By: Sean Crose
“I take every fight very seriously,” says 25-0 middleweight contender Demetrius Andrade. “I have since day one.” Andrade’s fight this weekend, against the undefeated knockout artist Walter Kautondokwa at the TD Center in Boston for the WBO middleweight title, caps off a journey filled with down periods and frustration. Since having teamed up with promoter Eddie Hearn, however, Andrade is happy with how things are working out. “My situation,” he says, “is great right now…had I not made the move with Eddie, I would have been fighting in England, having tune-ups or waiting around still.”
Photo Credit: DAZN Twitter Account
After fighting only three times in a three year period, Andrade won two fights in 2018 against notable opponents Jack Culcay and Alantez Fox, and is now preparing for his shot at the head of what he says might become boxing’s latest “glamour division,” the middleweight realm. “I think Middleweight can be the new glamour division in boxing,” he says. “We have big names at 160lbs and if you look at 154lbs, those guys are going to grow and they’ll have to come up – look at Jarrett Hurd, he’s a big dude. The division is hot and it’s going to get hotter.”
With names like Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin sitting atop the middleweight heap, Andrade, who has always been highly regarded, will be breathing rarefied air should be get a belt of his own this weekend. “If everyone involved with the elite does their jobs,” the outspoken Rhode Islander claims, “we can make these big fights. The window is starting to close on those fights though, people get old, people move on, and people look to run around and fight lesser guys like the Charlos do.”
“I want to fight the best,” he adds, “only and often.” Andrade was supposed to face the highly regarded Billy Joe Saunders on Saturday. Unfortunately, Saunders was popped for having a banned substance in his system and was subsequently out of the picture. In stepped Kautondokwa, a largely unknown fighter with a terrific record of 16 knockouts in 17 fights. “When you are fighting lower level opponents,” says Andrade, “you can afford to get in there four or five times a year, but at the level I want to operate at, you can’t do that.” Here is a man who clearly wants to place himself at the top of the mountain.
“I’m going to take it one step at a time, do my job against Walter, come home with the belt and we will look to get out early in 2019,” says Andrade. “I know Eddie and DAZN want to keep me active and that’s great, and if it’s going to be the rest of the elite guys, then let’s go.” DAZN, the online streaming service, will be airing the fight live this weekend. In fact, it will be airing the entire card starting at 4:30 PM eastern standard time on Saturday.