The Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City will be the site for WBO Middleweight champion Demetrius Andrade’s (26-0, 16 KOs) first title defense.
He’ll be taking on the unheralded Artur Akavov (19-2, 8 KOs) this Friday night.
This isn’t exactly the matchup fans were expecting to get from Andrade, but as is often the case in his career he has failed once again to attract a big name to step into the ring with him.
Akavov however will be looking to take full advantage of the opportunity afforded to him. In his lone attempt at a world title he came up short against former titleholder Billy Joe Saunders.
Since that defeat he has gone on to win three fights in a row to place himself in a position to once again challenge for a world title. He faces an incredibly difficult task as Andrade has proven to be a fighter of enormous talent.
You will seldom find a boxer in any weight class with the skill that Andrade possesses. He also has more than respectable power. That power was on full display in his last fight against Walter Kautondokwa.
Andrade knocked him down four times en route to an easy unanimous decision victory. Andrade couldn’t quite get his man out of there but the power he showed throughout the fight was staggering.
Akavov, to his credit, has proved to be durable as he has never been stopped in his career. He often times looks to turn his fights into a rough affair for his opponent. Both men understand what is at stake.
A win for Akavov will obviously become the best night of his professional career. Even a good showing in a losing effort will allow him to open several eyes in the division. For Andrade, a win won’t raise his profile at all but a loss will be devastating.
In order for Andrade to get the fights that he wants–including the winner of the recently announced May 4 clash between Canelo Alvarez and Daniel Jacobs–then he will have to dispatch of Akavov in impressive fashion.