By Luke Furman
The world championship fight between World Boxing Council (WBC) light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson and former two-division champion Badou Jack will not take place in Montreal - but now in Toronto.
Scheduled for May 19th, the lead promoter Yvon Michel of GYM, who handles Stevenson, has always maintained that the fight would take place at the Bell Centre in Montreal, and that he was waiting for the signing of contracts to put in motion the promotion of the event and sale of tickets.
But on Monday morning, the news fell that his card would head over to Toronto.
This gala was announced in January when Showtime and Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) unveiled their calendar for the first six months of the year. Stevenson, unlike Jack, did not first participate in this huge press conference held in New York.
Michel indicates that the card will now take place at the Air Canada Center.
"It's been months that I was told 100% that the fight will be in Montreal," defended Michel in an interview with RDS.
"I certainly wondered why I was not allowed to put tickets on sale, but we did everything right. Even the Showtime people had contacted the Bell Centre to confirm the television broadcast. But at the end of the week I was called, and tell me that it could not take place in Montreal anymore. I was not given any more explanations other than that."
A few weeks ago the fight was nearly postponed because of Eleider Alvarez, who was then the mandatory challenger for Stevenson. Alvarez, the mandatory since November 2015, threatened to force the champion to fight him.
Since then, Alvarez decided to take another route and face World Boxing Organization (WBO) champion Sergey Kovalev later this summer, giving up his position at the WBC.
Stevenson (29-1, 24 KOs) will attempt on May 19 to make a ninth consecutive defense of his title acquired in 2013. His last mandatory defense dates back to November of the same year, when he had faced Tony Bellew in Quebec City.
This time, the Montreal champion will face Jack (22-1-2, 13 KOs), a former World Boxing Association champion, who had renounced his title instead of facing his mandatory opponent, Dmitry Bivol, who is current champion.
For GYM, it is also a hard blow to change the location - because the undercard which would feature boxers like Oscar Rivas, Mikael Zewski and Christian Mbili will be more difficult to promote in Toronto than in Montreal.
Luke Furman covers boxing for bokser.org.