Unbeaten rising star Errol “The Truth” Spence Jr. is leaning on his experience as part of the 2012 U.S. Olympic team as he nears a title eliminator on network television and eventually a title shot.
“People ask if I’m nervous about headlining big fights, but I’ve already fought on the biggest stage you can fight on at the Olympics,” said Spence Jr. “I was fighting in front of the whole world and it got me ready for where I’m at today.”
The 26-year-old will take on once-beaten Italian contender Leonard “The Lion” Bundu in a welterweight world title eliminator that headlines Premier Boxing Champions on NBC Sunday, August 21 from Ford Amphitheater at Coney Island Boardwalk in Brooklyn.
Televised coverage begins on NBC at 5 p.m. ET/2 p.m. PT following the Olympic Men’s Basketball Gold Medal Game. For Spence Jr., it was the experience of being around world class athletes such as the members of the USA Men’s Basketball team that he remembers most vividly about his time in London.
“I’ll never forget meeting all of the athletes that I had grown up watching,” said Spence Jr. “I got to meet Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, the Williams sisters and Usain Bolt. Just being able to talk to them and be around them was amazing. I was an Olympian just like them.
“It was a big moment for me when people like that would recognize me and tell me they were going to come watch me fight. That’s something I’ll always remember.”
While Spence Jr. had the best run of any of the men on the 2012 U.S. team, he came up short of his goal of bringing home a medal for his country. Despite that, Spence Jr. wouldn’t change anything about his 2012 experience.
“I feel like everything happens for a reason,” said Spence Jr. “If I go back and change something, it might change something in my future. So far my future is looking great right now. I’m one of the top fighters in the game and everything that happened in the Olympics led to that.”
Four years removed from his time in the Olympic Village, Spence Jr. is ready to make his mark as a pro, but will still have an eye on the new crop of talent that is currently competing in Rio.
“I would tell the Olympians to stay focused no matter what happens,” said Spence Jr. “Work with what you have there, listen to your coaches and stay 100 percent dedicated. You got this far, so why slack now?
“I wish them the best of luck and I think we definitely have some gold medal hopefuls like Shakur Stevenson and Claressa Shields. They’re going to come home with gold and it’s going to be big for U.S boxing.”