IBF world flyweight world champion Sunny Edwards is openly anticipating his unification encounter with WBO world champion Jesse ‘Bam’ Rodriguez, which takes place on the 16th of December.
Edwards (20-0, 4KO's) will travel to Glendale, Arizona, in the United States in an attempt to unify the flyweight division against Rodriguez (18-0, 11KO's) following four successful title defences after dethroning long-reigning champion Moruti Mthalane in August 2020. The likeable and vocal Croydon, London native, finally feels involved in a fight in which he can motivate himself to excel. Sunny cites that in his previous fights as champion, he has previously felt demotivated alongside not putting in the effort in training due to the level of opposition he has faced.
“I love what I do. Bam is probably one of the best fighters in the world at the lower weights, so why wouldn’t I want to fight him?” Edwards told Talksport. “I get bored with the easy fights. I don’t even get up for training. I don’t get up for camps, and my diet will be terrible. As soon as I knew I had Bam, 15 or 16 weeks out, I was switched on. It’s easy.
“I’d rather train like this. I know I’m gonna win, but regardless of what happens, I want big fights. I don’t need any confidence boosting or momentum building or coming back. Just big fights and keep it moving. I’ve had a couple, but like Bam said, I think this is the biggest fight for both of us. It’s probably the biggest fight in the division right now.”
The lower-weight classes in the sport have often been overlooked despite having several excellent fighters who have reigned supreme in various guises. Roman Gonzalez, Juan Francisco Estrada, Naoya Inoue and Carlos Cuadras have varying points in the previous decade. They found themselves on the pound-for-pound list after campaigning at the lower weight classes between light-flyweight and super-flyweight.
Edwards-Rodriguez is one of the most competitive fights on paper, which will be held in 2023. The contest’s winner will be crowned as the leading flyweight in the division, strengthening their claim to be involved in the conversation to be included in the pound-for-pound ratings.
Edwards believes that his encounter with Rodriguez will ignite the flyweight division and the lower-weight classes as a whole while acknowledging that the promotional build-up for his unification with Rodriguez, in his opinion, is ‘abnormal.’
“I do think it's gonna set off a fire that’s gonna ignite around the lower weights,” Edwards said. “After me and Bam - and whatever happens on that night happens - but it’s gonna be a big event with a lot of promotional eyes on it. Then, everybody that we fight afterwards will benefit. Everyone that jumps into the storyline will benefit from what we’re doing.
“This isn’t normal for flyweights. Headlining a big show, big build-up. Flying to America for press and then coming back here, this is abnormal for flyweights. Trust me.”