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Stanionis: I want to make history as Lithuania’s first world champion

WBA No.1 welterweight contender Eimantas Stanionis aims to become Lithuania’s first ever world champion, but must first get by veteran Luis Collazo at The Armory in Minneapolis on Saturday night.

Former WBA 147lbs title holder Collazo (39-8, 20 KOs) is perhaps best remembered for recovering from a first-round knockdown to take Ricky Hatton to the wire (L12) in May 2006. The 40-year-old Collazo is planning one last hurrah as he engages in his final pro contest against the highly-rated Stanionis.

The Lithuanian is expecting Collazo to go out with a bang.

“Collazo has faced the top guys and he likes to fight fire with fire like I do. I am prepared for an action-packed fight,” said Stanionis (13-0, 9 KOs). “I got confidence from my last fight knowing that I can go 12 hard rounds. I got tested in that fight against Thomas Dulorme, but I think it was my worst night. I was not at my best. This time I’m 100% prepared and ready to go.

“I just have to win and keep winning. I want to get to the world title shot. Lithuania has never had a pro world champion and I want to make history. I have great competition on Saturday and I want to show that I can compete with any of the top guys.

“I think I deserve the title shot if I win on Saturday. I’m ranked high by the WBA and I’m going to be in position to fight the best sooner rather than later.

“I think I can compete with the top guys right now. When you go into the ring, it doesn’t matter who the favourite is. I like to give 100% of my heart into the ring. This is an entertainment sport and we’re entertainers. That’s my mentality coming into the fight.”

Southpaw Collazo, who has also battled Keith Thurman, Amir Khan, Victor Ortiz, Andre Berto, Shane Mosley, Miguel Angel Gonzalez and Jose Antonio Rivera in a 21-year career at top level, is looking forward to his final act.

“I can’t wait for Saturday night. It’s been a long road and I’m just eager to step back in the ring and do what I do best on fight night,” said New Yorker Collazo.

“This is going to be my last fight on Saturday night. The sport is overwhelming in many ways and sometimes it’s hard to enjoy it. Even saying that, I’m bringing everything I’ve got on Saturday. I’m going to leave my mark once again. 

“Right now, the only thing he has on me is age. Age doesn’t matter though, when you fight and stay in the gym like I do. That’s what I do for a living. I’ve been consistent and there’s no excuses coming into this fight.”

Main image: Sean Michael Ham/Premier Boxing Champions.