential big fights in his future. For Morrell, he plans to continue to improve and be prepared when the opportunity comes to face the division’s best.
“The super middleweight division is one of the best in boxing,” said Morrell. “The titleholders right now deserve their recognition. They’ve become champions for a reason. But I’m going to be ready for them when I’m given the opportunity. It’s my job to be ready when that time comes.”
With a chance to close out the year in style on Saturday, Morrell is relishing in that opportunity and the promise of what 2021 could bring both inside and outside of the ring.
“My first goal is to close out 2020 by making weight on Friday,” said Morrell. “My second goal is to get the win on Saturday in spectacular fashion. In 2021, I’ll be thankful to God to continue waking up every day. I want more fights in 2021 though, so one or two months into the new year, I want to get back in the ring. And then all of the projects that my team and my promoter have lined up, I want us to achieve our dreams. Hopefully I’ll be able to bring the rest of my family that’s back in Cuba to the U.S. and have them here with me for it.”