Wilky Campfort’s message to Jermall Charlo: You better be ready to fight, champ

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Looks like Jermall Charlo won’t have to hire a private investigator to find Wilky Campfort when he defends his 154-pound title on Saturday afternoon in Dallas.

Wilky Campfort and Ronald Montes

Wilky Campfort (right) rose from a first-round knockdown to score a second-round TKO of Ronald Montes (left) in his most recent fight in September.

That’s because Campfort insists he’ll not only be within sight of Charlo from the opening bell of the scheduled 12-rounder, but he’ll be within arm’s length. Check that: He’ll be face to face. Maybe even forehead to forehead.

“If he tries to run, we’re going to press him,” says Campfort, who stands an inch shorter than the 6-foot Charlo. “If he tries to fight, then we’ll be right there in his face to fight him.”

Clearly, Wilky Campfort (21-1, 12 KOs) is thinking more cannonball battle than spitball contest as he shoots for his third straight knockout victory in his first-ever title tilt.

Some—including perhaps Jermall Charlo himself—might view Campfort’s aggressive game plan as risky at best and dangerous at worst. After all, Charlo is 22-0, and more importantly, 17 of his opponents failed to make it to the final bell.

Still, Campfort is plenty confident that he can fight fire with fire when the two square off in the main event of a Premier Boxing Champions card at The Bomb Factory in Dallas (NBC, 3 p.m. ET/noon PT).

“This kid’s a very strong, talented, powerful fighter with good skills,” Campfort says of Charlo. “But I also have skills and talent. Charlo has power, I have power. He might be coming to knock me out, but I’m not going to lay down for anybody.”

Both fighters are returning to action for the first time since winning in spectacular fashion just six days apart in September.

The 25-year-old Charlo dethroned Cornelius Bundrage on September 12 in Mashantucket, Connecticut, scoring knockdowns in each of the first and second rounds, then flattening Bundrage twice more in the third to earn a TKO victory and his first world title.

The 31-year-old Campfort, meanwhile, rose from a first-round knockdown against Ronald Montes on September 18 in Winter Park, Florida, before dropping Montes three times in the second and final round for a knockout.

If Charlo tries to run, we’re going to press him. If he tries to fight, then we’ll be right there in his face to fight him. Wilky Campfort

When asked to predict Charlo’s approach to Saturday’s fight, Campfort says he believes the champ will be looking to replicate the plan he used to destroy Bundrage. For his part, the native of Haiti who fights out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, says he has little choice but to go on the attack, especially with the bout taking place in Charlo’s home state of Texas.

“I expect him to come out like he did in his last fight, trying to box and punch, but he’s not a runner as much as a guy who tries to get you outta there,” says Campfort, who goes by the nicknames “Silky” and “The Hungry Haitian.” “He’ll come out aggressively, and I think we’ll both be going after the knockout.

“I may box a little bit, but it’s not going to be that pitty-pat type of stuff. For me to get a win in his home [state], I’m going to have to press him and try to get him outta there.”

It’s doesn’t figure to be easy, considering Charlo has 15 stoppages in his past 16 fights, with only a 10-round unanimous decision over Michael Finney in March ending a run of 14 consecutive knockouts. By comparison, Campfort has won 20 in a row, 12 by knockout, since suffering his lone defeat by four-round majority decision to Manny Woods in September 2009.

Neither man has been knocked out as a pro, and yet the contest is not expected to reach the 11th round, let alone the 12th. But if that happens, it will represent the farthest either boxer has been pushed in a fight.

The 10-round win over Finney marks the only time Charlo has gone beyond the seventh round, while Campfort has been taken as far as eight rounds three times (all since the start of 2014). Those facts illuminate Campfort’s desire to bring the fight to the champ.

“My thing is to push the fight, bring it to him and put so much pressure on him that he’ll have no choice but to fight me,” says Campfort. “We’ll see how long he can keep up the pace and intensity, but I don’t think this is going the distance.

“I still feel as if I’m an undefeated fighter, so either he gets knocked out or I get knocked out. I’m going to do the best I can to make sure he’s the one who gets knocked out and I’m the one whose hand is raised in victory.”

For complete coverage of Charlo vs Campfort, check out our fight page.

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