Fleming bites at Liam Wilson's Aussie super-fight bait

February 07, 2023 08:18 AM AEDT | By AAPNEWS
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Paul Fleming has questioned the experience of Liam Wilson's team after the younger man's controversial world-title loss, saying he would never have let the weigh-in go ahead.

And the ageing super featherweight says he will not be a "rebound fight" after being called out following Wilson's gut-wrenching defeat in Phoenix.

Wilson has appealed against the decision in his loss to Emanuel Navarrete, keeping alive slim hopes of a rematch after footage showed a 27-second allowance - almost triple the traditional count - when the Australian floored the red-hot favourite in the fourth round.

The rank outsider, in his US debut, also weighed in about 2kg lighter than expected in a bizarre lead-in drama that had Wilson's camp threatening to boycott the WBO title fight after claims of cheating.

Wilson was eventually stopped in the ninth round on Friday by a resurgent Navarrete, who became a three-division champion and improved to a perfect 11 wins in world-title fights to set up a lucrative blockbuster with fellow Mexican Oscar Valdez.

"I would have said, 'No way, these scales aren't right' and stopped it then and there and requested another set of scales," Fleming told AAP of the weigh-in drama in which Navarrete came in narrowly under the 59kg limit.

"I guess that's just inexperience."

Keen to capitalise on a profile boost after scaring the likely future hall-of-famer, Wilson has called out Fleming and recently dethroned lightweight champion George Kambosos for an all-Australian blockbuster.

A high-profile Kambosos clash would deliver a timely pay packet for the 26-year-old father of two, who is now 11-2 as a professional.

But Fleming (28 wins, one no result) fights at the same weight, is world ranked by rival bodies the WBA and IBF and is quickly rebuilding his following in a late-blooming career.

If the 34-year-old beats impressive Filipino Charly Suarez (18-0) on March 16 in Sydney he will move closer to an overdue title shot - but potentially further from a duel with WBO favourite Wilson.

"He just got his shot at the world title," Beijing Olympian Fleming said. 

"I'm nearly 35 and still haven't had mine, so it's the Suarez fight first and then I'm not going to fight Liam for his ego or a rebound.

"I only want fights that'll move me closer to a world title.

"If it is one of those, then 150 per cent let's do it; we've been calling for it and it's a bit funny now it suits him he's calling it out."

If the pair continue to diverge it could mean they only fight to unify different world-title belts.

"Liam's very dangerous very early, but from what I've seen he loses his way (in the later rounds)," Fleming said.

"He's got a good left hook, but that one shot ain't going to work fighting me.

"I'm more elusive; you've got to have more in your repertoire."


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