Thursday, March 23, 2023  |


Weekend Preview: Andrade returns



Rounds / weight class: 10 rounds / light heavyweights
Location: Quebec City, Canada
Television: ESPN2
The backdrop: Andrade (28-3, 21 knockouts) will return to Canada for the fourth consecutive time to get his career back on track after suffering a fourth-round body-shot KO against undefeated beltholder Lucian Bute in November. Lucas (39-7-3, 15 KOs), a 38-year-old former titleholder who recently ended a three-year retirement, will attempt to turn back the clock against the younger contender.
Also fighting: Renan St-Juste vs. Marcus Upshaw, 10 rounds, middleweights
Rating the card: B. The live atmosphere for the Friday Night Fights main event will be electric — Lucas is a sentimental favorite of the Quebec area and Andrade has earned some Canadian fans of his own having fought in the country four times — and the fight itself should be decent. Both super middleweights are aggressive boxers known for their solid chins. However, Lucas, who turned pro 19 years ago, has seen better days and may take a beating down the stretch of the fight. St-Juste (21-1-1, 14 KOs) is a Quebec fringe contender who should be in a decent fight with Upshaw (12-4-1, 6 KOs), a less-experienced spoiler from Florida.


Rounds / weight class: 12 rounds / heavyweights
Location: Gelsenkirchen, Germany
Television: Integrated Sports PPV
The backdrop: Klitschko (39-2, 37 KOs) is making the easiest (on paper) title defense of his comeback with built-up Polish fringe contender Sosnowski (45-2-1, 27 KOs).
Also fighting: Johnathon Banks vs. Jason Gavern, 12 rounds, heavyweights
Rating the card: C-. Unless Klitschko, 38, gets old over night, he will issue a one-sided drubbing against Sosnowski, who has improved over the past two years but is still a few levels below the Ukrainian giant. The co-feature between Banks (24-1, 17 KOs), a former cruiserweight title challenger now five fights into a successful heavyweight run, and game journeyman Gavern (19-7-3, 8 KOs) should be a decent scrap.

Rounds / weight class: 12 rounds / welterweights
Location: Chicago
Television: Fox Sports Net
The backdrop: Soto Karass (24-4-3, 16 KOs) is looking to bounce back from the technical-decision loss he suffered against Alfonso Gomez in November against Martinez (24-1-1, 13 KOs), who has won seven in a row (against nondescript opposition) since being stopped by teen phenom Saul Alvarez in 2008.
Also fighting: Ivan Popoca vs. Jose Luis Soto Karass, 6 rounds, junior welterweights
Rating the card: B-. Soto Karass didn’t pick an easy comeback opponent and the two Mexican welterweights will like slug it out on even terms for most of their scheduled 12 rounder. Chicago-area prospect Popoca (13-0, 9 KOs) should have an easy time with Jesus’ shopworn older brother, Jose Luis (20-14-1, 18 KOs). Hot prospects Jose Benavides, Mike Lee, and Omar Henry are also on the card and might make the broadcast.

Rounds / weight class: 12 rounds / junior featherweights
Location: Bayamon, Puerto Rico
Television: Integrated Sports PPV
The backdrop: Fresh off his impressive belt-winning KO of Marvin Sonsona in February, Vazquez (18-0-1, 15 KOs), son of the former three-division titleholder, will attempt to defend his strap against Hungary’s unbeaten Bedak (15-0, 5 KOs).
Also fighting: Roman Martinez vs. Gonzalo Mungia, 12 rounds, junior lightweights
Rating the card: B. Vazquez looks like a complete fighter but he has his work cut out for him against Bedak, a capable boxer who was developed well in Germany. Martinez (23-0-1, 14 KOs), a 130-pound beltholder, is always in action bouts and his title defense against Mungia (17-6-3, 13 KOs) should be no exception. The challenger from Nicaragua can punch a little bit and has never been stopped.

Also: Saturday — Junior flyweight beltholder Carlos Tamara will defend the title he took from Brian Viloria against Luis Lazarte in Buenos Aires.

Lightweight titleholder Paulus Moses will finally defend the strap he won last July against “interim” beltholder Miguel Acosta in what should be an interesting battle in Moses’ hometown of Windhoek, Namibia.

Southern California-based featherweight prospect Juan Carlos Burgos takes on former title challenger Ricardo Castillo in a scheduled 12-round main event in Guadalajara, Mexico. The bout will be televised on Televisa in Mexico.

Former welterweight title challenger Sebastian Lujan takes on Emilio Julio in a scheduled 10-round main event in Santa Fe, Argentina. The bout will be televised on HBO Plus in countries throughout Latin America.