Ellis Zorro exclusive: Burton is the most accomplished fighter I’ve fought
Ellis Zorro is playing catch up.
The 30-year-old first hit a pad during a Freshers Week session at Brunel University but although he might not have been born into the sport, he is clearly doing something right. Zorro has managed to build a 15 fight unbeaten record and is closing the gap on a talented group of British fighters gathering at the top of the world cruiserweight division.
“That’s not my story. I had three amateur fights. I think going to university and having the experience of working a full time job actually helps me,” said Zorro who also spent time working alongside his father in a jewellery shop. “It gives me the motivation not to go back to that. I don’t think working a 9 to 5 or being in an office is for me. I need something more.”
Zorro will have plenty to occupy him on Friday evening. The Londoner faces the dangerous Hosea Burton in an attractive looking cruiserweight clash. Burton is something of an unknown force at cruiserweight but the heavy handed former British light heavyweight champion will know that a fourth career defeat would be extremely difficult to recover from. When a prospect as hungry as Zorro meets a desperate veteran, fireworks are almost guaranteed. For all the latest fight odds, visit our sportsbook.
“I watched an interview with him a few days ago,” Zorro said. “I think he might be overlooking me or underestimating me a bit. He said I’m not ready but I was watching his body language and listening to the way he talked and I don’t think he believed what he was saying.
“I think he might be underestimating me”
“He is the most accomplished fighter I’ve fought. He’s been a British champion and he has this power but it’s all been at light heavyweight and the gap between light heavy and cruiserweight is the biggest gap in all of boxing.”
Don’t be thinking Zorro is banking on size alone to get him past Burton. Last September, Zorro made his BT debut against the determined Dec Spelman. On paper, the fight looked like the ideal showcase for Zorro to go through his full repertoire of skills against a game but smaller man. The fight turned into a real battle with Zorro showing his determination and guts rather than his boxing ability. As well as acknowledging Spelman’s toughness, Zorro feels that his own approach contributed to a trickier than expected night. He is aware of Burton’s past but also fully aware that he can’t afford to repeat the mistakes he made against Spelman.
“I think I may have underestimated Dec a little bit,” he admitted. “Everybody knows Spelman is a good tough fighter but I was thinking he might not be a real cruiserweight. When we got in the ring I realised, ‘Ok, he’s just like me.’ With him not having to cut the weight, I think that helped.
“A lot of the fights I’d had until that point – even the fights I won in the Boxxer tournament against undefeated fighters – I controlled them and they went quite smooth. It’s good that people got to see a different side of me.
“I like to think I’ve got a bit more to my game”
“I think this fight will be a bit different. It’ll be more of a boxing match.”
Burton has dynamite in his long right hand but has been beaten three times by constant, heavy pressure. Richard Bolotniks and Dan Azeez both borrowed forward and managed to stamp their authority on proceedings. Get inside Burton’s long straight shots and there is a route to success. Zorro has seen the success Bolotniks and Azeez had but isn’t going to change his natural style in order to follow a blueprint.
“I’ve watched the fights with Bolotniks and Azeez. Dan’s a couple of years older than me but we grew up around each other and I’ve sparred lots of rounds with him. They beat him by putting the pressure on and coming forward. I like to think I’ve got a bit more to my game.”
Zorro won’t be plunged into the mix with the Lawrence Okolie, Chris Billam-Smith or Richard Riakporhe if he gets past Burton but an impressive showing would move him to within striking distance of fighters like Isaac Chamberlain and Mikael Lawal who fight for the British title next week.
“It’s good to see them all fighting each other with fights like Lawrence Okolie and Chris Billam-Smith being made. Richard Riakporhe has had a few domestic fights too against people like Sam Hyde and Tommy McCarthy. Those are the type of fights I want to be involved in soon.”
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