By Thomas Lyons
The emergence of a new and ambitious Venezuelan super-middleweight contender in Jose Uzcategui (27-2, 23 KOs) has brought excitement to the thriving 168-pound division, making a statement against former world title challenger on two occasions, Andre Dirrell at the StubHub Center in Brooklyn, New York. Now crowned the interim IBF champion and after a controversial first fight with the American with all the shocking scenes afterwards with Dirrell’s uncle, Uzcategui got his opportunity to amend the DQ loss and send for the other champions with such a brutal and clinical display.
The relentless pressure and come forward, South-American style proved decisive and Dirrell couldn’t get into any rhythm, in order to have success and dictate the pace and tempo of the co-main event bout. On what turned out to be an explosive night of championship boxing, intensified by the Wilder-Ortiz clash, this fight proved a worthy support feature. With Uzcategui dominating, almost turning it into an onslaught before the stoppage, Dirrell’s corner showed compassion, with trainer Virgil Hunter deciding enough was enough and pulling his man out. The question left to answer is where does a talented Dirrell (on his day) go from here after sustaining such a devastating defeat that was almost a fight that would either put him back in contention to fight for another version of the world title or force him to hang up his gloves.
With career-defining fights with Brits Carl Froch and James Degale, which both ended in defeat, Dirrell couldn’t afford another disappointing night and unfortunately he couldn’t retrieve form from earlier on his career to do a job on Uzcategui, who immediately talked about a fight with current full champion Caleb Truax who is set to defend his crown in a rematch with Degale in the states in April after his shock victory first time around. WBC holder David Benavidez is also on Uzcategui’s agenda and although admitting the two are close friends, “business is business” according to the Venezuelan.
With the World Boxing Super Series tournament set to conclude in the next few months, the winner surely will be targeting these fights whether that be George Groves or Callum Smith, bringing the WBA ‘Super’ title to the table.