WBC Youth and USNBC featherweight champion Matt “Sharp Shooter” Remillard is a young man heading West to fight veteran Edel “Cuate” Ruiz this Friday night in Reno, Nevada.
The 23-year-old Remillard (17-0, 9 KOs), fighting out of Manchester, Connecticut, was originally supposed to fight Ruiz (32-22-4, 23 KOs) two months ago in Maryland.
Ruiz became ill and was unable to fight that date, leading to a postponement of this interesting match-up between youth and experience that eventually landed in Reno.
“I’m excited about getting my career restarted,” Remillard said. “It’s only been a few months since I’ve fought, but (trainer) Paul (Cichon) have been working very hard in the gym, and we’re both a little anxious to showcase what I’ve learned.
"I’ve never been to Reno. I’m going from a venue that seats 2000 to close to 5000. It’s a big card and I’m really looking forward to fighting in front of a large crowd.”
Ruiz is a former WBO Latino, WBC CABOFE and WBC Continental Americas champion who has been in the ring against one present champion, Juan Manuel Lopes, as well as four former title holders (Paulie Ayala, Robert Guerrero, Jhonny Gonzalez and Joan Guzman, and two world title challengers (Jason Litzau and Fernando Beltran, Jr.).
“He’s had more than 50 fights, many against top fighters, and he’s still only 31,” Remillard noted. “The experience I’ll gain fighting him is exactly what I need at this stage of my career.
"I need to fight and beat a veteran like him to get to the next level where I want to be. Our weight class has so much talent. Ruiz is another step up the ladder. I’m looking for bigger fights but still take ‘em one at a time. Right now, this guy is in my way.
“I’m right on weight and will make 128 easy. I’ve been working in the ring with (his assistant trainer and former world cruiserweight contender) John Scully. He’s so strong and now that he’s retired and having fun, I think his reflexes are better than ever. I told him he could still beat most of the guys out there.”
Scully, however, won’t be in Remillard’s corner this weekend because “Iceman” is the head trainer for Matt Godfrey, who is fighting Shawn Hawk on this week’s ESPN Friday Night Fights show in Philadelphia. Former 2-time world champion James “Buddy” McGirt will be working Remillard’s corner with Cichon.
“This is a good fight for Matt,” Remillard’s manager Bret Hallenbeck added, “much more than a stay-busy fight. He’s in against a seasoned opponent in Ruiz, who has fought some of the top guys in the division.
"He’s definitely tougher than anybody Matt has fought to date. Every fight is a step forward for Matt and he’s learned something new each time out. He’s only 23 but getting closer and closer to a really big fight.”