Callum Johnson / Igor Makalkin
European Light Heavyweight Title Clash
May 2nd In Manchester On Whyte / Povetkin Undercard!
(March 7th) Callum Johnson will take on Igor Mikhalkin for the vacant EBU European Light-Heavyweight Title on the undercard of the blockbuster Heavyweight clash between Dillian Whyte and Alexander Povetkin at Manchester Arena on Saturday May 2, LIVE on Sky Sports Box Office.
Johnson (18-1, 13 KOs) challenged Artur Beterbiev for the IBF World Light-Heavyweight Title in the first ever live show on American soil on DAZN, and the pair put on a hell-raising shootout, with Johnson climbing off the canvas in the opening round to send Beterbiev to the deck in the second session.
After falling short in his first World Title shot, ‘The One’ took out Sean Monaghan in three rounds at the Turning Stone Resort & Casino in March 2019, but that turned out to be the Boston man's only fight of the year, and he is keen to put a disappointing injury-hit year behind him by winning the European crown.
Mikhalkin (23-2, 10 KOs) held the European Light-Heavyweight Title for two years, winning the vacant title against Mohamed Belkacem in 2014 before making three successful defences against Hakim Chioui, Hugo Kasperski and Patrick Bois – all in France.
The Russian southpaw then picked up the vacant IBO Light-Heavyweight Title against Thomas Oosthuizen at the Barclaycard Arena in Hamburg before suffering only his second career defeat against Sergey Kovalev in a challenge for the WBO crown in 2018.
"He's a good tough fighter," said Johnson. "It's a tough fight for me, he's a solid southpaw, he's been European Champion before and he lost to Kovalev when Kovalev was still top of his game. I'm expecting a very hard fight but it's a fight that I'm looking forward to and I'm confident I can win.
"2019 got off to a flying start, I got a good win out in America and I impressed a lot of people with that performance. It's a shame that I got injured because I think 2019 would have been a brilliant year for me. It didn't turn out to be my year but we go again.
"To win the British, Commonwealth and European Titles will be a fantastic achievement and I'm confident of getting the win on May 2. It's a fight that I've got to win. If I win then it potentially opens massive doors for me to get another World Title shot and earn some big money. If I lose, it's a big setback."
“I’m happy that I can showcase my skills against a tough opponent in the UK,” said Mikhalkin. “I know that Callum will come into our fight in very good shape and he has already shown he can trouble the best fighters in the world. I believe that I have what it takes to beat Callum, I’ve held the European Title before and made a number of successful defences, this is my belt and I’ll be taking it back to Russia after May 2.”
Whyte vs. Povetkin tops a huge night of action in Manchester as Katie Taylor (15-0, 6 KOs) and Amanda Serrano (38-1-1, 28 KOs) collide in a blockbuster super fight with the Irish legend's Lightweight World Titles on the line against the seven-weight World Champion.
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Taylor Meets Serrano In Manchester Super Fight
Irish Legend Collides with Seven-Weight World Champion!
(March 6th) Katie Taylor and Amanda Serrano will collide in a blockbuster super fight at Manchester Arena on May 2 as the Irish legend puts her Lightweight World Titles on the line against Puerto Rico's seven-weight World Champion, LIVE on Sky Sports Box Office.
Two-weight World Champion Taylor can strengthen her status as one of the sport’s finest fighters against Serrano on the same night as Dillian Whyte risks his World Title ambitions in a huge Heavyweight encounter with the fearsome Alexander Povetkin.
Taylor (15-0, 6 KOs) sealed a dominant points win over Christina Linardatou to claim the WBO Super-Lightweight title at the same venue in November as she stepped up a division after becoming the Undisputed Lightweight ruler against Delfine Persoon in New York.
Serrano (38-1-1, 28 KOs) enhanced her reputation for thrilling fights with an action-packed points win over Heather Hardy at Madison Square Garden in September, while she sharpened her skills for Taylor in a stoppage win over Simone Aparacida Da Silva in Miami in January.
"It's a fight that seems to have been talked about for years so I'm just glad it's finally on," said Taylor. "It's a massive fight and one that I have been looking forward to for a long, long time.
"I've been working hard in training camp in the US since the start of the year so it's great have a date to focus on now and I can't wait for May 2nd."
“I’m happy we finally got this big fight made because both myself & Katie deserve to be in this position," said Serrano. "While our fight could have been a main event, I’m still grateful it’s happening. I’m not going to talk down to Katie, as I know she won’t to me, so I’ll leave it at this: one thing that’s for sure is that we’ll both leave it all in the ring. Thanks to my Promoter Lou DiBella, Eddie Hearn, Matchroom Boxing, DAZN & Katie Taylor for this great opportunity. See you in Manchester!"
