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Gambling man Sam Goodman risks shot at Naoya Inoue with tune-up fight – The Ring

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Goodman cracks Flores. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Australian junior featherweight contender Sam ‘The Ghost’ Goodman will have one more hit-out before challenging undisputed 122-pound world champion Naoya Inoue later this year.

The undefeated 25-year-old from Albion Park in New South Wales will face fellow unbeaten Chainoi Worawut of Thailand at the WIN Entertainment Centre in Wollongong on July 10.

The fight is not without its risks. Goodman (18-0, 8 knockouts), who is ranked the number one contender to Inoue’s crown by both the IBF and WBO, will see a million dollar payday with the Japanese phenom evaporate in front of his eyes if he loses to the 26-year-old Worawut.

“I’m a gambling man. I’ve got to roll the dice. I’m going all in again,” The Ring’s number four ranked junior featherweight contender said at the official press conference on Wednesday to announce the bout.

Goodman was ringside for Inoue’s six-round destruction of Mexican southpaw Luis Nery (35-2, 27 KOs) at the Tokyo Dome in Japan on May 6. He managed to make his way into the ring after the fight to challenge Inoue (27-0, 24 KOs) face-to-face.

“It was a crazy experience. We hustled our way ringside, we yelled out at him and we ended up in the ring. It was good. I’m on his radar and he’s obviously on mine,” said Goodman.

“I’ve got a job to do here in July but make no mistake, after this one I’ll be sitting out and waiting for my shot.

“I know what prepares me best for that opportunity [against Inoue]. I’ve got to stay active, I’ve got to stay busy and I need another test at that world level before I take on Inoue.

“It’s the plan my team has come up with. I trust in my team, I trust in their process and their plans. It’s about putting me in the best possible spot not just to fight the Monster, but to beat him. That’s what we are going to do.

“I’ve got a lot in front of me and I can’t slip up here. I’m going to do a job on this guy, get him out of there and on to the next one.”

Asked why he would risk a seven-figure payday by taking this fight, Goodman replied: “I didn’t get in this sport to become a millionaire when I was 10 years old. It’s all nice and I want to get paid at the end of it, but it’s about putting me in the best position to win these world titles.

“My team believe another hit-out at world level and another tough test, just getting in there and competing again, that’s what it’s about. Getting in there, staying active and getting busy.

“This will be my last fight before the Monster. After this fight and even now, everything I do is pushing me towards those world titles. It’s with that end goal in mind, this guy is just an obstacle in front of me. I can’t slip up. I’ve got to have full focus on him. But I know what lies ahead, so I’m not taking him lightly. This is everything for me.”

Worawut (25-0-1, 15 KOs) is little known outside of his homeland, but he reportedly had 200-odd Muay Thai fights and comes from a combat sports family. The WBC ranks him at number eight on the basis of a regional belt but the only recognizable name on his ledger is a well past his prime Panya Uthok.

Still, Thailand is known for producing tough, rugged warriors who are capable of springing the upset if their more favored opponent is underprepared.

Goodman says while he respects Worawut as a boxer; he just feels he is a bit better than him in most categories.

“He is a credible opponent, he’s world ranked and he’s undefeated for a reason,” he said. “Early on I might have to suss him out a little bit, but from what I’ve seen of him, I’ve got more than enough to handle this bloke.”

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