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Lamont Roach Jr.: Facing Neil John Tabanao is unfinished business

Junior lightweight Lamont Roach Jr. Photo credit: Tom Hogan/Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions
14
Aug

When Lamont Roach Jr. lost an opportunity to fight Neil John Tabanao in April due to the coronavirus, he considered the 26-year-old Filipino “lucky.”

“I was going to kick his ass,” Roach stated.

Roach will get another chance to live up to his word on August 28 when he squares off against Tabanao at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California, on a Golden Boy Promotions card.

“It’s just a blessing to be back in the ring on the second Golden Boy card since the COVID-19 pandemic hit,” Roach said.

The Ring spoke with Roach shortly after former WBC 168-pound beltholder David Benavidez was stripped of the title for the second time in his career. This time Benavidez weighed 2.8 pounds over the super middleweight limit for his fight on Friday against Roamer Angulo.

Jose Benavidez Sr., the fighter’s father, said training during the coronavirus pandemic and in the Mohegan Sun Arena “bubble” made it challenging to work out properly.

Roach said Benavidez’s issues began long before stepping onto the scale.

“Our team has a goal to reach and obtain and we work together to achieve that,” he explained. “Those mistakes are made at the beginning of camp. As far as my team is concerned, we’re way ahead of schedule on weight. As for Benavidez, he probably waited until the last minute to lose the extra weight.”

Roach (19-1-1, 7 knockouts), 24, who resides in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, is coming off his first pro loss last November when he was outpointed by WBO junior lightweight titlist Jamel Herring.

Jamel Herring (right) vs. Lamont Roach Jr. Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank

Jamel Herring (right) vs. Lamont Roach Jr. Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank

However his heart goes out to his rival after he lost out on multiple fights after twice testing positive for COVID-19. As a result, Roach is taking extra precautions.

“It’s safety first,” Roach explained. “Jamel had two opportunities get away from him and that’s a lot of hard work down the drain but that’s one of the difficulties we have to deal with.”

Roach also revealed that his sparring partners and even regulars in his gym receive temperature checks upon entering.

“A bad test can screw up everything,” Roach said. “We’re also sanitizing the gym and all of the equipment.”

Roach will take on Tabanao, who has lost three fights in a row but those bouts have come against solid competition including unbeaten and newly-crowned WBO junior featherweight titlist Angelo Leo, Tramaine Williams and undefeated Irving Turrubiartes.

“This is unfinished business,” he continued. “Our last fight got cancelled a week out and I was really looking forward to beating him up.”

The motivation for Roach is to land another fight for a title but not necessarily a rematch against Herring.

“Any title is the goal. I’m motivated by the opportunity to fight for another belt. I’m not just looking to fight Jamel but that would be lovely if I could get the rematch.

“My fight with Jamel was tough, close and very competitive. And he’ll tell you that himself but the rankings are constantly changing. Guys are moving up and down, so we’ll see what happens with that.”

 

 

 

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