There were several fight announcements this week, including the rescheduling of Klitschko-Fury, as the boxing action heats up in the last quarter of the year. We’ll dive into a couple topics, in this week’s Around the Ring.
Wladimir Klitschko-Tyson Fury Rescheduled
The highly anticipated heavyweight showdown between division kingpin Wladimir Klitschko and the undefeated, brash Tyson Fury has officially been rescheduled for Nov. 28 at Espirit Arena in Dusseldorf, Germany.
Originally slated for Sept. 25, the fight was postponed after Klitschko suffered a tear in his left calf.
“My injury will heal quickly enough for me to enter the ring on Nov. 28,” Klitschko said in a statement to ESPN. “I will promptly continue my training camp preparations and, of course, I am very happy to still be fighting this year, especially for my fans who have already bought their tickets.”
Klitschko (64-3, 54 KOs), is coming off a decision victory against then-undefeated Bryant Jennings on April 25 at Madison Square Garden in New York. It was Klitschko’s 27th world title fight appearance, tying him for the division record with Joe Louis.
England’s Fury (24-0, 18 KOs), scored a 10th-round knockout of Dereck Chisora — his second win against him — in their November title elimination bout to earn the shot at Klitschko.
Felix Verdejo Returns
Undefeated lightweight Felix Verdejo will be back in action Oct. 31 in a scheduled 10-round fight against Josenilson Dos Santos at the Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee, Florida.
The rising Puerto Rican prospect, and 2014 ESPN.com prospect of the year had been sidelined after hand surgery in June.
“Thanks to God my hand is feeling better each day that passes,” Verdejo told ESPN.com. “I know that on Oct. 31 it will be better than ever. I want to get back in the ring so I can keep bringing happiness to my people.”
Verdejo (18-0, 13 KOs), is coming off a 10-round decision win against then-undefeated Ivan Najera in his HBO debut on June 13.
Dos Santos (25-3, 15 KOs), will be coming off one year of inactivity. In his last fight, Oct. 4, 2014, he got knocked out in the sixth round by former lightweight world titleholder Paulus Moses fighting in Moses’ native Namibia.
James DeGale to Make First Title Defense
James DeGale will make his first defense of the IBF super middleweight title against former titleholder Lucian Bute on Nov. 28 at the Videotron Center in Quebec City.
DeGale (21-1, 14 KOs), 29, won the title in May when he defeated Andre Dirrell by unanimous decision. He scored a pair of second-round knockdowns to secure the win and the vacant 168-pound title.
He was the first Olympic gold medalist to represent Great Britain to also win a professional world title. The win was DeGale’s 11th in a row since a majority decision loss to George Groves in 2011.
“I’m under no illusions about this fight, but I’m also a massive believer in my own ability, and I aim to show just who is the best super middleweight in the world on Nov. 28,” said DeGale to ESPN.
He will face a fighter in Bute (32-2, 25 KOs), who also held the same title for a five-year stretch. Bute made nine successful defenses before being knocked out by Carl Froch in 2012.
He has boxed only three times since, including a decision loss to Montreal rival and former light heavyweight champion Jean Pascal in January 2014.
Bute is coming off a fourth-round knockout of unheralded Italian Andrea Di Luisa on Aug. 15.
“‘I am really happy to have this opportunity at this point of my career,” Bute said to ESPN. “I lost my title in England against an English fighter and now I will box in Quebec against another English boxer, for the same title I defended for five years. I am really motivated by this opportunity to regain the title I lost in 2012.”
DeGale should expect a wild atmosphere fighting in what will be a pro-Bute arena, but relishes the opportunity to take on the former champion.
“I consider it a massive privilege to be a world champion, fighting for Great Britain,” DeGale said. “I went on the road to win my title and my first defense is on away soil as well, but I’m very comfortable with fighting abroad. It is another challenge for me to overcome and in the future I can’t wait to defend my title in the United Kingdom.”