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Matthew Chanda: The pressure is off me for biggest fight of my life

PUBLISHED: 07:00 25 September 2016

Matthew Chanda is eyeing the Commonwealth Bantamweight title. (Picture: Natalie Mayhew)

Matthew Chanda is eyeing the Commonwealth Bantamweight title. (Picture: Natalie Mayhew)

Archant

Kilburn’s Matthew Chanda admits his fight against Duke Micah for the Commonwealth bantamweight title will be the biggest of his life – but says the pressure is all on his opponent.

Chanda (7-0-0) fights Ghanaian Micah (18-0-0) at York Hall in Bethnal Green on November 11, just eight months after he beat Jamie Speight at the same venue to win the Southern Area title, the first title of his career.

Chanda has dropped down to bantamweight to take the fight and has the chance to hand Micah his first professional defeat. But far from feeling the pressure ahead of the biggest night of his life, he says he has never felt more relaxed – or more dangerous.

“His record is impressive and that spurs me on, but I don’t feel intimidated by him,” Chanda told the Times. “If I’m fighting a journeyman who has lost more fights than he has won, then there is pressure.

“But facing someone like Micah I don’t feel any pressure at all because everyone will be looking at him. He will be the big favourite. I don’t have any fear. Growing up sparring as a kid I learnt never to be afraid. I train hard and I respect my opponent but I am never afraid of anyone.”

Micah’s impressive ratio of knockouts certainly commands respect, but Chanda believes the fight will be won by stamina rather than hard hitting, and he is going the extra mile to ensure he is in the shape of his life.

Chanda said: “We know he’s a puncher but I’m not worried about that. I’m smaller and quicker. There is more to boxing than just having a strong punch and I feel my boxing ability is better than his. I feel confident in taking the punches and I believe in my ability.

“I’m working with a nutritionist for the next eight weeks. I’m eating more now than I was before my Southern Area title fight – and I’m losing more weight because I know what to eat and what to avoid. I’m working on my strength and my shape and I’ll be in perfect condition on the night.”

Having upset the odds once by defeating Speight to win his first title in his sixth professional fight, Chanda says he is now ready to do so again. “My fight in March was meant to be a big step up for me – people were surprised I took it, but I proved them wrong. I dominated it,” Chanda said.

“Fighting for a Commonwealth title in my eighth fight, people might say I am not ready, will I be able to go the distance? But I have proved I can.

“Fitness will be key in this fight. If I can take him eight rounds will he able to survive the pace? I don’t think he will.”

Chanda’s manager and trainer Steve Kipps told the Times: “Matthew might not get the chance to fight for this title again so we had to take it. We have had eight weeks to prepare and make sure he is strong at the weight.”

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