Thursday, February 02, 2023  |


Andre Dirrell to possibly face Derek Edwards on Adonis Stevenson card




Super middleweight title challenger Andre Dirrell could face Derek Edwards on Dec. 19 in support of the light heavyweight main event between RING champion Adonis Stevenson and Russian Dmitry Sukhotsky.

Dirrell-Edwards is being targeted for a quadruple-header to be televised on Showtime from the Pepsi Coliseum in Quebec City, Canada. The event will include Russian 175-pound prospect Artur Beterbiev against Jeff Page Jr. as well as a welterweight rematch between Kevin Bizier and Jo Jo Dan.

Dirrell-Edwards would serve as an eliminator for the No. 2 spot in the IBF’s rankings behind England’s No. 1-rated James DeGale, a 2008 Olympic gold medalist who is THE RING No. 5-rated super middleweight. The IBF beltholder is Carl Froch of England.

Dirrell-Edwards has been tentatively approved pending the arrival of contracts, according to IBF Championships Chairman Lindsey Tucker. The request for the bout came from matchmaker Tom Brown of Goossen Promotions.

“Edwards has already been filed with the IBF and Dirrell’s still is coming. So we’ve got the one contract in and then we’ll get the other one in tomorrow and then we’ll get the final approval,” said Brown.

“I think that this is a great opportunity because there’s a very good chance that Froch could end up vacating the title and the winner could wind up fighting for the vacant title against DeGale, who is sitting at No. 1 right now. The winner will be in a real good position.”

Dirrell, 31, is returning to Showtime for the first time since appearing in the “Super Six World Boxing Classic” super middleweight tournament in 2010. He suffered his sole loss in his opening tournament bout to then-WBC titleholder Froch by split decision in 2009.

A switch-hitting 2004 Olympic bronze medalist, Dirrell (23-1, 16 KOs) is coming off last month’s fourth-round stoppage of Nick Brinson, representing his fifth straight win and his third stoppage during that run.

Dirrell is the older brother of WBC 168-pound titlist Anthony Dirrell, 30, who dethroned Sakio Bika by unanimous decision in August for the his belt.

Nicknamed “The Black Lion,” Edwards (27-3-1, 14 KOs) is 2-3-1 with one knockout in his past six fights. Edwards, 34, is coming off a 61-second knockout over previously unbeaten Badou Jack in February to rebound from a ninth-round stoppage loss to Matt Korobov last December.

Edwards has also lost consecutive fights to Marcus Johnson by unanimous decision in April 2010 and third-round knockout to Adonis Stevenson in his following fight in April 2011.

Stevenson (24-1, 20 KOs), who also holds the WBC title, was last in action for a unanimous decision over Andrzej Fonfara in May and is 14-1 with 13 knockouts in his past 15 fights.

A southpaw, Stevenson, 37, said that he hurt his left hand in the second round against Fonfara.

Sukhotsky (22-2, 16 KOs) has won four straight bouts since losing a unanimous decision to Cornelius White in July 2012. Prior to that fight, Sukhotsky, 33, stopped current No. 9-rated light heavyweight Nadjib Mohammedi, the mandatory challenger to IBF/WBA/WBO titleholder and RING No. 1-rated 175-pounder Sergey Kovalev.

A Montreal resident, Beterbiev is fighting Page of Andover, Kansas.

In his last fight, Beterbiev, 29, scored a second-round knockout of former IBF titleholder Tavoris Cloud and still has not gone beyond four rounds. Coming into this fight, Page, 24, has scored four straight knockouts but has never fought outside of the Midwest.

Bizier is after vengeance against Jo Jo Dan, who defeated him by split decision last November.

The Dan-Bizier fight is an eliminator for the right to face IBF welterweight titleholder Kell Brook, who won the belt in an upset majority-decision win over Shawn Porter in August.



Cruiserweight Ola Afolabi is 0-2-1 in title fights, having faced WBO beltholder Marco Huck on all three occasions.

Nicknamed “Kryptonite,” Afolabi (21-3-4, 10 KOs) left Southern California last week for Kiev, Ukraine to begin final preparations in advance of yet a shot at RING champion Yoan Pablo Hernandez (29-1, 14 KOs) on Dec. 6 at the EWE-Arena in Oldenburg, Germany, according to a release from Sauerland Event.

There, Afolabi will work with Oleksandr Usyk, a 2012 Olympic gold medalist and highly-regarded cruiserweight.

“I had been training for the last few weeks in Los Angeles but for the best sparring, I came to Kiev, Ukraine to work with Oleksandr Usyk,” said Afolabi, 34, a London-born fighter.

“I’ve watched Usyk fight before and he is clearly very strong and talented. He is a tall southpaw who will help me prepare for Hernandez. If I can do well with him, I will beat Hernandez.”

Afolabi has lost twice and battled to a draw against Huck, THE RING’s No. 1-rated cruiserweight who has made a division record-tying 13 title defenses.

“I’m done with Huck. Three fights is plenty and it’s time for a change,” said Afolabi. “I’ve been studying Hernandez for the last few months and know what will work against him.”

Hernandez, 30, who also holds the IBF title, is coming off a split decision in over Firat Arslan in August. The victory over Arslan was the 15th straight during a run that has included six knockouts for Hernandez, whose only loss happened in March 2008 when he was stopped in the third round by Wayne Braithwaite.

Hernandez’s winning streak includes consecutive decisions over former RING 200-pound champion Steve Cunningham by sixth-round technical decision in October 2011 and by unanimous decision in February 2012.

Afolabi was last in action in July for a third-round knockout of Anthony Caputo Smith that represented his second consecutive win since dropping a majority decision to Huck in June 2013.

Hernandez’s coach, Ulli Wegner was in Huck’s corner for each of his battles with with Afolabi.

“This is a great opportunity for Ola. He had the three very close bouts with Huck but has now fought his way back into another world title fight,” said Tom Loeffler of K2 Promotions.

“His perseverance throughout his career has served Ola well and I am confident sparring with Usyk is the right move and will have him well prepared to beat Hernandez.”

Afolabi will be fighting for the eighth time in Germany and is undeterred about hometown scoring for Hernandez.

“I just focus on winning the fight,” said Afolabi, “as many rounds as possible to leave no doubt.”

In the co-feature, THE RING’s No. 4-rated light heavyweight Juergen Braehmer will face Pawel Glazewski.

Braehmer will pursue his 14th straight win against Glazewski and is coming off a unanimous decision over Roberto Bolonti in June that ended Bolonti’s streak of five consecutive knockout victories.

Glazewski, 32, won for the third straight time with a unanimous decision over Rowland Bryant in August, last suffering defeat by seventh-round stoppage against Hadillah Mohoumadi in June 2013.



Matthew Macklin (31-5, 20 KOs) will face Jorge Sebastian Heiland (24-4-2, 12 KOs) on Saturday at the 3Arena in Dublin, Ireland, in a WBC eliminator bout for the right to face RING middleweight champion Miguel Cotto, who won the belts with a 10th-round stoppage of Sergio Martinez in June.

“It’s the fight I need at this stage and if I cannot beat him, then that’s it, really,” said Macklin, 32, who is coming off a majority decision over Jose Yebes in September that had followed last December’s unanimous decision over Lamar Russ.

“I know I will beat him and it will set me up for a big 2015 where a world title shot will definitely come about. He knows that beating me is a massive scalp and it throws him into the limelight and he’ll probably get a world title shot.”


Note: Quotes from Afolabi, Loeffler and Macklin from a release.