Adam Etches is leaping up the rankings in British boxing - but he is the first to admit even he’s not as fit as the man who tops the bill in Sheffield on Saturday.
Undefeated middleweight Etches takes on 34-year-old veteran Samir Santos Barbosa at Ponds Forge, on the undercard of the Kid Galahad v Adeilson Dos Santos IBF Youth super bantamweight title contest. His mind is focussed on that - but he took time off his preparation to pay tribute to Ingle fighter Galahad (Barry Awad) who is maneuvering his way to world level.
“He is brilliant, he lives eats and breathes boxing” said Dronfield-based Etches.“He is always in the gym, probably the fittest boxer I’ve ever seen. Yes, fitter than me! If he can keep his head right then he’s going places.”
Barbosa represents Etches’ biggest challenge after 16 straight wins. The fighter from Rio Grande has a W35 L10 D3 card and the experience of competing for many titles during a 13-year career. The pair will be battling it out for the IBF international title; the first time Etches has done 12 rounds.
“I am expecting my toughest fight so far” says the 23-year-old.
Barbosa has won his last five, four by stoppages, and says Etches: “He’s on a good run. He’s fought for a world title a couple of times, he has been round the block. For me, it’s brilliant, I am really lucky, I am fighting for my fourth title in 18 months.”
The one time Birly resident has stopped 10 out of 11 of his last opponents and has been training hard at Dronfield’s Akademy gym.
“I like to get in there and get it over and done with.My fans like it, (KOs) everyone likes to see it. But I have got to be smart how I do it because these opponents are getting tougher and more difficult.
“I’ve seen quite a lot on youtube of Barbosa, he’s a tough guy. He stands the he likes to have a fight which obviously I do as well so it should gel and make a good fight. The few times he has fought for a world title he has come up short, but nontheless even to challenge for a world title its a big, big step for me.”