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Ruelas, Tszyu Fight for WBC Title

August 13, 1998

EL PASO, Texas (AP) _ Sure, Rafael Ruelas is feeling the butterflies.

After working at it for years, Ruelas is one step away from a shot at the WBC super lightweight title and he admits he’s a bit nervous. But that’s normal, he said Thursday.

``It does happen once in a while, but it’s not much,″ said Ruelas. ``I’m pretty much at peace. It’s a good feeling.″

In fact, Ruelas said he prefers situations like his upcoming fight Saturday with Konstantin Tszyu, where the stakes are so high.

``There is much more to win here,″ he said. ``(With a victory) I get to fight for the title. That’s a goal that I’ve be pursuing for a little over three years now. All I have to do is defeat this one guy.″

Ruelas, the WBC’s No. 3-ranked contender, and No. 2 contender Tszyu are fighting for the chance to go against Miguel Angel Gonzalez for the vacant super lightweight championship. Gonzalez also had been scheduled to fight on the card at the El Paso County Coliseum, but pulled out because of an injury.

Tszyu (20-1-1), a former IBF junior lightweight champion, is favored over Ruelas (52-3), himself a former IBF lightweight champion.

But such things don’t matter, Tszyu said.

``I don’t like predictions. I come here like every fighter, believing I’m going to win,″ he said. ″ I’m planning for 12 hard rounds, which I can do without any problems. What is going to happen is going to happen.″

Ruelas said he sees himself defeating Tszyu in fewer than 12 rounds.

``I don’t expect it to go the distance and the reason for that is our styles, the fact that both of us are powerful fighters,″ he said. ``There are a lot of KOs in both our records. We both enjoy fighting close. I think it’s going to be an action-packed fight.″

The pay-per-view card also includes WBC featherweight champion Luisito Espinosa of the Philippines defending his title against Juan Carlos Ramirez of Mexico in a scheduled 12-round bout.

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