Boxing: Zavec Looking to Shine in New York Spotlight
Slovenia's best boxer Dejan Zavec will be looking to shine in the bright New York lights as he takes on US welterweight prodigy Keith Thurman in his first fight back from elbow surgery in Brooklyn on Saturday.
The 36-year-old Zavec (32 wins, 18 KO, 2 losses) is fired up for his return to the US, where he lost his International Boxing Federation (IBF) welterweight title in 2011.
In his public appearances, Zavec said he was ready to fight the full 12 rounds with his opponent, who is 12 years his junior and has won all 19 of his fights.
"The only thing that counts for me is a win and I will do everything humanly possible to achieve it," Zavec told the press in New York on Tuesday.
The winner of the fight, which will be broadcast in Slovenia by Kanal A, will get a chance to take on the World Boxing Organization's (WBO) title holder in a subsequent fight.
Zavec says he will make up what he lacks in height (his opponent is 9 centimetres taller) and youth with experience. "Experience against youth. This will be a fight of two very different styles but with one goal - victory."
"It won't be only experience, though, but also conditioning, where I'm at my best," said Zavec, who is ready for a fight lasting the full 12 rounds.
Meanwhile, Thurman is counting on his strength and support from a home crowd to lift him to victory.
"I'll try and surprise him with my strength, since he has more experience going the full length," said the Floridian prodigy who has scored 18 of his 19 victories with a knock out.
The fight in front of 19,000 spectators at the Barclays centre will be one of the biggest of Zavec's career and will present him with another opportunity to shine on the US market.
His last trip to the US ended in disappointment, as he had to concede his WBO title to Andre Berto in Mississippi on 3 September 2011, after the fight was stopped in the fifth round due to a cut above Zavec's right eye just as the Slovenian was gaining momentum.
Zavec has since faced Bethuel Uushona of Namibia in Maribor on 24 March 2012, winning that by unanimous decision, before undergoing an operation on his right elbow to clear loose cartilage in late May 2012.
The fight is scheduled to get under way around 2 AM on Sunday Slovenian time.