Cherry, Douglas clash with title shot on their minds

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Lightweight contender Edner Cherry has twice fought for a world title. The first time, which came in 2008, he challenged then-junior welterweight titleholder Timothy Bradley Jr. and lost a clear decision to a bigger man. The second time was a controversial split decision to then-junior lightweight titleholder Jose Pedraza in 2015.

Cherry has fought just once since, a fairly dominant 10-round decision against the very solid Haskell Rhodes last June. Now Cherry is getting back to work and hoping to force his way into a third shot at a world title.

Cherry (35-7-2, 19 KOs) will take on Omar Douglas (17-1, 12 KOs) in what should be a competitive main event on a Premier Boxing Champions card Tuesday night (Fox Sports 1/Fox Deportes, 9 ET) at the Sands Bethlehem Events Center in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

“A win definitely puts me ahead,” Cherry said. “It will open doors for better fights and better paydays. A title shot is what I want, but also a bigger money fight that will take care of my family.”

Bahamas native Cherry, 34, of Wauchula, Florida, is not in an easy fight against the 26-year-old Douglas, despite the fact that Douglas is coming off his first loss, a competitive 10-round decision to former 130-pound titleholder Javier Fortuna in November.

“Everything is good, and we will be prepared for everything on (Tuesday),” Cherry said. “Whatever Douglas brings, we will be prepared for. This is not the first time that I’ve been in this position. He is the guy who has to prove he can perform. I have been there before, so the pressure is on him.

“I am motivated and I believe in myself. Those are the reasons that I am still here at the top of the 130 and 135 divisions. My family gives me drive every day. (Tuesday) will be another great fight. This is my job and I have to go out and do it well.”

Douglas, of Wilmington, Delaware, believes he has what it takes to defeat the more experienced Cherry and said the loss to Fortuna, who he knocked down in the opening round, was a good learning experience.

“I am the better fighter (than Cherry). I have known about him for a long time,” he said. “I watched him a lot when he fought on ‘Friday Night Fights,’” Douglas said.

“The Fortuna fight let me know and let the people know that Omar Douglas is a world class fighter. Even in a loss, people did not expect me to do well. I thought that I showed a lot that night and I will carry that confidence into this fight.”

Like Cherry, Douglas believes a victory should help clear his path to a shot at a belt.

“I think that it is time,” he said. “I just happen to be crossing paths with Cherry. This fight makes sense for me. I will let people know that I am player and a win will earn me a title shot. I have shown that I will fight anyone. Look at the records of my previous opponents. Fortuna was 30-1 and one fight removed from being a world champion. Alexei Collado was 19-1; Frank De Alba was 17-1. So wins over those guys plus Cherry should have me right there, but I am focusing on Edner Cherry. He is a great veteran, but on Tuesday night I will be victorious.”

Two eight-round fights are also scheduled to be on the telecast with unbeaten featherweight prospects Stephen Fulton (10-0, 5 KOs), 22, of Philadelphia, and Luis Rosario (8-0-1, 7 KOs), 24, of Puerto Rico, squaring off and Bethlehem junior lightweight Frank De Alba (21-2-2-, 9 KOs), 29, taking on Ryan Kielczweski (26-2, 8 KOs), 27, of Quincy Massachusetts.

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