Uzcategui and Dirrell to battle for IBF interim 168-pound title on May 20
Jose “Bolivita” Uzcategui will battle Andre “The Resurrected” Dirrell on May 20 at the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland (Showtime, 8 p.m. ET/ 5 p.m. PT). The nation’s capital, nearby, and the beautiful new arena, are both becoming familiar to fight fans, as of late, having recently hosted pound-for-pound-rated Vasyl Lomachenko’s WBO super featherweight title defense on April 8.
Uzcategui, 26-1 (22), and Dirrell, 25-2 (16), will collide for the IBF interim super middleweight title.
The interim title was approved for the bout after defending champion James DeGale suffered numerous injuries during his January unification bout with former WBC champion Badou Jack. The winner will then face DeGale when he is ready to return to the ring for the IBF super middleweight championship.
Venezuelan-born Mexico-based Uzcategui comes into the ring riding a four-fight win streak dating back to early-2015.
While he knows he is facing an experienced fighter in Dirrell, in a recent interview, Uzcategui expressed confidence that he has what it takes to win on his journey toward a world title shot.
“I’m very excited to be facing a fighter the quality of Andre Dirrell,” said Uzcategui. “These are the fights that I wanted and I look forward to coming out victorious. This fight will be another step on the way to my dream of becoming a world champion.”
Flint, Michigan’s Dirrell, who comes into the fight with two previous world title challenges under his belt, feels his experience against some of boxing’s best will be the difference in the fight.
Dirrell lost to then-undefeated champion Carl Froch by razor-thin, split decision in 2009 in Nottingham, England and then lost a unanimous decision to DeGale in Boston, Massachusetts in May of 2015.
And, in a recent interview, it was clear Dirrell feels he has what it takes to defeat Uzcategui, as he looks to secure a rematch with DeGale.
“This fight is a massive step towards my journey to success in 2017”, said Dirrell. “To me, this is my championship fight, leading up to my rematch with champion James DeGale. Jose has all the tools of a champion, so he is a fierce competition for me but I will show the world I am up to the task. This is my year.”