Exciting contender Claudio "The Matrix" Marrero is ready to make a statement in the featherweight division beginning with his Premier Boxing Champions on NBCSN showdown against undefeated Derrick Murray this Sunday, August 21 from Ford Amphitheater at Coney Island Boardwalk in Brooklyn.
Televised coverage on NBCSN begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and features exciting contenders Heather "The Heat" Hardy and Shelly "Shelito's Way" Vincent battling in a matchup of unbeaten rivals.
PBC on NBC will begin at 5 p.m. ET/2 p.m. PT and sees undefeated rising star Errol "The Truth" Spence Jr. facing once-beaten contender Leonard "The Lion" Bundu in a welterweight world title eliminator.
Marrero enters this bout the winner of six-straight fights, including a sensational knockout of former world champion Rico Ramos last July. Now, the self-described "boxer-puncher with exceptional defense" is looking to get himself a world title opportunity and show off his skills against the unbeaten Murray on Sunday.
Here is what Marrero had to say about his start in the Dominican Republic, his opponent, the featherweight division and more:
Question: What was it like growing up in the Dominican Republic?
Claudio Marrero: It was really tough...my dad was a jack of all trades and I was the oldest of three boys. My dad was my biggest influence on keeping me out of trouble. He trained me early on as an amateur and that's where I developed my fundamentals. Because of him, I'm here today and I'm very grateful.
Q: How did you first get introduced to boxing? What boxers did you look up to growing up?
CM: As a child, my dad and I would watch fights. He thought boxing would keep me off the streets, where 9 out of 10 kids in my country end up dead, or in jail. Around 8-years old I started boxing. Favorite fighter is Pernell "Sweet Pea" Whitaker.
When did you come to America? What led you to making that decision?
CM: The journey to come to America started in January of 2010, when my manager/trainer now, Herman Caicedo, came to the D.R. to scout Juan Carlos Payano and myself. We met and he promised to work hard on our behalf and look out for us.
Unlike many others who had said similar things, Herman was a man of his word. I was able to solidify myself with hard work, so here we are.
Q. Talk about your team and how they've helped you transition to life in America and progress your boxing career:
CM: There has been one man who has helped with everything I know in Boxing as a pro, and life here in the states, and that's Herman Caicedo, our manager/trainer. He took us on as his kids and treated us like his own children, not just fighters. All of us who train with him owe our progression and discipline to him.
In addition, Henry Rivalta and Gary Jonas, our other managers, have been very instrumental in the progress as well. We are a strong team with goals of becoming world champions together.
Q. What do you know about your opponent? What kind of problems does he pose?
CM: I know he's undefeated. I know he's coming to win and that he's from St. Louis. There isn't anything I see in him that has me concerned except the fact that he's unbeaten. Anyone who is unbeaten is going to go that extra mile to come out victorious.
But that really is not a problem in my eyes. I'm a hungry fighter as well. The problem for him is that he stands in my way of getting back in the ring with all the top guys.
Q. How important is a win on August 21 to your career? Which fighters would you like to face next and how do you think you matchup with the top featherweights?
CM: I want everyone all at 126 pounds. These guys have been evading, ducking and dodging me. None of these guys want to face me. I want them all. I'll fight them all on the same night if I have to. I'm tired of them hiding.
It's very frustrating when my managers tell me they don't want to fight me. So I must make a statement each time I step in the ring and it starts with Derrick Murray.
Q. What is your prediction for your fight on August 21?
CM: My opponent will feel pain!
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by DiBella Entertainment and presented by Brooklyn Boxing, start at $35 and are on sale now. Tickets can be purchased online by visiting www.ticketmaster.com and fordamphitheaterconeyisland.com.