Unbeaten Australian junior lightweight "Wild" Will Tomlinson, who has signed a five-fight promotional deal with Golden Boy Promotions, would like his first fight on American soil to be in a title bout.
"I didn't come to America to f___ around and to take easy fights," said Tomlinson, a 27-year-old native of Sydney who competed in the 2007 World Championships before turning pro in July of 2008. "I came here to test myself and see how good I really am. The only way of doing that is to come here, take myself out of my comfort zone and to really push the limits, and that's what I want to do over here."
To that end, Tomlinson (21-0-1, 12 knockouts) listed RING No. 7-rated 130-pounder Takashi Miura, RING No. 4-ranked junior lightweight Argenis Mendez and unbeaten lightweight Yuriorkis Gamboa, a Cuban Olympic gold medalist, as those he would like to challenge.
"My No. 1 opponent, right now, if they could put me in with him would be Takashi Miura, the WBC champ from Japan," said Tomlinson. "Then, I'd say, I would like to fight Gamboa. I think that would be a great fight and a really, really good test for me. I'd like a crack at Argenis Mendez, the IBF champion in my division."
Coming off a unanimous decision over Malcolm Klassen in May, Tomlinson "has paid his dues on the Australian circuit and he's ready for the international stage," said Richard Schaefer, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions.
"I think that that from where I'm positioned as a fighter, when I first came to the states, I was rated inside of the top 10 of all of the ratings bodies, the WBA, IBF, WBC, WBO. I was in the top 10 of all of them, and they may have dropped a bit since I've been here for the last three months trying to get this deal over the line. But I'm still in the Ring Magazine ratings," said Tomlinson, who is rated No. 9 among THE RING's 130-pounders.
"I'm within one fight away from fighting for the world title. I could fight for any of the world titles and be up there straight up if I wanted to. I think that, obviously, once I'm actually in there fighting for the world title, I can win it. It's good to get that backing from such a well-organized organization and I'm confident that Golden Boy is going to give me all of the opportunities that I came to America for and it's just up to me to pull the trigger and to make it count."
In August, Tomlinson arrived in America, where he is based in Los Angeles and trained by Manny Robles with Justin Fortune as his strength and conditioning coach.
"I've got an apartment in West Hollywood," said Tomlinson. "I'm training in between a gym in Carson, Calif., and Justin Fortune's Gym on Sunset Blvd."
Among those Tomlinson has run into during his travels is trainer Freddie Roach, whose Wild Card Gym is in Hollywood. Tomlinson said that he met Roach prior to the trainer's leaving for General Santos City, Philippines, where he prepared Manny Pacquiao for last month's unanimous decision over Brandon Rios in Macau.
"When I first came to America, I didn't have a trainer lined up. I just came over here literally starting from scratch. So I had to sample a few guys out, and, obviously, one of the first gyms that I walked into was the Wild Card, and that was in late August, early September. I spent my first, sort of, couple of weeks training with Freddie up in Wild Card. This was about four weeks out from when he took off for the Philippines. I spent a couple of weeks at Wild Card and did some work with Freddie and his assistant, Marvin Somodio," said Tomlinson.
"Then, a friend of mine suggested that I go and try to do some training with my current trainer, Manny Robles, down in Carson, and I went down there and started training with Manny, and we clicked. So I liked him as a trainer and I liked him as a bloke, and I was getting more one-on-one time with Manny, and I felt like he was the guy that could really get the most out of. He seemed like he was the man who was willing to put in the most time and work that I needed to take me to the next level and to compete at that level, so I opted to go with him. I think that I've put a pretty good team together. Along with Golden Boy, the sky is the limit."
Photo / Dadswell-Getty Images, Spencer-Getty Imagesm Ellis-Getty Images
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org