Michael ‘Wasp’ Gardener is promising that Dave Leblond will be another quick casualty when the two face off in the Wray and Nephew Contender Series at the Chinese Benevolent Association Wednesday night.
This will be the first fight of the quarterfinals of the competition and it pits the silky smooth Gardener against the rugged Canadian Leblond.
Gardener is, however, confident that, like he did in the preliminaries when he took out Canada’s Jay Kelly swiftly in the first round, he will again prove to be superior to Leblond.
“Based on the buildup, I can promise you that it won’t last long. I am facing a lot of things at this time. I have a message and Wednesday in the ring I am going to leave it there,” he said.
Both are fighting for the second time in the Wray and Nephew Contender Series. Gardener lost in 2016 semi-finals to the eventual winner DeMarcus ‘Chop Chop’ Corley.
Last year, Leblond lost his preliminary round fight against Tsetsi Davis in a controversial manner but was given a reprieve to fight Nico Yeyo again in the preliminaries. He eventually lost to his countryman Phil Rose in the quarterfinals. Rose would lose to Sakima Mullings in the final.
With Leblond having to go to the judges for a unanimous decision against Toriano Nicholas in the first round of this year’s contest, Gardener remains unimpressed about his boxing skills.
“They said he’s fast, but judging for myself he’s not fast. He just knows how to work and if you allow him, he will outwork you. He just has a high punch rate. He throws a lot of punches, but that’s all,” Gardener said.
“The only person that is in Gardener’s way right now is himself and I am already moving, so no one will stand before me. The message is going to manifest itself in the ring.”
The boxers are fighting for the Wray and Nephew Contender welterweight belt as well as the $2m purse that goes to the winner. Second place will receive $500,000 with third getting $250,000 and fourth $200,000.