Carlos Gongora did not go through four paths when asked what he wanted to do on Thursday, against Christian Mbilli.

“Knock him out. simply replied the Ecuadorian who will face the adopted Montrealer on Thursday for his World Boxing Association (WBA) International and World Boxing Council (WBC) Intercontinental belts, held by Mbilli.

At his level, there is no longer an easy fight. Mbilli (23-0, 20 K.-O.) knows this and all his duels aim to prepare him for a possible playoff fight, or even a world championship.

Besides victory, the objective of the contender #2 in the WBC, #5 in the WBA and #13 in the World Boxing Organization (WBO) will be simple at the Casino de Montreal: to avoid seeing his plans disrupted by Gongora (21- 1, 16 KOs).

“We know this is a fight that will open up a lot of possibilities for us,” Mbilli noted at Monday’s press conference. Once I score a resounding victory, I can focus on what’s next. »

Because that’s where the key lies: this fight against Gongora – ninth in the WBC rankings and 13th in the International Boxing Federation (IBF) – will be something of a calling card for Marc Ramsay’s protege.

“That’s why we took this big fight: it’s to have a big opportunity in our next fight or to get as close as possible to a world championship.

“We have reached a stage where we are confident that Christian has completed his development as an athlete,” added Ramsay, his coach. We believe he’s going to be at his peak for quite a while. »

“In professional boxing, you wait for people to organize you or you organize things yourself: we didn’t want people in the industry to organize our affairs. There aren’t many steps left between him and the elite – I’m talking about Canelo (Alvarez, who holds the four belts in the division) and David Benavidez (interim WBC champion) – so we wanted to shake up the established order. »

The WBC had ordered Mbilli to face Ali Akhmedov in a knockout bout, but the latter withdrew. Eye of the Tiger Management therefore turned to the former world champion Gongora (at the International Boxing Organization), who beat Akhmedov by K.-O. to get his hands on his title.

“We took the best guy available; It just happens that he’s already beaten Akhmedov,” Ramsay said.

“Timing is very important in sport,” noted Camille Estephan, President of EOTTM. Benavidez fights against Caleb Plant on Saturday: it is clear that they will watch the fight (from Mbilli). You have to deliver good performance. »

Estephan assures that talks are already underway behind the scenes so that Mbilli’s next fight will be highly significant.

“At the WBC, we have Christian No. 2 and Eric Bazinyan No. 3. Eric is (top 3) in three organizations: we are well positioned in the division, underlined Estephan. Thursday’s fight will help Eric as it will help Christian. »

Heavyweight Simon Kean (22-1, 21 KOs) will face Eric Molina (29-8, 21 KOs) in the semifinals of the evening. Molina is a seasoned boxer, albeit on the decline: he suffered a knockout. in three of his last five outings.

His last three fights were scheduled for just eight rounds, and one of those fights was against a 1-10 boxer, whom he easily beat by knockout. He also announced that his outing against Kean would be his last in his career.

“My career will end with the knockout. to Simon Kean,” he said.

Kean doesn’t care what Molina may say or think.

“I didn’t even listen to what he had to say at the press conference,” noted the boxer from Shawinigan. I don’t want to be swayed by that. I know what I did during my training camp. I added new collaborators who allowed me to add new strings to my bow, such as neurologist Maxime Lamirande.

“I’m still the same guy. On the other hand, there are things that I could not perhaps exploit. Now I can. »

Welterweight Steve Claggett (33-7-2, 23 KOs) will also be there. He will face Mexican Rafael Guzman Lugo (26-2-2, 16 KOs). A total of eight bouts are scheduled beginning at 7 p.m.