Boxing starts early this week as the biggest card is on a Thursday instead of the usual Friday or Saturday. This Thursday card is headlined by Demetrius Andrade vs Luke Keeler for Andrade’s WBO middleweight title. This should be one of the least competitive match ups on the card with Andrade being a deserved heavy favorite. Luke Keeler isn’t world level but because hes with MTK and Andrade needs someone to fight hes been given this opportunity. I was looking through the Middleweight rankings and Luke Keeler was actually one of the only ones you could say deserves a title shot. It seems a lot of the other good contenders have had their shots and haven’t come back with a win yet which means guys like Luke keeler can fight for titles. Andrade should be able to box to an comfortable decision victory or late stoppage if he wants to take some risks.
On the under card IBF Super Featherweight champion Tevin Farmer takes on Joseph Diaz in a fight thats been talked about for a long time. The two have been going back and forth over social media for the best part of a year now and its good that they’ve finally agreed to fight each other because as much as its a good fight its not a unification or anything that special. Diaz will be Farmer’s biggest test as a champion and is a live underdog in this fight. Before Diaz’s last fight I thought this was a 50/50 but he didn’t look great vs an average opponent which has made me lean towards Farmer in this fight. Diaz could very easily win this if he fights as well as he did vs Gary Russell Jr and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if he stopped Farmer who is known to tire late in fights.
The fight that i’m most excited about on this card is Daniel Roman vs Murodjon Akhmadaliev which is for Roman’s unified super bantamweight titles. Roman is always in exciting fights as well as being one of the most improved fighters in the sport after taking a few early losses to bounce back and become a unified champ. Akhmadaliev is one of the new wave of talented Uzbekistan amateurs to turn pro and has looked very good so far. Not only does he create good angles but he seems to hit very hard which is often something top amateurs struggle with when they go pro because of how different the two codes are. I think this fight will be extremely competitive but Roman should be able to use his experience at the top level to outpoint Akhmadaliev over 12 rounds.
Anthony Sims Jr a rising super middleweight prospect faces the toughest test of his career when he fights Roamer Alexis Angulo a former world title challenger. I think if Sims can stick to his boxing here he can win this though it will be a lot closer than people think because Sims Jr isn’t as good as his 20-0 record suggests and still needs to develop some more as a fighter before getting a title shot. Elsewhere on the under card Otha Jones III, Movladdin Biyarslanov, Alexis Espino, Austin Williams and Avril Mathie are all in prospect building fights while Amanda Serrano takes a tune up fight before she potentially fights Katie Taylor later in the year. There is also a fight between two youtubers on the card which could be entertaining because of the spectacle it brings.
On Friday the 31st Ilunga Makabu and Michal Cieslak will fight for the vacant WBC Cruiserweight title though where exactly the fight will take place in the Congo is still to be confirmed. I’ve explained my thoughts on the match up in a separate piece however to sum it up I think Makabu stops Cieslak and that the set up around the fight has been awful with the public workouts taking place in a random street with no ring.
Also on Friday Ruben Villa headlines a show in the USA vs Alexei Collado for the WBO International Featherweight title. Villa was an excellent amateur and is one of the best prospects the USA has but isn’t talked about nearly as much as other fighters like Shakur Stevenson. I think Villa should be able to beat Collado by decision and advance towards a world title bout by the end of 2020. I think Shakur Stevenson will defend his belt once then unify with Josh Warrington and win or lose move up a division which could leave the WBO featherweight belt vacant which I would expect Villa to fight for. For Collado to win this fight he has to catch Villa with something heavy which I don’t think he’ll be able to do as long as Villa stays switched on.
Also on the card Taras Shelestyuk fights Luis Alberto Veron over 10 rounds in what will hopefully be an active year for the 34 year old former amateur stand out. After competing in the 2012 Olympics you would have expected him to be picked up by a big promotional company and fast tracked towards a world title but its been the opposite for him so far. He’s been very inactive in recent years and unless he fights three or four times this year I can’t see him getting close to winning a title due to his advancing age and that Welterweight is one of the deepest divisions in boxing currently.
On Saturday Pedro Taduran defends his IBF world minimum weight title for the first time against Daniel Valladares. I watched Taduran win the title and he looked impressive there however he has had to travel to Mexico for his first defense so unless he gets a knockout its likely that Valladares will win the decision. I think Taduran can win by KO here however this title has switched hands so many times recently I wouldn’t be surprised if it did again.
The last card of the weekend features Yordenis Ugas in a tune up fight vs Mike Dallas Jr before hopefully getting another big fight vs one of the other top welterweights. Dallas has lost almost every time he’s stepped up a level and I can’t see it being too different here as Ugas is one of the best welterweights on the planet right now and Dallas just isn’t on that level. On the under card Michel Rivera a prospect from the Dominican Republic takes on his hardest test to date vs Fidel Maldonado Jr over 10 rounds. Obviously Rivera hasn’t been tested as much as Maldonado but I do think he should come out with the win here as Maldonado hasn’t fought anybody competitive since 2017 and in that fight he was knocked out.
As always I hope you enjoy the fights this week and that all the fighters get through their fights safely with no injuries. I’ll be back previewing next weeks boxing next Thursday which will be the day my preview comes out each week from now on.