Australian light heavyweight Blake Caparello is hoping his name will soon become synonymous with boxing in America.
The unbeaten southpaw, 27, will make his U.S. debut in one of boxing's hottest divisions when he faces veteran Elvir Muriqi (40-5, 24 KOs) in the main event of "Friday Night Fights" from the Richard J. Codey Arena in West Orange, N.J.
Caparello (18-0-1, 6 KOs), who is coming off the biggest win of his career in October when he claimed a wide decision over former 168-pound title challenger Allan Green in Australia, is hoping to showcase his skill set as a slick and defensive boxer.
How important is this fight to you at this point in your career?
It's very important because it's on the big show. The Super Bowl is massive in America so this is my chance to get my name out there. I have to win and win impressively.
What do you know about your opponent Muriqi and what kind of fight are you expecting?
My breakdown on Muriqi is he is a very strong and solid fighter. He comes forward. I've seen his fight against [Antonio] Tarver. He fights a southpaw well and does all the right things against them. He does the work and trains hard. We actually had been looking at him for a while and were thinking of bringing him out to Australia. We have always been studying him.
How would you describe your style to a fan who hasn't had the chance to see you fight?
I'm a boxer. I like to box and move and counter punch. I always use my angles.
In your last fight you scored a victory over the biggest name on your resume in Allan Green. What did you learn about yourself in outboxing a tough former title challenger?
It was a big win because Allan Green is well known in America so it sort of got me these opportunities with [promoter] Lou DiBella. I learned a lot from that fight. Allan Green is a dangerous puncher. You can't just stand there. He's a dangerous fighter. So we had to punch from angles and keep moving and that's what we done and we won easy.
How long has it been a goal for you to make your debut on American soil?
It was always my goal when I first began boxing. I always wanted to make it in the U.S. This is where it all happens.
Who were some of your fighting influences as you came up in your career?
I've always liked Floyd Mayweather, Bernard Hopkins and, obviously, as a young kid you always like a [Mike] Tyson as a one-punch knockout guy. But as I've gone on I have really enjoyed watching Floyd. He is just the master.
When you look at the current state of the light heavyweight division, who are some of the names that most jump out at you?
You have to look at Adonis Stevenson and [Sergey] Kovalev. They are the main players. [Jean] Pascal is still up there. Those are the three guys you sort of want to get up after, as well as Bernard Hopkins.
How exciting as a young fighter is it to see the 175-pound division on such an upswing after the emergence of guys like Stevenson and Kovalev over the past 12 months?
It's awesome to see them. They had a massive year last year. Now look how big they are. It gives you a lot of confidence. You just need that one break and this is my break. I have a massive opportunity here to put my name right out there.
By being known as a slick boxer, do you look at your style as sort of a potential Kryptonite to the bigger punchers in the division?
Definitely. I have noticed against a lot of Kovalev's opponents they go backwards in a straight line and that is a big no-no because Kovalev has that big right hand and he loves to come forward. So being a slick boxer we learned tight turns and how to use the whole ring. I can definitely give anyone trouble.
Do you feel that, at 27, you have really entered the beginning of your true prime, or do you feel there is a lot you still have to add to your game?
There is definitely a lot more I'd like to add to my game. You are always learning in boxing. I've only had seven years in training. Every fight we are improving and making massive improvements, as well. I just love learning and to keep on improving.
What's the most important thing you are looking to accomplish against Muriqi?
Obviously, you want to win. But I want to show my skills and let America see what I am and find out what Blake Caparello is about. I hope to put my punches together and throw from different angles to show that I have some skill and my defensiveness.