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'Showtime' Sunny Edwards sets sights on becoming two-time world champion

As former IBF flyweight world champion Sunny Edwards embarks upon a quest to become a two-time world champion this summer, we take a closer look at the fighting career of the talented technician.


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Last December, Sunny Edwards dared to be great.

In his two-and-a-half-year tenure as IBF flyweight champion, Edwards (20-1, 4 KOs) had established himself as one of the best 112lbs fighters on the planet, but that was not enough for the Englishman.

‘Showtime’ was determined to prove he was the best.

To do so, the Londoner would have to defeat Jesse ‘Bam’ Rodriguez.

2022 had been a breakout year for the Texan as, at just 22-years-old, the fighting prodigy moved up to super-flyweight on six days’ notice to challenge Carlos Cuadras, for the WBC 115lbs belt.

The Mexican formed one quarter of ‘The Four Kings,’ who lit up boxing's super-flyweight division; alongside Roman Gonzalez, Srisaket Sor Rungvisai and Juan Francisco Estrada.

Despite the magnitude of the task, ‘Bam’ won comfortably, punctuating victory with a third-round knockdown.

‘Bam’ built on that impressive showing by halting Sor Rungvisai in his next fight.

While many observers were running out of superlatives to describe Rodriguez, Edwards saw flaws he felt he could exploit.

After spending just four months at 115lbs, Bam captured the WBO flyweight strap, to become a two-weight world champion.

The pair were then on a collision course.

Sunny Edwards

In December 2023, they met in Glendale, Arizona, producing one of the best fights of the year. ‘Showtime’ has made a career out of hitting and not being hit, but that proved a tougher assignment against some of Rodriguez’s ability.

An inch-long gash above Edwards right eye, forced a change of tack; he held his feet and engaged in a highly-skilled war.

By the time the fight was over, he would suffer a second cut as well as swelling under his cheek.

Bloodied and bruised, the Englishman was brave, but outgunned.

The last punch of round nine sent Edwards to the canvas, ‘Showtime’ rose to his feet, but after making his way to the corner, trainer, Grant Smith opted to save his charge for another day.

After such an arduous battle, Edwards would be forgiven for easing himself back in against a lesser opponent, but the former world champion rarely does things the easy way. 

Instead, the 28-year-old has opted to jump back in at the deep end in a bid to kickstart his campaign to become a two-time world champion.

In the early hours of Sunday 30th June, Edwards returns to the Grand Canyon State take on Adrian Curiel (24-5-1, 5 KOs).

Sunny Edwards

The Mexican is a relentless pressure fighter who rips in hurtful hooks to the body throughout every round. ‘Gatito’ also hits harder than the five stoppages on his record suggest.

Curiel demonstrated his power with a stunning one-punch knockout of Sivenathi Nontshinga, to capture the IBF light-flyweight strap.

Nontshinga regained his belt by halting Curiel in the 10th round of their rematch, but had to walk through hell to do so.

The South African opted to stand toe-to-toe with the champion, engaging in a gruelling battle, which left him with a bloody nose.

However, the tactic paid dividends as the fight wore on, the ‘Special One’ lived up to his nickname as he ground down Curiel’s resistance, en route to victory.

Against the dangerous Curiel, ‘Showtime’ will likely not have a second of respite, but it is a scenario the Sheffield-based fighter relishes.

When Edwards challenged Moruti Mthalane for the world title, it represented a significant step up in class.

The former Team GB member had proved himself to be comfortably above domestic level, but had never faced anyone with the pedigree of the South African.

Sunny Edwards

When they met in 2021, ‘Babyface’ had not tasted defeat in over 12 years.

Edwards, predictably was confident. His belief turned out to be well-founded as his footwork and lateral movement left the champion chasing shadows for large portions of the fight and each mistake was punished by well-timed counters from the Englishman.

That fight was indicative of Edwards’ reign as a whole; he faced dangerous opponents, but his agility and footwork proved decisive. That was until he met Rodriguez.

Curiel will provide a different challenge to that posed by ‘Bam’ and it is one which Edwards’ style has proved effective against in the past.

However, it remains to be seen what, if any, long-term effects the barnburner against Rodriguez has had on Edwards.

If Edwards is anywhere near is best, he should be able to outbox the Mexican and given that the fight will take place at the flyweight limit, ‘Showtime’ will be the naturally bigger man.

Winning is not enough; it is imperative that Edwards looks good doing so in a bid to land another world title tilt.

At present, it is unclear whether ‘Showtime’ intends to remain at 112lbs or drop down to light-flyweight.

The Englishman has expressed a desire to challenge Nontshinga and if he is able to handle Curiel with ease, it strengthens his case to land that fight.

This is a dangerous assignment for Edwards and a clear indication that a loss has not diminished his desires of greatness.


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