David Lemieux is confident he can win a world title belt in another weight class.
That journey begins tonight as Lemieux will make his debut at 168 pounds when he squares off against Max Bursak at the Bell Centre in his hometown of Montreal, Canada.
Lemieux (40-4, 34 knockouts) weighed in at 166.7 pound at Friday’s weigh-in. Bursak weighed 167.8 pounds.
The former IBF middleweight titleholder last fought on Sept. 15 of last year, knocking out Gary ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan in the opening round in Las Vegas.
Lemieux was scheduled to fight Tureano Johnson on the undercard of the Canelo Alvarez-Rocky Fielding undercard on Dec. 15 in New York City, but had to withdraw from the fight during fight week for severe dehydration. Lemieux even had to check into a local hospital as the weight cut weakened him.
Back in March of 2016, a scheduled fight against James De La Rosa was cancelled when Lemieux weighed 2.5 pounds more than the contracted weight of 163 pounds. In his previous fight on May 26 of last year, Lemieux defeated Karim Achour by unanimous decision, although he weighed 162 pounds, two pounds more than the contracted weight of 160.
Lemieux, who will turn 31 on Dec. 22, is a devastating puncher, but can his power carry over to 168 pounds and have any effect on bigger and stronger fighters he will now face?
Golden Boy Promotions, which co-promotes him with Eye of the Tiger, thinks so.
“David is ready for 168 pounds,” Golden Boy Promotions president Eric Gomez told Boxingscene earlier this week. “He wants to challenge any of the world champions.”
Bursak (35-5-2, 16 KOs), who resides in Kiev, Ukraine, stopped Beka Mukhulishvili in the fifth round of his last bout on Oc. 5. The 35-year-old is unbeaten in his last three bouts since losing to then-WBO Gilberto Ramirez in April of 2017.
Heavyweight prospect Arslanbek Makhmudov (9-0, 9 KOs) of Russia will square off against former world titleholder and faded Samuel Peter (38-8, 31 KOs) in a 10-round bout.
Hard-hitting Simon Kean (17-1, 16 KOs) will face Siarhei Liakhovich (27-7, 17 KOs) in a 10-round heavyweight bout. Liakhovich has not fought in over two years.
Junior welterweight Mathieu Germain (17-1-1, 8 KOs) will square off against Mexico’s Gilberto Meza (11-8-1, 7 KOs) in an eight-round bout.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for Boxingscene since September of 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing