Salem is aiming to go the distance
Tony Salem is hoping for a lengthy rumble with journeyman Mark Phillips at Dagenham tonight. Yet the Nigerian-born ex-Camden Kronk fighter admits he knows nothing about his opponent – and quite frankly does not care. Salem is happy to take on anybody
Tony Salem is hoping for a lengthy rumble with journeyman Mark Phillips at Dagenham tonight.
Yet the Nigerian-born ex-Camden Kronk fighter admits he knows nothing about his opponent - and quite frankly does not care.
Salem is happy to take on anybody in the light heavyweight category, so long as they can give him a run for his money.
"I'm on a learning path and it doesn't really matter to me who I get," he said.
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"I would love someone who can take me all the way and handle a few punches.
"But the way I was brought up, I'm ready for any type of boxer and any style.
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"I let my manager and promoter sort it out. They know I just need time in the ring."
Time is certainly something Phillips has had after enduring 48 fights in a seven-year career.
However, the 31-year-old has won just eight of his fights and has lost his last 14, giving him a world ranking of 458 out of 536. Salem is ranked 342nd.
"It'll be a hard fight and hopefully I'll be able to pick off his experience," said Salem, when told of his opponent's record.
"Even if he's lost that many, he's still had a lot of fights so he won't be coming here for a joke. He'll want to fight and he'll want to win. But I'll sort him out."
Salem, the 2004 ABA champion, has endured a frustrating lack of sparring in the build-up to the bout. But he does not believe it will affect his chances of making it two wins in a row.
"I should be sparring more but they're having trouble getting people in. I don't know, perhaps people are scared of me.
"They've been trying and trying but I've only had a few sessions.
"It's not a problem because I've been into fights before where I've had no sparring.
"I've not let it affect my mental state."
l Another former Saints star on the card is super featherweight Ian Wilson, who has won all six of his professional fights after taking six years out of the game with a back injury.
He is due to go four rounds with John Baguley of Sheffield, who has won three out of his five fights.
"This will be my last four-rounder," said Wilson.
"I want to prove myself over six because it's another step in the ladder and I know I can do it.