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Johan Perez: “I’m looking for fights with Morales, Soto, Maidana and Khan”

(Photo © Rafael Moron)
(Photo © Rafael Moron)

By Anson Wainwright


The original plan called for Venezuelan puncher Johan Perez to make his American debut on the undercard of Robert Guerrero’s much anticipated return to action against Selcuk Aydin on the last Saturday of July. However, things worked out differently with “El Terrible” moving back a week to 21 July when he’ll headline with a defense of the WBA interim light welterweight strap (that he won late last year) on Televisa/Fox in Cancun against Pablo Cesar Cano (whose only loss in a 24-1-1 (19) record was to living legend Erik Morales). The revamped plan is for Perez to use this opportunity as a vehicle to showcase his talents before heading to America in the fall, possibly to fight one of the elite 140-pounders on the planet. The unbeaten 29-year-old from Caracas, Venezuela has a fan-friendly style and a record of 15-0-1 (12) with 1 no-contest. He turned pro back in 2007 but only recently aligned himself with Golden Boy Promotions. Perez was spotted by Golden Boy matchmaker Robert Diaz who says, “I first saw him fight in Manchester, England on a David Haye [vs. Audley Harrison] undercard. I was curious to see him since he was so far from home. His style is more of an aggressive fighter; as indicated by his record, he goes for the KO and that is always crowd-pleasing.” All of this makes him a welcome new edition to the already brimming light welterweight division.


Anson Wainwright - You make the first defence of your title on 21 July. Can you tell us about the fight?
 
Johan Perez - Yes, the fight will be on July 21st in Cancun, Mexico. I am prepared for the one [Cano] that want to fight against. I am prepared to fight against better 140-pounders.

AW - What are your goals for this year? If all goes well in your next fight, who are you targeting? What do you think of the other champions at 140?
 
YP - My goals are: first, be the world champion at 140 pounds [for the] WBA and if everything goes fine, looking for fights with the biggest names in the division like Erik Morales, Humberto Soto, [Marcos] Maidana, Amir Khan. I think that these are the best fighters but I’m better with good training I want to beat all of them.

AW - Could you tell us a little about your career up to this point?
 
YP - My career at this point in this last year has been upward but my goal is to be the best at 140.
 
AW - Probably your best win to date was when you beat American prospect Kenny Galarza, stopping him in four. Is that your best win and can you tell us about that fight?
 
YP - It was in four rounds and I think that It was a good victory because I study and I could knock him out but it was the most important when I won against Fernando Castaneda who had his jaw fractured also in four rounds [in a win] that made me the world champion.

AW - Who are the key members of your team?
 
YP - The main members are my dad, Lino Perez; he is my head coach. Celso Chavez is my other coach. My doctor is Luis Miguel Gomez; my manager is Mr. Rafael Moron and, of course, my promoter is Golden Boy.
 
AW - This is your first fight under the Golden Boy promotional banner. How did signing with them come about and what are your thoughts on getting the opportunity to fight for such a big promoter?
 
YP – Yes, thank God that I signed with this big company because Mr. Robert Diaz, the Golden Boy matchmaker, watched my fights and liked my way of fighting, so he spoke with my manager, Rafael Moron, and all happened from there. Also, I have to give the thanks to the people of the WBA that always gave me their support.
 
AW – Where do you train in Venezuela and who do you train with?
 
YP - In Venezuela, I train at my father’s gym, Naciones Unidas in Caracas. In Panama Curundu with Celso Chavez, I train with other boxers like the [WBA bantamweight] champion Anselmo Moreno, [Ismael] Barroso, [Yonfrez] Parejo, Nicholas Walters, Charlie Navarro, etc.
 
AW - Did you have much of an amateur career? What titles did you win? Also what was your final record?
 
YP - 117 fights, 100 won and 17 losses in the amateurs. I was a world junior champion and bronze medalist in the Dominican Republic. I wish I could have gone to the Olympics and won a gold medal.
 
AW - Tell us about your younger days and what you liked to do as a youth?
 
YP - I was unquiet and I liked some sports, especially basketball and boxing.
 
AW - How did you first become interested in boxing?
 
YP - I started to box for my older brother who has since passed away; his name was Lino Perez Jr.
 
AW - Edwin Valero was a countryman of yours. Did you know each other?
 
YP – Yes, I had some sparring with him; he was a good boxer.

AW – Finally, do you have a message for the light welterweight division?
 
YP - Listen good to my name because soon, we’ll meet down the road.
 
Questions and or comments can be sent to Anson at elraincoat@live.co.uk and you can follow him at www.twitter.com/AnsonWainwright.


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