Friday, June 02, 2023  |



Christian Mbilli ‘looking not only for a knockout but a big win’ against Carlos Gongora

Christian Mbili - Photo by Vincent Ethier (Eye of the Tiger)
Fighters Network

On Thursday, all-action super middleweight Christian Mbilli will face once-beaten Carlos Gongora at the Montreal Casino, Montreal, Canada.

Mbilli, rated No. 5 by The Ring  at super middleweight, is under no illusions as to the task in front of him.

“I think it the most difficult test of my career,” Mbilli (23-0, 20 knockouts) told The Ring. “I think it will be a good fight, a big statement for my career – I’m ready to go now.”

Mbilli, who was born in Cameroon but moved to France as a child, was a standout amateur. He won gold medals at the European Youth and European Union Championships and later represented his adopted homeland at the 2016 Olympics, losing at the quarter-final stage to eventual gold medalist Arlen Lopez.

“Solide” decided to move to Canada to pursue a professional career in early 2017.

Since then, 27-year-old has impressed scoring notable wins over Ronald Ellis (UD 10), Nadjib Mohammedi (KO 5) and DeAndre Ware (KO 2).

Mbilli knows Gongora is more than capable of giving him a very difficult evenings work

“[Gongora’s] a very good boxer, he is very dangerous,” said Mbilli. “I think he’s a counterpuncher and I’m an offensive puncher. I think it will be a great fight for all the fans.

“For me, it’s good because he has good rankings. For my next step, to be a world champion, this is very good for me.”

While Mbilli didn’t have to face the tall southpaw, he knows that a win would put down a marker ahead of other big fights in coming weeks and months at 168-pounds.

“I’m looking not only for a knockout but a big win, I don’t want to leave any doubt or any questions,” he said. “We have a lot of problems to get opponents, for us it’s good because he was the only boxer who wanted to fight me.

“After this fight, I’m going to watch Caleb Plant and [David] Benavidez because I hope after this fight, I maybe have the winner. I’m ready for that. For me, it’s 50/50. Caleb Plant is very good technically and Benavidez physically is very good. If it’s points maybe Plant, if it’s a knockout maybe Benavidez.”

Mbilli’s trainer, Marc Ramsay, wanted to match his fighter aggressively and believes a victory will justify the risk of facing someone as potentially difficult as Gongora.

“We have no obligation to organize a fight of that magnitude, we feel he’s ready for this type of challenge,” said Ramsay. “At some point if you want to reach the objective of being world champion you need to fight any kind of fighter any style, southpaw, orthodox, counterpuncher, puncher, you need to deal with all those aspects.

“We were supposed to fight Ali Akhmedov for the [WBC] No. 1 spot, Akhmedov refused the fight and we decided to look for the best guy possible and Carlos Gongora raised his hand and said he was ready for this fight. We’re happy to have that kind of calibre of opponent.

“You can wait for the big fight when the TV station or big promoter want to do something, or you can force them and this is what we’re trying to do with Mbilli now. I think it’s a good window now to show Christian in this type of fight. When you look at Gongora there are not a lot of guys between him and [John] Ryder, Plant and those guys. For us it’s just the next step.”

Camille Estephan, of Eye of the Tiger Management, feels the timing of this match up in perfect.

“Obviously, Gongora is a very meaningful opponent,” said Estephan. “It’s probably the best opponent in Christian’s career so far. It’s two guys nobody wanted to fight – they’re fighting each other. There’s [regional] titles on the line and rankings on the line.

“It so happens there’s movement with Benavidez and Plant two days later on Showtime. If Christian can do his thing, we’ll be in a strong position to challenge for a world title, and the ultimate goal is Canelo.”

This looks like a very even fight, on paper. Mbilli will bring steady pressure and looks to back up Gongora. That will suit the South American, who likes to use his southpaw skills on the outside. I expect an evenly contested fight but feel Mbilli’s greater work ethic will see him home by hard fought by deserved unanimous decision.

Gongora (21-1, 16 KOs) was a talented amateur, who notably represented his homeland of Ecuador at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics as well as a slew of other international tournaments. He moved operations to America and began his professional career in 2015.

The now 33-year-old southpaw’s early career was something of a slow burn until he scored a come from behind knockout over previously unbeaten Akhmedov (KO 12) in December 2020. Two fights later he lost his own unbeaten record when he was edged out by Lerrone Richards (SD 12).


Mbilli-Gongora, plus undercard bouts will be streamed on ESPN+ starting at 7:00 p.m. ET/ 4:00 p.m. PT.


Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected].