Christian Mbilli: the win over Carlos Gongora ‘gave me confidence’ to go after Canelo
Last Thursday, Christian Mbilli and Carlos Gongora waged war over 10 rounds at the Montreal Casino, Montreal. Mbilli won a hard-fought unanimous decision but had to walk through fire to do so.
Mbilli, who could move up to No. 3 in The Ring ratings at super middleweight, has several takeaways from his recent win.
“This fight taught me many things and also gave me confidence on many points,” Mbilli (24-0, 20 knockouts) told The Ring. “I confirmed that my jaw is strong and that I am physically resilient in tougher times as I continue to have stamina and throw a constant volume of punches. It also confirmed that I can handle both left- and right-handed fighters, which used to be a challenge. It is no longer a challenge.”
The 27-year-old had was visibly hurt from a huge uppercut early in Round 8. He had to hang tough for over a minute before emerging from the haze and fighting fire with fire and hurting Gongora. He then showed his fitness and grit by pushing the Ecuadorian back in one of the most compelling rounds of action you will see.
“It was the most memorable round in my career,” said Mbilli, who had the arena standing and chanting his name at the end of the scintinating round. “This round confirmed my strength in difficult moments, both physically and mentally. I drew on all my resources and in the end, it worked for me.”
His trainer, Marc Ramsay, believes his charge passed a difficult test with flying colors and is ready to face anyone.
“We knew it would be a tough fight and we prepared Christian accordingly,” said Ramsay. “The fact remains that Christian has demonstrated a strength of character and skills that are necessary for the achievement of our goal, (which is) a world championship.”
Two nights later, Mbilli tuned in to see two of his 168-pound rivals square off on Showtime.
“I watched the fight between [Caleb] Plant and [David] Benavidez with great interest,” he said. “It was a very good fight, which Benavidez won thanks to his physique and his power, two qualities that he was able to maximize to win. I would really like to fight one of the two in the near future.”
While Mbilli will also have his eyes on undisputed super middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez fight with John Ryder on May 6, he will enjoy some down time in the interim.
“I’m going to take a well-deserved month off!,” he revealed. “But I’m still going to stay in shape by being active.”
Camille Estephan, of Eye of the Tiger Management, was pleased Mbilli was able to once again provide the paying audience with a thrill-a-minute fight and hopes to secure a fight with one of boxing’s biggest stars in the not too distant future.
“He showed the world of boxing he’s starting to hit beyond the boxing fan in Quebec and France, he’s become now a must watch for even a sports fan which is very, very important,” said Estephan. “We’re on the way because of one of the knockouts of the year [last year] against [Nadjib] Mohammedi. Now we had a firefight between two very good fighters and that eighth round, which could be the ‘Round of the Year.’
“He sent a message to the sports fans of courage and it’s going to be a problem for an opponent because they know yes, he’s good, yes, he’s strong, yes, he’s got power, speed, skills, the chin but more so he’s willing go through hell to win the fight and that’s not a fun guy to fight. All that is making him a star.
“Now I can legitimately say, ‘We want Canelo.’ We deserve to have Canelo, from a sports perspective, he’s a challenge to anyone and we want the top guy.”
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