Jaron Ennis has no choice but to wait.
The gifted welterweight is unbeaten, 29-0 (27 KOs). He’s ranked in the Top 3 of all four major sanctioning bodies, below only champion Errol Spence Jr. in the IBF. He’s hailed by some as a future pound-for-pound king.
Yet the big opportunities still elude him. He thought he was set to fight hot contender Eimantas Stanionis on the Gervonta Davis-Hector Garcia pay-per-view show on Jan. 7 only to learn that Stanionis will face Vergil Ortiz instead on another date. And no one else seems interested at the moment.
That has left “Boots” with a fight against obscure Karen Chukhadzhian for the IBF’s “interim” title on the Davis-Garcia card in Washington, D.C.
“It’s getting a little difficult to wait to fight these guys,” said Ennis, 25. “I’m sitting here waiting, fighting whoever they put in front of me. I have to do what I do, keep winning, keep knocking people down.
“If I do, everything will fall into place. After this fight, it will get bigger and bigger.”
Chukhadzhian’s first name – as it would be pronounced in English – has generated some mocking on social media but Ennis knows the Ukrainian is no joke.
The 26-year-old from Kiev is ranked by two organizations, No. 4 by the IBF. Chukhadzhian (21-1, 11 KOs) is a polished boxer who hasn’t lost since his second pro fight, in 2015, although he has never fought outside Europe.
Ennis would rather be facing a big-name opponent but insists there’s no danger of overlooking this one.
“I don’t care who I’m fighting, a little kid, my cousin, I don’t care who. I’m always training to do what I have to do,” he said. “… I’m always motivated. Even when I don’t have a fight, I’m motivated. I want to continue to develop, to make my legacy, to go down as a historic champion.
“You’ll never see me not motivated. I’ll be as sharp as ever [on Jan 7) and get the knockout at the end of the night.”
Afterward he’ll do what he always does, get back into the gym and prepare for whomever is his first opponent in the new year.
“I keep getting better and better every time out,” he said. “These guys haven’t seen anything yet. I’m going to keep going. And the longer they wait, the worse it’s going to get. … Staying the gym, that’s how I stay focused, stay locked in. I’m always trying to perfect myself, correcting my mistakes, sharpening my tools in the gym.
“I feel I will be No. 1 pound-for-pound. I just have to get my hands on one of those belts. And then that’s it.”