Alen Babic faces a potential road trip for his first major title fight.
KnockOut (KO) Promotions secured the rights to the vacant WBC Bridgerweight title fight between Croatia’s Babic and Poland’s Lukasz Rozanski, posting $425,000 during a purse bid hearing held Tuesday afternoon in Mexico City. The Warsaw, Poland-headquartered company—who promotes Rozanski—outbid Matchroom Boxing ($325,000), Babic’s career-long promoter, during the session which took place during the WBC’s weekly ‘Martes de Cafe’ meeting.
A firm date was not available as this goes to publication, though KO Promotions was adamant about providing Rozanski with a hometown title fight. Babic and Rozanski are entitled to $191,250 each from an even 50/50 split as the two highest ranked contenders. The remaining $42,500 will go the winner as a ten-percent win bonus held in escrow by the WBC.
“Our group KO Promotions won [the purse bid] for the rights to promote the Babic-Rozanski fight for the WBC championship,” Andrew Wasilewski, Rozanski’s promoter, said immediately after winning the purse bid. “See you in Rzeszow for the WBC World Championship belt!”
The need for the fight arose when inaugural WBC bridgerweight champ Oscar Rivas—a 2008 Olympian for Colombia who lives out of Montreal—relinquished the title upon announcing his retirement due to a detached retina. The injury forced Rivas (28-1, 19KOs) out of a planned January 14 heavyweight clash versus Efe Ajagba, ahead of a previously scheduled title defense versus Rozanski, which was already postponed once before.
Rozanski (14-0, 13KOs) re-entered the mix as the next highest ranked contender below Babic. The unbeaten Polish contender—who turned 37 just eight days ago—has fought exclusively in his home country through seven years as a pro, including a first-round knockout of countryman and former title challenger Artur Szpilka in May 2021 in his Rzeszow hometown.
It was the last time that Rozanski has fought, though not entirely of his own doing. The unbeaten contender was due to challenge Rivas last August in Colombia. The entire event was canceled and remains the subject of an ongoing legal matter between Rivas’s team and the local promotional group who fell miserably short of promises made.
Babic (11-0, 10KOs) has emerged as a cult favorite on the U.K. boxing circuit since turning pro in 2019.
The all-action boxer has hovered around the traditional cruiserweight limit but has made a point to campaign at bridgerweight. His last fight came with the division’s WBC Silver bridgerweight title at stake, which he earned in a ten-round, unanimous decision victory over Adam Balski last May 21 at The O2 in London. Babic suffered an opening round knockdown and went the distance, both marking first-time occurrences for the 32-year-old from Zagreb, Croatia, who is now a win away from his first major title.
It will require his having to prevail in hostile territory. Babic has fought all but twice in the U.K., the lone exceptions coming in his first and third pro fights which took place on Matchroom-promoted shows in Italy.
Rivas won the division’s lone major title fight following a twelve-round decision victory over Ryan Rozicki in their October 2021 scorcher. He was due to defend his title versus Rozanski last August in his native Colombia, only for the show to get canceled. The development coupled with his injury leaves the win over Rozicki as the final fight of Rivas’ career.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox
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