By Chris Cella
Over the past few weeks ESPN’s Friday Night Fights has delivered some action packed and entertaining bouts, featuring both contenders and up-and-coming prospects in a variety of weight classes. Tonight’s showdown between former Jr. Lightweight and Featherweight title challenger Juan Carlos “Mini” Burgos (30-1-1-, 20 KO) and Jr. Lightweight Yakubu “The Black Mamba” Amidu (18-4-1, 16 KO) promises to be no different.
Burgos has consistently been climbing the rankings of the super featherweight division, and in doing so landed himself a shot at the WBO belt against title holder Roman Martinez in his last trip to the ring in January of this year, where he fought hard but emerged beltless with a draw. It was a controversial decision in which many sports analysts and critics more than agreed that Burgos did enough to dethrone the champion, but it didn’t pan out on the judges’ scorecards.
In tonight’s bout, Burgos was originally scheduled to face Daulis Prescott, but the fighter had to withdraw from the bout due to an alleged injury sustained during training camp. So now he has his focus on Amidu.
Burgos hasn’t lost in his last six fights and brings a healthy combination of power, speed and experience into this fight against the heavy-handed Amidu. The draw against Martinez has kept Burgos’ name in the mix of contenders, and a win tonight will surely bode well for another chance at claiming the world title hardware.
The late-stand in Amidu will be looking to get back to his winning ways; the fighter hailing from Ghana has lost two straight decisions over the past two years, and in doing so has fallen deep into the rankings of the division. Only a handful of his wins have come against “quality” opponents with winning records, and he will be in for a tough showdown tonight as Burgos will be all business and anxious to get back to a contention fight.
“I’ve been working with Yakubu since he came to the United States,” said Amidu’s co-manager and trainer Baba Sumaila. “I managed his brother, Abdullai. So when Yakubu came here, I started working with him. Yakubu is always training. When we have a fight, he increases the tempo to make him more ready for the fight. We know our opponent is very good, but we’re ready for that. We are ready.”
Amidu has shown his ability to stop an opponent with his power, but is yet to face the magnitude of a fighter like Burgos. But in boxing all you need is one shot to change the pace of the fight, and Amidu will be looking to pull off a big-time upset.
To get the action started, lightweights Miguel “Silky Smooth” Gonzalez (21-3, 15 KO) will face Josenilson “Jo” Dos Santos (23-1, 14 KO) in a 10-round contest.
Action gets underway live on ESPN2 at 9 p.m.