Cherry: ‘Belmontes Is the Perfect Fight for Me’

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16912_505He has not lost a fight since 2008, but junior lightweight contender Edner Cherry remains a fighter in limbo.

Few fighters understand frustration like Cherry, who gets a long-overdue nationally televised 10-round fight against Jerry Belmontes on Oct. 18 at the 2300 Arena in South Philadelphia. It will mark Cherry’s second fight in 2014 and only his third in the last 20 months.

The Cherry-Belmontes bout and the Steve Cunningham-Natu Visinia heavyweight 10-rounder will be televised live by NBCSN over its popular Fight Night series beginning at 9pm (ET).

“Some of the previous people I signed with, I was not sure why they could not move me,” said Cherry, who is ranked No.11 by the IBF, No. 17 by the WBC. “They were saying that no one wants to fight me or saying it was too hard to get me a fight, but this is boxing and getting the right fight and getting your name out there is important.”

After his knockout win over Mexican contender Vicente Escobedo early in 2013 in Atlantic City, NJ, Cherry couldn’t get another fight even though he had not lost since dropping a 12-round decision to Timothy Bradley for the WBC junior welterweight (140 pounds) belt in 2008. Overall, he is 32-6-2, 17 K0s.

“There are so many guys who don’t want to fight, who are scared, and yet they are the ones who are getting all the matches,” Cherry said. “For me, it’s like…what is stopping me? I just won, c’mon, what’s going on, why am I on the shelf?”

When the Florida-based Cherry signed with promoter J Russell Peltz last November, he thought his luck would change. When the first fight possibilities turned out to be against solid, world-rated lightweights (135 pounds), new trainer Dan Birmingham insisted on something easier and someone lighter, as in junior lightweight (130 pounds).

“I don’t think there is a junior lightweight in the world who can hang with Edner,” Birmingham said. “I simply wanted him to stay at 130 and get in a tune-up since he had not fought since February of 2013.

When Cherry finally landed an April 4 fight at Temple University’s Liacouras Center in Philadelphia, more frustration followed. He earned an eight-round decision over rugged Robert Osiobe, of Las Vegas, but suffered a nasty cut over his left eye from a head butt late in the fight and that kept him out of action for the summer.

“Frustrating? Of course,” Cherry said. “I had just taken the rust off and I was back on the shelf.”

Cherry has been boxing since he was 14, but now, at 32, and after some career hindrances, he might be getting his chance to make an impact.

“People look at age and are concerned,” Cherry said. “Maybe speed might be sacrificed, but if you use the talent and experience that you have then it will take you a long ways. I’ve still got some time.”

Cherry thinks his time will come Oct 18 against Belmontes, a match he accepted at 134 pounds only because Belmontes, of Corpus Christi, TX, is not known as a big puncher, having scored only five knockouts on his 19-5 record.

“It is going to be the right fight for me because Belmontes has fought some great people,” Cherry said. “I do not have a pushover that night; I have to come prepared and I am.

“Belmontes is out of the box–he likes to fight in the pocket and sometimes the crowd really likes to watch a fight like that. The crowd does not want a boring fight, they want something exciting.”

If he can channel his frustration at the 2300 Arena, then the crowd may see the “Cherry Bomb” explode and finally make the impact he desires.

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