By Lee Bates
Recent world title challenger Joel Julio (34-2, 31 KOs) sets out to upset unbeaten world ranked contender James Kirkland (24-0, 21 KOs) this Saturday at the Tank in San Jose,California. A native of Monteria, Colombia, Julio is coming off a decision loss to world champion Sergiy Dzinziruk in his last fight and knows he has a major opportunity in front of him. “This is a huge opportunity for me and I fully expect to be victorious come Saturday night” stated Julio. Fightnews spoke with Julio as he arrived to San Jose from Miami, Florida. Julio spoke about his last fight, his advantage having fought southpaws in the past, and how his big fight experience will be a major factor to his success.
Outside of Germany and Europe, most people didn’t get to see your last fight which was your first world title opportunity against unbeaten WBO light middleweight champion Sergiy Dzinziruk (36-0, 22 KOs). Can you speak on that experience?
There is no doubt in my mind I won that fight. Dzinziruk has decent speed, a very good consistent jab, very good movement, and physically is very strong. With all that being said, the main punch he landed all night was his jab but I landed the harder and more effective blows. I really thought I had him in the first round as I landed a hard punch to his chin and thought he was going down but I have to give him credit because he stayed up.
You only have two losses in your career. One to former world champion Carlos Quintana and the other in your last fight to world champion Dzinziruk, who both are southpaws. Do you feel you’ve improved as a fighter since those losses and have learned to fight southpaws better now?
Absolutely and I’ve really improved a lot since the Quintana fight. The Dzinzuruk fight like I said before I feel I won that fight. In that fight I showed that I’m much better at fighting southpaws since the Quintana fight. I definitely feel my past experience with those two southpaws will work in my advantage against Kirkland. I had a really good camp for this fight and it will show in my performance come Saturday night.
Do you feel your edge in experience will play a key role in you being successful Saturday night?
For sure. I respect Kirkland as a fighter and for what he has done in his career so far. I also know that this promotion is being built as his coming out party but his people made a bad mistake bringing me as an opponent. He has not fought the level of competition that I have fought and defeated.
So bascially you feel you can match his power as well?
I know I can for sure. I can punch, I can take a punch, I can box, etc… I’ve already proven all this. Now he has to prove that he can do what he’s being doing throughout his career against me a fighter who’s more experienced, hits just as hard as he does, and I take it as good as I can give it. Add to that we’re the same age and I’m in my prime.
I also understand that you’ve enrolled in school for English classes is that correct?
That’s true. I’m taking English at Miami Dade Community College. I live in Miami, Florida and have been working extremely hard on my English. I understand a lot of English and am working on my conversational English speaking.
How important is this fight to you at this stage of your career?
This is a huge opportunity for me as this fight will be broadcast worldwide on HBO. I can’t ask for a much bigger stage to fight on and I plan on taking full advantage of this with an impressive victory.