Local undefeated boxing star Mace Ruegg is set to return to the ring. This time in Bolton, for his latest bout against Johnson Tellez…
Bournemouth boxer Mace Ruegg hasn’t let COVID-19 get in his way. Even with the third national lockdown, he and his team have still been hard at work. Training and constant COVID-testing, all to get him to his next fight.
Last time HQB spoke to Mace, he had just returned from Bilbao, victorious over Venezuelan Sandro Hernandez. This next fixture was also meant to be in Spain, but instead has settled for English soil, in Bolton. This time, the undefeated 20-year-old faces off against Johnson Tellez. A Nicaraguan veteran with eight years on Mace, which he says is a test and a challenge.
Each time the fight day was rescheduled, he was given a different opponents. So it was not until this week that Mace found out for sure who he was fighting. With this in mind, he revealed how he’s approaching his bout with Tellez:
“As a boxer, you have to learn to adapt. I won’t really have the time to gauge him beyond the first round, as I’m only doing a four-rounder this time. But you can put me in any situation… I’ll gauge the opponent, and I’m good from there”.
FIGHTING ON HOME SOIL
The fight was initially set for 27th February in Spain. However, due to current restrictions, it was postponed to Friday 12th March, and will now take place at the Bolton Whites Hotel. Mace has not fought in England since he made his debut in Bournemouth last year. How does it feel fighting on British soil again?
“It’s different… It’s also good, because a lot of boxers are not getting the opportunity to fight. But because I have such good management, such a good team behind me, I’m staying busy.”
Mace’s performance on the night will be the result of training six days per week, twice a day since the start of the year.
“It’s very hard, but you have to do what you have to do to be the best,” said Mace. “As long as you put the time and the work in, you should be the best. I’m working extremely hard every day, dieting, getting my runs and my sparring in. I’m sacrificing everything, just to be the best. I don’t want to just sit on the couch all my life… I want to succeed”.
CHALLENGES OF THE PANDEMIC
The work behind-the-scenes is hard enough without throwing a worldwide pandemic into the mix. So what adjustments have had to be made when boxing is so up-close-and-personal?
“Obviously professional athletes can train, so it’s not been too bad. I have my trainer John, and my dad, so that’s okay. But with sparring and stuff, I like to get people who come to spar with me COVID tested beforehand. You have to be cautious and safe. But apart from that… we’re all professional athletes, so we’re not stupid. We’re safe, so we make sure we get tested regularly. Without that, we don’t know where we are with Coronavirus.
“The biggest challenge for me is that I had a taste of the crowd being there on my first fight. Then all of a sudden, no one’s there and I have to fight abroad to adjust and to get out and compete. So it’s been quite difficult for my loved ones not to be there, or my friends. But apart from that, I know I’m doing everyone proud.”
WHERE TO WATCH THE FIGHT
Mace Ruegg versus Johnson Tellez will happen on Friday 12th March. You can tune in on YouTube, ESPN, and iFL TV.