The stakes are as high as can be for this amateur bantamweight clash.
Squamish’s Indroop Virk (6-0) will put his undefeated record on the line when he meets Victoria’s Mitch Strazzella (3-2) to determine the new owner of the BFL amateur bantamweight title at BFL 64 in Coquitlam, B.C. on Saturday night.
Virk, 21, enters this matchup in a unique position, having the opportunity to win his third title in a third weight class, previously winning the BFL amateur flyweight title at BFL 58 and Rumble in the Cage amateur featherweight title at Rumble in the Cage 61.
Virk said this would be an amazing and rare accomplishment, and he would be proud to achieve it.
“If I were to win the 135 belt, I’d probably be the only Canadian amateur in history to win three different amateur belts in three different weight classes,” said Virk in an interview.
For Strazzella, 26, this will be his third shot at a BFL amateur title, having fallen short in his previous two attempts.
This time around, Strazzella said winning the belt means a lot more to him than his past two attempts, with this try having bigger implications on his future.
“Before, it wasn’t about the belt, but it is now because if I want to go professional, I need to take an amateur title to prove I’m ready,” said Strazzella in an interview.
“The first two fights, it was just hard to envision me holding the belts. But with this fight, having more experience, I can see it more clear.”
In One Ear, Out The Other
In the weeks leading up to fight week, Virk and Strazzella had shared a few words on social media on multiple occasions.
And while both did engage in the banter, Virk said it’s not something that phases him or weighs on his mind in any way.
“I’m going to do what I do like every fight. It doesn’t matter,” said Virk.
“I’ll shake his hand at the weigh-ins. If he doesn’t want to shake my hand, cool, whatever.”
In his six-fight amateur career, Virk has three submissions, all rear-naked chokes, and three unanimous decision victories, most notably a dominant performance over then undefeated Francis Tiapis to win the BFL amateur flyweight strap.
This time around, Virk said he’s looking to add a fourth finish to his resume, and perhaps his first TKO victory.
“I think I’m going to tap this guy out or ground and pound him, most likely in the later rounds.”
No Judges Needed
Strazzella also has a finish firmly entrenched in his mind, already holding one finish by way of knockout over Joshua Lam.
And while he wants the stoppage win to put more of an exclamation point beside the victory, Strazzella said he also strongly wants to avoid leaving his fate in the judges hands.
“I don’t want to go five rounds because honestly I don’t think they’re going to give me a five-round decision in Vancouver with the number one guy in Canada. I don’t see that happening,” said Strazzella.
“I’m ready for five rounds and I’m comfortable going five rounds no problem, but I would like to put him out. I’ve never been more ready to just fight.”
Throughout his amateur career, Strazzella has shown his biggest strength to be his striking, while Virk has excelled tremendously in the grappling department.
And while he knows he will hold the edge over Virk in the striking department, Strazzella said he also has no concerns about going to the ground either.
“I definitely feel I hold the edge in the stand-up and he probably feels he has the edge on the ground, but, if I wanted to, I’m confident shooting on him too,” said Strazzella.
“I’ve put in a lot of time on the mat and I’ve done jiu-jitsu since I was 15. Maybe his credentials are really good for the ground, but if we go to the ground, that’s cool. I’m fully confident, if we do go to the ground, I can get on top and do some damage.”