Junior Lightweights Rances Barthelemy and Fahsai Sakkreerin Battle In IBF Eliminator on FNF


By Chris Cella

Tomorrow night live from the Minneapolis Convention Center in Minnesota, undefeated junior lightweight Rances “Kid Blast” Barthelemy will put his unblemished record on the line against Fahsai Sakkreerin on this week’s edition of ESPN’s Friday Night Fights.

The 12-round bout will be an IBF Eliminator for the number one ranking, leaving one of the boxer’s one step away from competing for a world title while it will be back to the drawing board for the other.

Barthelemy (18-0, 11 KO) is coming off the biggest win of his career as he won against the then undefeated Arash Usmanee in a 12-round contest this past January, where he was awarded the unanimous decision. Since 2011 the 26-year-old Cuban fighter has been stepping up against tougher competition as opposed to journeymen and opponents, and has continued to find success between the ropes. A tall junior lightweight (5’11”) with power in both hands, Barthelemy has stopped his opponents in 11 of his 18 wins, but has gone the distance in the last four outings. Since turning pro in 2009 he has had world title contention aspirations, and if he is able to get past the veteran Sakkreerin tomorrow night he will have his opportunity to fight for the hardware.

“He’s (Barthelemy) a good boxer and a good puncher,” Trainer Jon David Jackson said. “I’ve seen video of his opponent (Sakkreerin). Let’s see what he can do when Rances is putting pressure on him. Then we’ll see what he’s made of. The wraps are off – I think Rances is going to surprise a lot of people in this fight. Rances should be champion.”

At 31-years-old Sakkreerin has laced up the gloves as a pro 43 times, putting together an impressive record of 39-3-1, 21 KO. Through his career, which often involved fighting more than half a dozen times each year, Sakkreerin has never fought on U.S. soil, so tomorrow night in Minnesota will not only be his debut, but also his first fight against a viable opponent.

“I am proud to be a Karen boxer,” Sakkreerin said. “Karen is a hill-tribe peoples from north of Thailand. I want people to see a Karen boxer become the first world champion.”

With everything on the line for these two junior lightweights who are looking to not only make a name for themselves on the big stage of boxing but also line themselves up for a world title shot, boxing fans should get an action packed 12-rounds of fighting.

Leading up to the main event of the night will feature middleweights Don “Da Bomb” George (24-3-2, 21 KO) facing Caleb “Golden” Truax (21-1-1, 12 KO) in a 10-round bout.

Truax is coming in on a three-fight win streak since suffering the only loss of his career to Jermain Taylor last year, while George is looking to get back to his winning ways following a split decision draw this past March.

The action gets underway tomorrow night on ESPN2 at 10 p.m.

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