Details of the supporting cast to the unified heavyweight title rematch between Oleksandr Usyk and Anthony Joshua have now been confirmed, at the King Abdullah Sports City Arena in the coastal city of Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on Saturday August 20.
As reported earlier on BoxingScene.com, it was announced that Croatian heavyweight star Filip Hrgovic (14-0, 12 KOs) meets China’s undefeated Zhilei Zhang (24-0-1, 19 KOs) in a final eliminator for the IBF heavyweight world title. The rivals were originally set to clash on the undercard of Canelo Alvarez vs. Dmitry Bivol in May but will now do battle on the Red Sea.
Also on the card, Liverpool’s Callum Smith (28-1, 20 KOs) returns to the scene of his finest moment where he stopped British rival George Groves in seven rounds at the King Abdullah Sports City Arena in September 2018 to be crowned the WBA Super-Middleweight World Champion and the winner of the World Boxing Super Series Muhammad Ali Trophy.
Now campaigning at Light-Heavyweight where he is ranked as the No.1 contender with the WBC, ‘Mundo’ will face France’s reigning European Champion and No.2 ranked WBC 175lbs contender Mathieu Bauderlique (21-1, 12 KOs) in a final eliminator for the world title currently held by Artur Beterbiev.
Smith was last in action on the undercard of the first meeting between Usyk and Joshua at the home of Tottenham Hotspur in September, destroying Lenin Castillo with a brutal second round KO to return to winning ways after his points loss to Mexican superstar Canelo. Bauderlique last stepped through the ropes in September when he retired Igor Mikhalkin in seven rounds to land the vacant EBU crown.
“The last time I was in Jeddah I was crowned the best super middleweight in the world, so I have fond memories of the place," said Smith.
"The whole experience was great, and the fans really got behind me, so I’m really looking forward to returning next month. I won’t come away this time as a world champion, but this is a tough fight on a great card and one which should set up a challenge at the number 1 in the light heavyweight division.”
In a huge moment for women’s boxing, Somali-British prospect Ramla Ali (6-0, 1 KO) becomes the first female boxer to feature in an official international event in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, clashing with Crystal Garcia Nova (10-2, 10 KOs) in an eight-round super bantamweight contest. Former two-weight World Champion Badou Jack (26-3-3) fights Richard Rivera (21-0, 16 KOs) in a ten round cruiserweight contest. Andrew Tabiti (19-1, 15 KOs) and Tyrone Spong (14-0, 13 KOs) collide in an eight round heavyweight contest. There’s also action for Ukrainian light heavyweight Daniel Lapin (5-0) as he continues his education in the paid code against Slovakia's Jozef Jurko (9-6-1, 6 KOs) and super lightweight prospect Ziyad Almaayouf faces Mexico's Jose Alatorre (0-1).