MONTRÉAL - Groupe Yvon Michel (GYM), in association with InterBox, is happy to announce the return to the ring of former IBF world super middleweight champion Lucian Bute, August 15 at Bell Centre, as part of Premier Boxing Champions series, airing live on NBC Sports. His opponent will be European super middleweight champion, Andrea Di Luisa, of Italy. Photos by Robert Levesque/Photo Zone Sport.
"I'm ready and looking forward to being back in the ring. I have not lost my passion and I train six days a week, twice a day," said Bute (31-2, 24 KOs), who will be in his first fight since meeting Jean Pascal in front of a sellout crowd, January 18, 2014 at Bell Centre.
In his last bout, Di Luisa (17-2, 13 KOs) defeated his compatriot, Roberto Cocco, by 11th round technical knockout to capture the EBU-EU Europe title. Di Luisa has won his last four fights.
"I'm very happy about this opportunity," Di Luisa commented. "I know Bute because I fought him in the amateurs. He is very good and I respect him. But I don't fear him."
"We are delighted that Lucian can finally return to the ring. This fight is very important for the rest of his career," said InterBox president Jean Bedard.
"We are very proud to present the first event of the Premier Boxing Champions series in Montreal. This will also be the first time that NBC Sports will be present in Montreal to broadcast a boxing event," added GYM President Yvon Michel. "I am also very happy to support the return of Lucian Bute and I thank InterBox for allowing us to participate."
In addition to Lucian Bute, fans will see unbeaten Colombian Olympians Eleider Alvarez and Oscar Rivas, in action. They will both face the biggest challenge of their young career.
Alvarez (17-0, 10 KOs) will face an undefeated, WBO #6 rated Paraguayan-born slugger Isidro "El Guerrero" Prieto (24-0-3, 20 KOs). The Argentina-based boxer is trained by none other than the mentor and first coach of former world champion Sergio Martinez, Raul Paniagua.
"Prieto is a very serious opponent, undefeated and world-ranked, " head trainer Marc Ramsey analyzed. "He beat everyone in South America, often by KO. He has a strong right hand, in addition to being young and hungry. He will try to use Eleider as a stepping stone to the big leagues."
Rivas (17-0, 12 KOs) will lace his gloves against an opponent yet to be determined.
Alvarez and Rivas have both been impressive in their last outing this past June in the United States. They respectively knocked out Anatoliy Dudchenko and Jason Pettaway.
In addition to the three aforementioned featured fights, five other bouts will be presented.
Russian super bantamweight Vislan Dalkhaev (2-0, 0 KOs), Romanian heavyweight Bogdan Dinu (12-0, 8 KOs), Montreal super lightweight Yves Ulysse (8-0, 5 KOs), Sorel-Tracy super lightweight David Theroux (6-1, 4 KOs) and Laval light heavyweight Erik Bazinyan (8-0, 5 KOs) are all scheduled to be in action.
Dalkhaev, a friend of fellow boxer Artur Beterbiev, will attempt to add a third win in the pro ranks. In his last outing, the Chechen-born pugilist defeated Frenchman Adel Hadjouis by unanimous decision on April 4, in Quebec City.
Dinu, a compatriot of Bute, will fight for the first time in 2015. His last encounter occurred December 6, 2014, when he stopped Frenchman Mickael Vieira in the first round.
Ulysse, a former member of the Canadian National Amateur Boxing Team, recorded the easiest win of his career on June 20 at Bell Centre, when Frenchman Renald Garrido was disqualified before the start of the confrontation. This time, though, Ulysse is likely to have a rival who really wants to fight.
Theroux, the pride of Sorel-Tracy, fought in a fierce battle against former Spanish champion Ignacio Mendoza, on June 17 in Sorel-Tracy. Even if the result was not the one hoped for, the 21-year-old boxer in no quitter and he wants to redeem himself in front of his Montreal fans.
As for Armenian-born Bazinyan, he is trained and managed by the Grant brothers. The 20-year-old fighter will jump into the ring for the second time in 2015. On March 27 at Olympia Theatre, he stopped Frenchman Morgan Le Gal in the fifth round.
Tickets go on sale Wednesday, July 15 at 10:00 a.m. ET, at the Bell Centre box office, on www.evenko.ca , at GYM (514) 383-0666, at InterBox (450) 645-1077 or at Champion boxing club (514) 376-0980. Ticket prices range from $25 to $250 on the floor.