Sunny Edwards is coming off his first career defeat, but he has implied that the experience has only focused him for Saturday’s return at the Footprint Center in Phoenix. To hear him talk, in fact, he’s expecting a night of easy work.

Edwards (20-1, 4 KOs) most recently took on Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez in a flyweight unification clash in Glendale, Arizona, last December. Rodriguez came out on top in that tussle and tops Saturday’s bill in a defense against Juan Francisco Estrada, with Edwards providing chief support in a bout with fellow former titleholder Adrian Curiel (24-5-1, 5 KOs).

Curiel claimed a junior flyweight title with a second-round knockout of Sivenathi Nontshinga in Monte Carlo last November, but South Africa’s Nontshinga exacted revenge in February in Curiel’s backyard.

“I genuinely think I could beat Curiel and Nontshinga on the same night,” Edwards said. “Is he dangerous? Of course. Everyone is. Was I massively impressed? I feel like I’ve been in the ring with far better and I’ve beaten far better. So it’s a great opportunity for me to put on an impressive performance.”

Curiel will be aiming to bounce back with a win in Phoenix, but Britain’s Edwards is similarly motivated. He even believes defeat against Rodriguez has sharpened his focus and made him hungrier than ever to reclaim his perch at the top of the boxing tree.

“I might have more of a chip on my shoulder,” Edwards said. “I think I’ve lost a bit of complacency that I was getting. The main difference of my mindset [going] into the fight, since I was a world champion, I lost the fear and gained an ego. Going away for a training camp, taking two or three sparring partners, taking my coach and another coach, a nutritionist – yes – there’s X, Y, Z of cost for that, but it will always be worth it.

“He’s a former world champion just like me,” Edwards said of Curiel. “His fight against Nontshinga in Monte Carlo that he won, he was aggressive. He started very fast, he started hurting Nontshinga early, and he got him out of there. It was an impressive win. In the rematch in his hometown, he tried the same, but this time he was exhausted by Round 6 or 7, and I wasn’t too surprised when the tide started turning. Anyone that tries to set the pace like that and hasn’t really got God-given engines, where they don’t really slow down, they’re going to get found out, and that’s what happened.”

In addition to Edwards-Curiel and the Estrada-Rodriguez unification main event, Yamileth Mercado will defend her junior featherweight title against Ramla Ali, and unbeaten duo Arturo Cardenas and Danny Barrios are set to square off. Matchroom’s latest signing, Leonardo Rubalcava, will open the show against junior welterweight William Flenoy over six rounds, Phoenix’s Fabian Rojo will face New Mexico’s Daniel Gonzalez over six rounds at welterweight and unbeaten Californian bantamweight Gabriel Muratalla will meet Mexico’s Carlos Fontes over eight rounds.

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