By Chris Cella
This Saturday, December 22 from the Sands Casino in New Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, lightweight prospect Osnel Charles (9-4-1, 1 KO) will look for his first win of 2012 as he goes to battle with undefeated Naim Nelson (8-0, 1 KO) of Philadelphia.
Coming into 2012, Charles was riding an eight-fight win streak, but following losing two close decisions and fighting to a draw in the three fights this year, his plans to fight for a belt have been slightly halted.
It could’ve been easy for the Atlantic City native to become complacent with his training and get discouraged, but instead he intensified his workout regime within the gym and stayed focused on getting his career to the level where he wants it to be at.
Through his young career Charles has established himself as one of the East Coast’s top rising prospects, and despite the setbacks earlier in the year, Charles knows a win over Nelson on December 22 can open a lot of doors and bring him one step closer to getting the big fights that he has his eyes set on for 2013.
Fighting as the co-feature event of the Tomasz Adamek/Steve Cunningham IBF North American Heavyweight Title fight card on NBC—the network’s first boxing card since 2004—is the opportunity Charles has been looking for to really get his name out there and show the boxing world that he has the skills and drive to fight for a world title in the near future.
“We have been working extremely hard in preparing for this fight, and we know that it is our time,” said Charles. “Saturday night I have to go out there and execute and come out with a ‘W’. A win over Nelson will get me back on track and line me up for the fights in 2013 that I need to get to fight for a belt.”
Over the past few months, Charles has dealt with adversity outside of the boxing ring, having lost his gym due to the devastating Hurricane Sandy which struck the East Coast. But while nearly all of the Atlantic City, New Jersey residents were evacuating the city, the 28-year-old boxer sought out a new route to get his roadwork in, his eyes firmly set on the task ahead of him December 22.
Charles has the tools and ring knowledge to go out there and pull off the upset over the undefeated Nelson; he has displayed hand speed and style comparable to Sugar Ray Leonard, and when he steps between the ropes Saturday night he plans on showing fans a title contender.
“Everything else that happened this year is behind us,” said Charles. “We can’t focus on the close fights we feel we got robbed on. The only thing on our mind is the fight Saturday night. This is a big test that can have huge results on my career. If we can end the year on such a positive note, it will shape the start of 2013.”
Osnel Charles and Naim Nelson go to battle this Saturday at the Sands Casino in New Bethlehem, Pennsylvania as part of the Tomasz Adamek and Steve Cunningham IBF North American Heavyweight Title fight. The live telecast begins on NBC at 4 p.m. Eastern.