The former unified world super bantamweight champion believes he and former champ Juan Carlos Payano will steal the show on the blockbuster September 26 SHOWTIME PPV.
Perhaps Daniel Roman had forgotten what a loss felt like. A 19-fight win streak during a near seven-year span could do that to a fighter.
Yet this loss felt different.
On January 30, Roman put his WBA and IBF world super bantamweight titles on the line against mandatory challenger Murodjon Akhmadaliev. Their anticipated showdown exceeded expectations.
Roman and Akhmadaliev displayed skill and will in a tremendous battle. After 12 rounds, two of the judges scored it in Akhmadaliev’s favor, making him the new unified champion.
“Honestly, I think I won that fight,” Roman said. “It was a close fight, but I believe I took the fight. The judges saw it differently, so you know, we’ve got to respect the decision that was made, but like I said, I believe I won that fight.”
When the decision was announced, Roman immediately turned to Akhmadaliev, shook his hand and congratulated him, hiding the emotions that have fueled his fire.
“[The loss] only motivated me to come back even stronger,” said Roman. “Now I know I can’t leave it in the hands of the judges.”
That’s his plan as he prepares to face Juan Carlos Payano on Saturday, September 26, in a battle of former world champions. The card is part of a blockbuster boxing doubleheader, featuring five world title bouts on SHOWTIME pay-per-view (7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT), presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
The 36-year-old Payano is a rugged 10-year pro eager for his own form of redemption as he looks to bounce back from a July 2019 loss to undefeated former world champion Luis Nery.
“He’s a great fighter. He’s only got three losses and they were quality fighters, so I’m going to have a fight in front of me and I’ll be ready for that,” said Roman. “I’m getting ready myself, too, and I expect a war on September 26.”
Roman understands what’s in store for him—and what is at stake. The ability to overcome adversity was instilled in him at a young age, as he encountered gang violence, drugs and other entrapments in the Inglewood section of Southern California.
“Growing up in neighborhoods like that, it only makes you tougher,” Roman said. “You see that every day, so mentally, you’ve got to be tough, you’ve got to be strong, or else, you’ll end up getting bullied or punked, so all of that stuff helped me and even in boxing, it gave me discipline and showed me that I can do a lot more with my life.
“ Me and Payano are going to try to steal the show and make it the fight of the night. ” Former Unified World Super Bantamweight Champion - Daniel Roman
“I believe my family played a big part in that. Growing up molded me into the way I am today. Life experiences molded me into the person I am today.”
Outside of the ring, Roman remains even-keel. But that fire spills over in the ring, a style that has endeared him to fans and led to multiple world titles.
“I’m always the type of guy that shows who I am with my actions,” Roman said. “Even as a kid growing up, I never liked talking a lot or causing drama. I just go out there and show them with my boxing or if they keep on talking, I shut them up with the fights.
“If everything goes well September 26, the fight I would love would be the rematch [against Akhmadaliev]. I want that rematch.”
Roman says he isn’t overlooking Payano although he possesess most advantages on paper. Both are 5-foot-five, but Roman’s four-inch reach advantage should allow him to keep the fight at a distance if he chooses. This will also be the third consecutive southpaw he’s faced so it's a stance he’s used to.
However, given the nature of the two combatants, a brawl is likely to break out at some point. When it does, Roman doesn’t plan to leave it in the judge’s hands.
“Me and Payano are going to try to steal the show and make it the fight of the night,” Roman declared. “I know Payano is going to come in with everything because he just came from a loss. I’ve been through that, so he’s going to try to come back even stronger.”
“I don’t plan and I don’t believe the fight will go the distance. We’ll try to break him down and if I can take him out, I can take him out.”
For a closer look at Danny Roman, check out his fighter page.