By: William Holmes
Boxing returns to network television on Saturday afternoon as Adonis “Superman” Stevenson defends his WBC Light Heavyweight title against the always dangerous Sakio Bika in Quebec City, Canada.
Stevenson is considered by many to be one of the top two light heavyweights along with his rival Sergey Kovalev and most boxing fans are hoping that fight can be made if Stevenson can defeat Bika. However, another light heavyweight contender in Artur Beterbiev will look to throw his name into the light heavyweight mix as he takes on Gabriel Campillo in an IBF Light Heavyweight eliminator.
The following is a preview of both televised bouts:
Artur Beterbiev (7-0) vs. Gabriel Campillo (25-6-1); IBF Light Heavyweight Eliminator
Artur Beterbiev is a young undefeated prospect with a very high ceiling and a very successful amateur career. He represented Russia in the 2008 Olmypics, and won the gold medal in the 2009 World Amateur Championships as a light heavyweight.
All seven of Beterbiev’s opponents have lost to him by stoppage and nobody that he has ever faced has managed to make it past the fourth round.
Campillo is best known for two fights in which he officially lost but most observers felt he won. He was on the wrong end of a controversial decision at least twice, to former light heavyweight champion Tavoris Cloud and to Beibut Shumenov.
Beterbiev is six years younger than Campillo at thirty years old, but he will be giving up about three inches in height and about three inches in reach. Beterbiev has a knockout ration of 100% at this point in his young career, while Campillo has only stopped twelve of his opponents out of twenty-five bouts.
Despite the fact he has only fought as a professional for less than two years, Beterbiev has been tested inside the ring both as an amateur and as a professional. In addition to his amateur accomplishments, he has already stopped former champion Cloud in the second round and also stopped the then undefeated Jeff Page Jr. in the second round.
Campillo lost some questionable decisions, but he has also lost to some notable competition. His losses have come against Andrzej Fonfara, Sergey Kovalev, Tavoris Cloud, Karo Murat, Beibut Shumenov. His most notable wins have come against Thomas Williams Jr. and Beibut Shumenov.
Beterbiev has a very high level ceiling and is currently in negotiations to be represented by Al Haymon. Beterbiev is a talent and this writer expects him to win convincingly and impressively on Saturday night, putting himself in a position for a legitimate world title shot before his tenth professional fight.
Adonis Stevenson (25-1) vs. Sakio Bika (32-6-3); WBC Light Heavyweight Title
If you just look at their ages you would be surprised that Stevenson and Bika are fighting as the main event on network television. Stevenson is thirty-seven and Bika is thirty-five going on thirty-six. Both, at a glance, would appear to be clearly past their prime.
However, both boxers have not shown much of a decline in recent fights and are considered by most to be amongst the best in the light heavyweight division.
Stevenson started boxing late in comparison to most other professional boxers, and won the Canadian national amateur title twice. Bika was a member of the 2000 Cameroonian Olympic Team, but did not medal in the Olympics.
Stevenson and Bika are close in age and in height, but Stevenson has an imposing six inch reach advantage over Bika. Additionally, Bika started off his career as a junior middleweight and is naturally the smaller man.
Stevenson’s southpaw style gives most of his opponents problems and he has shown that he has incredible knockout power. Stevenson has stopped twenty one of his opponents, including four of his past five wins. Bika has also stopped twenty one of his opponents, but he has had more fights and only has one stoppage victory in his past five fights.
Stevenson’s lone loss came against the always tricky Darnell Boone in 2010, a loss he later avenged with a sixth round knockout. He has also defeated the likes of Aaron Pryor Jr., Chad Dawson, Tavoris Cloud, Tony Bellew, Andrzej Fonfara, and Dmitry Sukhotsky.
Bika’s most famous accomplishment was winning The Contender in 2007. He has also defeated the likes of Marco Periban, Nikola Sjekloca, Dyah Davis, Peter Manfredo Jr., and Sam Soliman. Bika does have six losses and they have come against top notch competition such as Lucian Bute, Andre Ward, Jean-Paul Mendy, and Anthony Dirrell.
Bika will make this a tough and rough fight for Stevenson, but he usually struggles against slick and talented boxers. Bika has a sturdy chin and has never been stopped in his career, so it’s likely he’ll go the distance on Saturday, but unlikely he’ll be able to beat the current WBC Light Heavyweight Champion.
Stevenson should win on Saturday against the smaller opponent and will hopefully give fans the fight they’ve been clamoring for, a light heavyweight unification bout against Sergey Kovalev.