PHILADELPHIA, PA (May 26, 2011) – Unbeaten former two-time world champion and lineal light heavyweight champion Zsolt “Firebird” Erdei (32-0, 17 KOs) will make his second straight appearance on American soil on June 4 when he takes on former world champion Byron Mitchell (28-7-1, 21 KOs) on the undercard of Carl Froch’s WBC Super Middleweight title defense against Glen Johnson in the semifinals of the SHOWTIME Super Six World Boxing Classic.
To give his preparation a boost for this fight, the Hungarian hero Erdei, who is fighting his second straight bout back at light heavyweight after winning a cruiserweight title in 2009, has taken up temporary residence in the world renowned fight town, Philadelphia, PA. Erdei gave some insight into his training for his upcoming battle with Mitchell, his quest to conquer America, and how he is getting acclimated to the gyms of Philadelphia.
How has your overall training been for this bout?
Up to today I’m very satisfied with my preparations. I began basic training sessions in Budapest with my new physical coach, Zoltan Klink, a former Soccer player. He made me begin running stairs, first in my homeland Hungary at the river Duna in Budapest, then in Hamburg, Germany, then at the Bethesda Terrace stairs in New York’s Central Park, and now here in Philly on the Rocky Stairs at the Museum of Art. In March I also had a three weeks camp in Kitzbühel (Austria) together with Vitali Klitschko under the control of my coach Fritz Sdunek.
How do you feel about coming to the United States for your second straight bout?
To fight in the States was and is still my dream. To be successful in this country is my target. I like this country, I like the people. The people here have respect for fighters!
How has your training picked up since moving to Philadelphia?
Very good. I do my work at Joe Hand Gym and have the sparring sessions in the James Shuler Boxing Gym with good guys around me. Here they feel, taste and live boxing – that’s what I like!
Have you become acclimated to life in the United States?
I’m used to having to be flexible. It’s my fourth time in the States and, especially before my last fight in November in Atlantic City, I have used the time to adapt the way of living here.
What are your favorite things to do here that you can’t do in Hungary?
To eat lunch in a Japanese restaurant. I like sushi very much, and it fits into my eating program.
What has a typical day of training been like for you?
To be in the gym in the morning time, have some lunch at our favorite sushi bar, and after the sparring a good, but special dinner. Also I like to be outside and visit the landmarks in Philadelphia. I spend the rest of my off-time reading and solving Sudoku puzzles.
What will be the one thing that you must do in the ring to beat Byron Mitchell on June 4?
Everybody knows my skills – I’m fast and my technical skills have always been enough. I’m an undefeated world champion and have been champion in two divisions. My skills are enough.
Carl Froch vs. Glen Johnson is presented by DiBella Entertainment and Warriors Boxing, in association with Matchroom Sports and Caesars Atlantic City. The bout will be televised live on SHOWTIME Championship Boxing starting at 9 PM ET/PT (delayed on the west coast).
Tickets are priced at $300, $150, $100, and $50 and are on sale through the Boardwalk Hall box office and Ticketmaster. Tickets can be purchased online at Ticketmaster.com, charge by phone (800-745-3000), or in person at Boardwalk Hall Atlantic City. Fans of Zsolt Erdei may purchase special “Fans of Zsolt Erdei” tickets by logging on to Ticketmaster.com and using the password ZSOLT when promoted.