Lake Macquarie's world boxing champion Blake 'The Machine' Minto is gearing up for the biggest fight of his life, kick-starting his first title defence with a 10-day training camp in the US.
The 27-year-old proud Toronto product flew out on May 1 bound for the highly fancied Pound for Pound gym in Los Angeles in preparation for his June 22 comeback fight.
"I will be sparring with some of the world's best in preparation for my title defence against the Irishman Gearoid Clancy at the Newcastle NEX club," said Minto, who trains out of his own gym, Toronto's Team Machine Boxing Club.
"Clancy is a very skillful boxer and a seasoned professional, so my job will be to break his rhythm as much as possible. It will be my biggest fight to date and I am hoping for a parochial crowd in my home town."
In addition to defending his World Boxing Federation (WBF) super lightweight (63.5kg) belt, Minto will also be looking to showcase his credentials for a shot at the International Boxing Organisation (IBO) title in the 10-round title defence bout.
"If I can beat Clancy that will give me a higher ranking in the IBO and hopefully a shot at the world champion. My longterm ambition is to hold belts in as many organisations as possible."
Minto first pulled on the gloves 10 years ago after joining the local gym to keep fit during the rugby league off-season. After nine amateur bouts (seven wins), 'The Machine' turned pro in 2014 winning all but one of his 14 bouts to date, four by knockout. His biggest win was a unanimous points decision over veteran Argentinian Sergio Gonzalez for the vacant WBF title at the Wests City Club 12 months ago.
"Winning the title was just indescribable. I was so excited and super proud to be representing my family and my town. I believe it was the first boxing title for Lake Macquarie."
A scheduled defence late last year had to be cancelled when Minto tore a rib cartridge, and it has been full steam ahead since his recovery in 2019.
"I have been basically training and growing my knowledge and experience in the past year and I am kick starting my preparation for the June 22 bout with 10 days in Los Angeles."
Minto, an admirer of the legendary Floyd Mayweather for his dedication to the sport and high work ethic, paid tribute to his trainer Ben Crampton, a highly regarded fighter in his own right before turning his hand to training.
"I never stop learning from Ben, he is a great tactical coach and highly skillful. I am fortunate to have him in my corner." He also thanked his sponsors F3 Motor Auctions, Beast Mode Supplements, Ultra Tune Toronto, Ceil Constructions and Supply Chain Safety Excellence.
The June 22 fight will include a full card at the NEX Club. Tickets are on sale at Minto's gym or the NEX Club