Strong Supporting Cast

While Adonis Stevenson, the lineal light-heavyweight champion, is a must-watch prizefighter for any and all serious boxing fans, tonight’s match-up against Dmitry Sukhotsky isn’t exactly premium quality. No one is expecting Sukhotsky to give “Superman” a difficult night, though in fairness no one expected Andrzej Fonfara to last the distance and knock the champion down, so who knows? As they like to say, boxing is the theater of the unexpected, but even so, the Russian challenger figures to be a mere stepping stone for Adonis as he moves on to bigger things in 2015.

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But if Sukhotsky does prove to be no match for Stevenson, there remain good reasons to watch tonight as this is one of the more intriguing undercards of the year.

First off, we have the continuing comeback of former super-middleweight title challenger Andre Dirrell. Many will recall his winning by DQ over Arthur Abraham back in 2010 which led to a lengthy hiatus from the sport for Dirrell. Dangerous Derek Edwards, who scored one of the most shocking knockouts of the year over Badou Jack last February, represents a serious challenge to Dirrell’s future plans.

Then we have Artur Beterbiev, the impressive light-heavyweight prospect from Russia, now based in Montreal, who looks to follow-up his blistering beatdown of Tavoris Cloud last September which got everyone’s attention. In just his sixth pro fight, the heavy hitting Beterbiev completely overwhelmed former champion Cloud, knocking him down four times before the bout was stopped in the second round.

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Beterbiev demolishes Cloud.

It won’t be easy to follow-up such a dominating performance, but to the credit of his handlers, Beterbiev is in against a live opponent in Jeff Page Jr. who is undefeated in 15 bouts and not coming in to lie down.

And finally, the match that should be getting a lot more buzz than it has, is the rematch between welterweight contenders Ionut “Jo Jo” Dan Ion and Kevin Bizier. In a year that was full to bursting with great action fights, last year’s first tilt, on the undercard of Adonis Stevenson’s stoppage of Tony Bellew, got unfairly overlooked.

Dan and Bizier at the weigh-in: fans are hoping for a repeat.
Dan and Bizier at the weigh-in: fans are hoping for a repeat.

It was a terrific crossroads clash, with both fighters setting a wicked pace, the action-packed battle bringing the crowd to its feet multiple times with the final stanza a serious candidate for round of the year. The difference was Dan’s determination as he answered every punch from Bizier with ferocious combinations and refused to give ground. If tonight these two can put on a battle half as exciting, it just might end up being the fight of the night. And if Bizier wins, we’re definitely hoping for a trilogy.

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