"Katie Taylor versus Amanda Serrano for the Undisputed Lightweight Championship of the World - this is the biggest women's fight of all time," said Eddie Hearn. "The whole of Ireland and Puerto Rico are going to be watching this absolute war between the Undisputed champion and the seven weight division champion - it doesn’t get any bigger!"
“I’m proud to co-promote this historic fight with Matchroom, and to have it featured on a massive card in Manchester," said Lou DiBella. "Two of the best female fighters in the world, two of the best of all time, will square up for boxing supremacy. Amanda didn’t shy away from moving back up in weight or from the fight being in the UK; she embraced the idea of winning on the road and cementing international stardom. Taylor vs. Serrano isn't only the best of women's boxing, it's the best of what boxing is supposed to be."
Adam Smith, Head of Sky Sports Boxing Development, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to add Katie Taylor’s sensational showdown with Amanda Serrano to the Whyte-Povetkin bill. With Sky Sports increasing its commitment to women’s sport, we’ll be showcasing the biggest fight of Taylor’s professional career after following every step of her epic journey.
“We’ve witnessed Serrano’s all-action style, having covered her breathless battle with Heather Hardy. A magnificent multi-weight champion, Serrano now takes on Taylor, Ireland’s dazzling star, as two elite competitors collide in Manchester. Whyte also rolls the dice in a high-risk Heavyweight battle with Povetkin. Two explosive encounters that can only supply fireworks for fight fans.”
Dillian Whyte / Alexander Povetkin Launch Presser!
Dillian Whyte and Alexander Povetkin
Collide May 2nd In Manchester!
(March 3rd) Dillian Whyte will make the first defence of his WBC Interim Heavyweight World Title against Alexander Povetkin at Manchester Arena on Saturday May 2, live on Sky Sports Box Office.
Brixton’s Whyte (27-1, 18 KOs) landed the WBC Title with a unanimous decision win over Oscar Rivas in an exciting battle at The O2 in London back in July 2019 before travelling to Saudi Arabia in December where he outpointed former World Title challenger Mariusz Wach on the Ruiz vs. Joshua 2 undercard.
Russian dangerman Povetkin (35-2-1, 24 KOs), an Olympic gold medallist and former WBA World Champion, proved that he still has what it takes to be a force in the Heavyweight division in 2019 with a win over Hughie Fury in August and a split decision draw with rising Heavyweight contender Michael Hunter in an all-out war in Diriyah.
“This is a great fight, Povetkin is an Olympic gold medallist, has loads of experience, he’s a former World Champion and he’s only lost to Joshua and Klitschko,” said Whyte. “He is still very dangerous, he gave AJ a lot of problems and then beat Hughie Fury. I am not overlooking him at all, he will come in shape, he’s tough and very well-schooled.
"You only have to look at his resume to see that he's always been considered as one of the most fearsome punchers in the Heavyweight division with big KO wins over Huck, Charr, Takam, Wach and Price. He showed in Saudi Arabia that he still has a lot left in the tank and he is still very dangerous. I’ve got respect for him but I’m on to maximum violence, straight animal instinct.
“I want to be Heavyweight Champion of the World so anywhere in the world is my lion’s den. If you aspire to be World Champion, you should be able to fight anywhere. Manchester is a great city with great fight fans and I’m looking forward to going back there.”
"I am pleased to fight Whyte, it has long been discussed but didn't happen for whatever reason,” said Povetkin. “Dillian is a good strong boxer and it will make for an interesting fight. I am not about big announcements, I am about winning in the ring, and on May 2nd people will see a spectacular fight."
"This is a Heavyweight thriller and so important to the landscape of the division," said Eddie Hearn. "Dillian Whyte sits as Mandatory Challenger to Tyson Fury and while the wait is frustrating, Dillian continues to take high risk fights and that’s why he is such a fans' favourite.
"The last time Dillian fought at this arena, we witnessed all time classic against Derek Chisora, We are planning a huge night in Manchester as Dillian Whyte continues to march towards a shot at the Heavyweight World Title."
"I think all boxing fans can agree that we are up for a great fight,” said Head of World of Boxing Promotions Andrey Ryabinskiy. "Both stylistically and in terms of what's at stake in this fight makes it a spectacular and anticipated event.
“Of course, we believe in Alexander but have to understand that Dillian Whyte is a tough opponent who's strong and ambitious, besides he has come a long way to be in a championship fight. Many would wait out for an easier opportunity, but he decided that he needs this fight and it commands respect."
“Dillian Whyte guarantees Heavyweight drama and we’re expecting another explosive encounter against Alexander Povetkin,” said Adam Smith, Head of Sky Sports Boxing Development.
“Whyte is within touching distance of a World Title, but still keeps taking risks against dangerous rivals, and we’ve already seen the threat of Povetkin, who overpowered David Price and posed early problems to Anthony Joshua.
“Dillian can prove himself again as one of the world’s best and there could be a very special announcement in the coming days. May 2 in Manchester should be a magnificent night of boxing.”