By Jake Donovan
Micki Nielsen's next fight was supposed to be the latest in a step up in class—however subtle the progression–as he looks to make his mark on the cruiserweight division.
With originally scheduled opponent Felix Cora Jr. withdrawing, the May 2 headliner in Copenhagen, Denmark will now feature a showdown between unbeaten cruiserweights. Nielsen remains atop the bill, as he faces American prospect Junior Wright, who as of Thursday morning has formally accepted the fight.
The upgrade in competition doesn't seem to faze the local favorite, in fact insisting that he welcomes the challenge.
“It doesn’t matter who is put in front of me,” Nielsen (17-0, 12KOs) suggests. “No one is taking this (regional) title away from me. I’m ready and willing to fight anyone. Line them up and I will knock them out!
“Like me, Wright is undefeated but unlike me he will taste defeat on May 2. He’s a good boxer and I’m sure he will come to fight, but there’s only going to be one outcome - my hand will be raised and the belt will remain round my waist.”
Nielsen is coming off of 10-round decision wins in each of his past two starts. The most recent took place in February, outpointing Brazil's Julio Cesar dos Santos in a virtual shutout in Denmark, where all but three career bouts have taken place to date.
Wright (13-0-1, 11KOs) travels abroad for the first time in his young career. The 28-year old has fought predominantly in the Midwestern United States—strategically marketed and developed near his hometown of Evanston, Illinois—along with a few appearances in New York on shows presented by Dmitriy Salita's Star of David Promotions, who inked Wright to a deal last summer.
“Junior just had an impressive KO win over Rayford Johnson, Jan 22nd on the Brooklyn Brawl Series in NYC. He is one of the best cruiserweights in the world,” insists Salita. “He has proved it inside the ring be being successful against top undefeated prospects through out his career.”
The upcoming road trip and challenge versus Nielsen represents a step far outside his comfort zone, but all parties involved are confident that the motivation from both fighters to remain unbeaten and make their mark in the cruiserweight division should make for a mouthwatering main event.
“There are going to be fireworks in Frederiksberg,” promises Nisse Sauerland, Nielsen's promoter. “Micki and Junior are two young, hungry fighters, both undefeated, both big punchers and both gunning for a world title shot. This fight has all the ingredients of a real barnstormer. It is definitely not one to be missed.”
Wright's side sees it th same as its promotional counterpart—although obviously envisioning a different ending.
“Micki is a talented accomplished fighter I think this will be a very exciting fight as long as it lasts,” believs Salita. “Junior wants to be the one to bring the cruiserweight title and glory back to the U.S.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox