Errol Spence Jr. is undefeated in 20 professional fights and has become one of boxing’s top young stars, but the disappointment from the Olympics still lingers four years later.
It was at the 2012 London Games when Spence was last defeated in the ring, and the loss not only eliminated the Desoto, Texas, resident from the 152-pound competition but also ensured that the U.S. boxing team would not medal for the first time in Olympic history.
Spence even got a second chance to salvage Olympic glory when the International Boxing Association overturned his loss to India’s Krishan Vikas on appeal, but it only served as a brief reprieve for the American southpaw, who was outpointed 16-11 by eventual bronze medalist Andrey Zamkovoy of Russia four days later in the quarterfinals.
“I didn’t get the gold medal that I wanted,” Spence said, “but as an Olympian, competing in international fights against different styles on all of those different stages around the world helps you a lot. That's great experience to have under my belt as I’m preparing for a big fight like my next one against [Leonard] Bundu.”
Now a rising force in the deep 147-pound division, Errol Spence Jr. (20-0, 17 KOs) will look to take another step closer to his first title shot when he faces Italian veteran Leonard Bundu (33-1-2, 12 KOs) on August 21 at Ford Amphitheater at Coney Island Boardwalk in Brooklyn, New York (NBC, 5 p.m. ET/2 p.m. PT).
The winner of the 12-round title eliminator, which follows coverage of the Olympic men’s basketball gold medal game on NBC, will become the mandatory challenger for the 147-pound title currently held by England’s Kell Brook.
Spence, 26, will be seeking his eighth straight knockout against Bundu, a two-time European champion and 2000 Olympian whose only loss came against unbeaten world champion Keith Thurman in December 2014.
Bundu, 41, has never been stopped in his career despite getting knocked down in the opening minute against Thurman, who shut out the Italian over 12 rounds to earn a unanimous decision.
“Keith Thurman was more running around the ring and throwing pot shots, but I can walk him down and go for the knockout,” said Spence, who scored three knockdowns in April to gain a fifth-round TKO of former world champion Chris Algieri.
“I’m a rising star, and in order for my stock to rise, I need to look spectacular and maybe get the stoppage. I’m looking for a spectacular performance, hopefully like the one against Algieri."
Algieri, who hadn't been stopped in 23 previous bouts, was just the latest fighter to experience the power of Spence, who is earning a reputation as the guy most likely to be dodged by potential 147-pound opponents.
“If I’m catching my rhythm and doing what I’m supposed to do, the knockout will come,” Spence said. “That [avoidance] can’t go on too much longer. The ultimate goal is to become the undisputed welterweight champion. It’s only a matter of time. At the end of the day, they’re going to have to fight me."
For a complete look at Spence vs Bundu, visit our fight page.