Feature Story

Shark eager for second bite

By Dave Spencer / Fightnews Canada

Former world champion Adrian ‘The Shark’ Diaconu is less than a week away from a chance to recapture the WBC light-heavyweight belt back from Jean Pascal, the man who took it from him, and he is already looking like he’s been in a fight. Diaconu was sporting quite the shiner under his right eye as he took a couple of minutes to talk to Fightnews in advance of this Friday’s highly anticipated rematch at the Bell Centre in Montreal versus his hometown rival Jean Pascal. “It’s a good sign,” says the heavy-handed Romanian slugger who is more than eager for a second shot at the man who wrestled away his belt back in June. “I worked so hard at training camp, I’m very prepared.”

Just like his Romanian Interbox counterpart Lucian Bute who promised a “new” fighter last weekend and ended up delivering with a knockout of iron-chinned Librado Andrade, the former champion is also promising a “new” Adrian Diaconu. “I was much too tight in the first fight, I wasn’t really there at times. Jean was a hundred-percent better tha what I thought he was going to be because he won the fight. It was a tight fight though. This time is different.”

Don’t expect wholesale changes from the hammer-fisted fighter, but instead a few minor changes after replaying the tape of the first encounter over one hundred times. “It’s going to be different, we worked on a couple of things, technical stuff, I’m going to be faster. I’ve had a six week camp, I feel good and I’m ready to go.”

Asked what he did well in their first encounter and what he can take from that performance, Diaconu was brutally honest, saying, “I didn’t do that much, I didn’t do that many good things in that first fight, I wasn’t there, it was a strange fight.”

One of Diaconu’s major complaints the first time round was his lack of fights leading up to the big event. A merry-go-round of stops and starts saw a myriad of cancellations and the light-heavyweight only making the first defense of his title a full fourteen months after capturing the crown in his native Romania.

The second time around not much has changed, while Pascal has been able to shine up his newly acquired belt a little bit with a win over mandatory challenger Silvio Branco in September, Diaconu has been on the outside looking in, waiting for his return shot at redemption.

Diaconu agreed that it might have played a part the first time around, but dismisses the notion for the rematch. “I trained very hard for training camp; I did over 140 rounds of sparring. This time around I feel better, I feel different and I think that is the most important thing for me right now.”

With his belt taken away from him, Diaconu has proclaimed himself hungry to get back what was once his. “I’m ready to fight,” he proclaims. “If I have to guarantee you something or promise you something, it is going to be that the show is going to be there.”

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