Enjoy live boxing on FITE TV
29th January 2020
By: LIKE 2 FITE
Tomorrow night, Sky Sport’s first scheduled event of the year has 3 world title fights and takes stage in Miami on Superbowl weekend. The youtubers also make a return to the big screens as Jake Paul takes on Ali Eson Gib. Another marketing masterstroke by Matchroom and DAZN to broaden their fan base across the USA.
Unlike the Logan Paul KSI fight in LA, there is no way this fight would be even considered as a main event due to the calibre of matchmaking we have been gifted with on this card. Credit again goes to Eddie Hearn and Frank Smith for putting this together. If this card is anything to go by, 2020 could potentially be the best year for boxing we have ever seen.
WBO middleweight champion Demetrius Andrade (28-0) defends his belt against Irishman Luke Keeler (17-2-1). The American comes into the bout after retaining his title with a UD win over Maciej Sulecki. Keeler has been unbeaten since early 2016 and this is his first world title fight. In August, he moved up to 3rd in the WBO rankings after beating Luis Arias in front of an electric crowd at Falls Park, Belfast. He was still working full time when he won the Irish title in 2017 against Darren Cruise but had reached a crossroads. His dedication and persistence paid off as he took on professional boxing full time and the difference as he describes is ‘Night and Day’.
Andrade’s career has been stop-start due to contractual issues after winning the WBO light-middleweight belt in 2013. He went up to middleweight in 2017 and became a two-weight world champion beating Namibian Walter Kautondokwa. After signing a multi-fight deal with Matchroom USA & DAZN, he now looks to kick on in 2020. He will need to be on his game this coming Thursday as a defeat against the determined Keeler, will spoil his aspiring match ups against the marquee names in the 160lb division.
Going into the fight, Andrade is a huge favourite with the bookmakers, but Keeler will look to grab this opportunity with both hands. He has a very awkward style which has made it hard for his opponents to settle into a rhythm. Although having a low knockout percentage, he dropped Luis Arias heavily, which only Daniel Jacobs had done before him. Keeler’s trainer Peter Taylor (Father of Katie Taylor) has spoken in the build-up about tactical pressure for 3 minutes in each round. This gives us the idea that they are looking to out work the champion.
Andrade had a decorated amateur career as an Olympian and also won the 2007 world championships at welterweight, so will be confidence of his ability going into the fight. The pre-fight verbal’s have already begun, Keeler described Andrade as delusional and thinks he’s looking past him. The comments clearly got under Andrade’s skin as the two faced off on Sunday afternoon. He will look to make a real statement and promised a knockout in front of the media. It is all shaping up nicely and will be interesting to see how it unfolds.
Also on the card, IBF super-featherweight champion Tevin Farmer (30-4-1) takes on former WBA featherweight champion Joseph Diaz (31-1). Farmer defends his title for the 4th time, most recently beating Jono Carroll & Guillaume Frenois both by UD and he’s unbeaten since losing to the slick Jose Pedraza in 2012. Joseph Diaz made the jump up to super-featherweight after losing for the first time in 2018 against world class champion Gary Russell Jnr. Since then he has won all four fights at 130lbs. Three of those wins were in 2019 against Charles Huerta (UD), Freddy Fonseca (TKO) and Jesus Cuadro (MD).
This fight has all the makings of a classic, Farmer is a skilful fighter who can mix it up on the inside. Diaz has a come forward toe-to-toe style, mixed with great timing and smart head movement. Diaz will be willing to put it all on the line as he looks to become a two-weight world champion. Farmer on the other hand will not want to lose the belt he has worked so hard to retain since signing with Matchroom USA. Potential unification match ups against Leo Santa Cruz, Jamel Herring and Miguel Berchelt are within his sights if he can get the victory against Diaz this Thursday night.
To top the card off we have WBA and IBF super-bantamweight king Daniel Roman (27-2-1) taking on Olympic bronze medallist, Murodjon Akhmadaliev (7-0). Roman only fought once last year taking the IBF crown from the tough Irishman TJ Doheny. After retaining his WBA belt four times, he has established himself as one of the best in the lower weights. If he can get past Uzbekistan’s Akhmadaliev, a fight against WBC champion Rey Vargas (34-0) looks likely.
Akhmadaliev entered the pro ranks in 2018 and has been fast tracked due to his highly decorated amateur pedigree. He fought like a pro even in the amateurs and even though he’s only had seven fights, it will be by no means an easy night for Roman. The Uzbekistan fighter throws hard, stiff flurries, knocking out six of his seven opponents. He’s been tipped for the very top by many people in the game regardless whether he wins or not in Miami.
Similarly to Akhmadaliev, Roman throws punches in bunches and has excellent timing. He likes to throw hard shots and moves perfectly out of range with slight footwork and head movement. This matchup is tailor made for a crowd pleaser and it is unlikely that the fans will be disappointed. Roman will have more pressure on his shoulders as he goes into the fight as the underdog, but no doubt this will bring the best out of him.
Akhamadliev has the ability to turn off the lights with one shot, so there will be no room for mistakes. It is another division that is bringing the smaller weight fighters back into the spotlight where they belong.