I don't fear power of Carl Frampton, says Jeremy Parodi
In Toulon sport is all about rugby but Jeremy Parodi intends to make his city and the whole of France wake up to his talent by leaving Carl Frampton's career in tatters on Saturday night at the Odyssey Arena.
Earlier this year 26-year-old Parodi joined in the celebrations as Jonny Wilkinson led the French side to Heineken Cup glory and now he wants to enjoy his own European glory by taking the EBU belt off Frampton.
That is going to be easier said than done but Parodi, ranked four by the International Boxing Federation – a slot below the Belfast man – says he could not be in better shape and is ready to handle the wicked firepower of the European super-bantamweight champion.
Parodi, who works in the Mayoral office in Toulon, said: "I know that he can punch so I will be careful but I have no worry about the power of Frampton.
"I never been knocked down, never taken a count in my career, in a fight or in sparring. If I had any fear I wouldn't have come here.
"Frampton is a good boxer but I am not impressed by him.
"I am the underdog but nothing is impossible. He has two legs, two arms like me... I am here because the EBU and the IBF see the value of me as a fighter. I am ready for the challenge, I am ready to take the title."
Parodi has suffered just one defeat in 36 fights and that was to another Frenchman, Arsen Martirosyan, who took a majority decision.
Since then he admits to have had a frustrating time, despite the fact his record shows seven straight wins since that defeat in 2010.
He knows that Saturday night offers him an opportunity to gate-crash the world title scene – a chance that may never come again and while Frampton is a hot favourite to retain his title, Parodi is adamant that he can cause an upset.
"I have been frustrated fighting the guys I have had recently, I have been waiting for a chance like this," he added.
"I have not had the same motivation for fights before at home as I have for this. This fight with Frampton is the big chance that I have been waiting for.
"This fight can change my career and then hopefully my life.
"I think I will outbox Frampton. This is the plan.
"And because of what happened in the fight with Martirosyan when I thought I should have got the decision I know that I have to win the rounds by a wide margin."
Parodi may only have been in Belfast 24 hours but already he is sensing the buzz and expectation around Frampton and his camp know that he can expect a hot reception when he walks to the ring on Saturday night.
Indeed, it will be an atmosphere he has never faced as 8,200 make him aware that he is very much the outsider.
"I just have the same worries that I would have for any fight, there's nothing different," he added. "I have nothing to lose, Frampton is the champion, he is at home, he has better position in IBF so there is no pressure on me.
"I have nothing to lose and everything to gain."
Parodi's preparation – longer than for any previous fight – has included sparring with the reigning European bantamweight champion Karim Guerfi as well as energy-sapping mountain runs and some Rocky-style wood chopping. This has all been under the watchful eye of 68-year-old coach Ruocco Alain, a former French welterweight champion.
"We have our strategy for Frampton and we can adapt," said Alain with an air of quiet confidence.