One of the sport’s hottest prospects will travel abroad for his next step up in competition.
BoxingScene.com has confirmed that unbeaten super middleweight Diego Pacheco and Jack Cullen are set for a bout that will land on a March 11 DAZN show from M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool, England. The crossroads clash will come in supporting capacity to local hero Callum Smith (29-1, 21KOs), a former WBA super middleweight champ and current WBC light heavyweight mandatory challenger who will headline versus a yet-to-be-named opponent.
No Smoke Boxing’s Darshan Desai was the first to break the news of the super middleweight matchup.
Pacheco (17-0, 14KOs) will enter the fight on the heels of a fantastic 2022 campaign that saw the 21-year-old South Central Los Angeles native score four knockouts in as many fights on the year. The bout also continues a pattern of Pacheco fighting every three months dating back to his second-round knockout of Genc ‘The Sexy Albanian’ Pllana last March 5 in San Diego, California.
In his most recent start, Pacheco—a stablemate of unbeaten interim WBC super middleweight titlist and former two-time full titleholder David Benavidez—scored a second-round knockout of Adrian Luna last December 3 in Glendale, Arizona. All seventeen pro fights to date have taken place in North America but the red-hot prospect will now head to the UK as he aims to become a 168-pound contender.
Cullen (21-3-1, 9KOs) has emerged as a crowd favorite in his time spent as an undercard attraction on the domestic level.
The super middleweight gatekeeper from Little Lever, England—known as ‘Little Lever’s Meat Cleaver’—showed mettle in an eventual eighth-round stoppage loss to unbeaten prospect Felix Cash in their November 2019 thriller. Cullen is 4-1-1 since that night, the lone defeat coming in a sixth-round stoppage to unbeaten Kevin Lele Sadjo on a December DAZN 2021 show in Manchester, England.
In his most impressive win to date, Cullen earned a ten-round, unanimous decision over former title challenger Avni Yildirim in July 2021. The 29-year-old Brit was last seen in an eight-round victory over Vladimir Belujsky last April 16 in Manchester. Cullen will endure an eleven-month inactive stretch come fight night, in part attributed to a planned domestic title fight with Mark Heffron on the September 24 Joe Joyce-Joseph Parker undercard that eventually fell through.
Matchroom Boxing chairman Eddie Hearn previously told BoxingScene.com of the company’s intention to match Smith “with a world-ranked top fifteen fighter in Liverpool in March.”
The most ambitious plans called for a terrific domestic showdown with Joshua Buatsi (16-0, 13KOs), a 2016 Olympic Bronze medalist for Great Britain and current unbeaten light heavyweight contender. However, such a bout remains unlikely without a major belt at stake, with both on the doorstep of light heavyweight title contention.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox