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Warren challenges Payano for bantamweight belt

Unbeaten southpaw Rau'Shee Warren will fight for his first world title against Juan Carlos Payano on Sunday. Nick Laham/Golden Boy/Getty Images

Cincinnati bantamweight Rau'Shee Warren is the only American boxer to make the U.S. Olympic team three times, competing in the Games in 2004, 2008 and 2012. But as good of a fighter as he was as an amateur, he never won a bout in the Olympics. He lost his first fight in each tournament.

As a pro, he has been perfect so far and has a chance to win a world title, which would undoubtedly help make up for at least some of the Olympic disappointment.

The 28-year-old Warren (13-0, 4 KOs) will challenge fellow southpaw Juan Carlos Payano (16-0, 8 KOs), 31, of the Dominican Republic, for his belt on Sunday at Full Sail Live on the campus of Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida, in the debut Premier Boxing Champions card on Bounce TV (9 p.m. ET).

"Launching the PBC on Bounce TV series is a huge step for me. I feel like I have to put on a show for my fans and everybody out there that's watching," Warren said. "I'm looking to win every round.

"It was an honor fighting for the U.S. three times in the Olympics as an amateur. I fought a lot of different fighters from all over the world, and I got to see lots of different styles. These days I feel like anyone new who steps in front of me is similar to something I've already seen. We put everything on the table in training camp. I just can't wait for [Sunday]. I hope that when the bell rings he's as ready as I am because I'm putting everything into this one."

Warren is not much of a puncher, but is a skillful boxer. Payano is easily the best opponent of his pro career. But Warren is confident.

"I see a lot of things in Payano that I think I can take advantage of," Warren said. "I expect him to be aggressive, but his problem is that he's going to be so worried about my speed he won't even know what else I'm bringing at him."

Payano, a two-time Olympian (in 2004 and 2008) and a pro since 2010, will be making his first title defense. He scored a major upset in September in Mesquite, Texas, by winning a six-round technical decision to dethrone long-reigning titleholder Anselmo Moreno.

Payano said he is well prepared, healthy and anxious to fight.

"I am a warrior with the hunger to prevail and win. I'm ready to leave everything in the ring Sunday night," Payano said. "Warren merits a title shot. He's one of the best fighters in the division. It'll be a great fight. He won't win, but it'll be a great fight.

"I see a lot of errors in Warren's style. That particular style of his has a lot of errors in it and I'll attack them as I see them. He's perfect for me. The Dominican vice president contacted me yesterday and wished me luck. I have great support from the people of my country."

The telecast will also feature a pair of 10-round junior middleweight fights, the semifinals of a four-man tournament.

In one bout, Yudel Jhonson (17-1, 9 KOs), 34, a 2004 Cuban Olympic silver medalist who defected and now lives in Miami, will face Jorge Cota (24-1, 22 KOs), 27, of Mexico. In the other semifinal, John Jackson (19-2, 15 KOs), 26, of the U.S. Virgin Island -- one of the fighting sons of former world titleholder Julian Jackson -- will square off with Dennis Laurente (49-5-5, 30 KOs), 37, of the Philippines. The winners will meet on a date to be determined.