By Jake Donovan
Demetrius Andrade and Artur Akavov are locked and loaded for DAZN USA's first offering of the new year.
Both boxers easily made weight ahead of their scheduled 12-round middleweight title clash, which takes place Friday evening at Hulu Theatre in New York City.
Andrade tipped the scales at a fighting fit 159.8 pounds for his first title defense; Akavov came in right at the 160-pound middleweight limit his second title fight opportunity.
The bout will headline a nine-fight card—including three title fights—which will air live on sports streaming service DAZN USA.
For Andrade (26-0, 16KOs), it’s a welcomed interruption to an old schedule where the unbeaten Providence native would experience massive gaps of inactivity in his career. The 2008 U.S. Olympian and two-division titlist now fights for the second time in three months, claiming his 160-pind title in a shutout win over Walter Kautondokwa last October in Boston.
Akavov (19-2, 8KOs) enters the fight having won five straight since a narrow points loss to then-middleweight titlist Billy Joe Saunders in Dec. ’16.
The evening's chief support was among the show's latest additions, with TJ Doheny set to make the first defense of his super bantamweight title versus Japan's Ryohei Takahashi.
Ireland's Doheny—who traveled to Japan for a 12-round title winning effort over Ryosuke Iwasa—clocked in at 121.75 pounds. Takahashi (22-3-1, 16KOs) weighed 121.8 pounds for his first title fight, which also comes in his U.S. debut.
In the third title fight of the night, history-making Amanda Serrano (35-1-1, 26KOs) moves down an unheard-of SIX weight divisions for her 115-pound vacant title tilt versus Austria's Eva Voraberger.
Serrano checked in at a chiseled 114.2 pounds, just four months after winning a title at the 140-pound super lightweight division. The win netted her a title in a record-breaking sixth weight division, with a victory on Friday putting her in exclusive company with Manny Pacquiao as the only boxers ever to claim major titles in seven or more weight divisions (Pacquiao has done so in eight).
Voraberger (24-5, 11KOs) hopes to disrupt those plans. The 28-year old also had to move down in weight, dropping one division from bantamweight—where she holds an interim title—to weigh 114.8 pounds for Friday's tall order.
Two more bouts on the show could very well provide the respective winners with title fights of their own in the very near future.
Former three-division titlist Jorge Linares weighed 139.4 pounds for his second fight at super lightweight, following his title-losing effort to pound-for-pound entrant Vasiliy Lomachenko last May. His opponent, veteran contender Pablo Cesar Cano clocked in at 139.6 pounds for their 12-round bout.
The winner is being teased as a potential future option for unbeaten 140-pound titlist Maurice Hooker. Interestingly the same promise has been made to whomever prevails in a 10-round battle between New Yorkers Chris Algieri and Daniel Gonzalez
Algeiri, a former 140-pound titlist who returned last November filing more than two years away from the ring—weighed 140 pounds. His opponent and longtime sparring partner, Queens' Gonzalez weighed 139.4 pounds.
Demetrius Andrade , lbs. vs. Artur Akavov , lbs.—12 rds, middleweight
Jorge Linares, 139.4 lbs. vs. Pablo Cesar Cano, 139.6 lbs.—12 rds, super lightweight
TJ Doheny, 121.75 lbs. vs. Ryohei Takahashi, 121.8 lbs.—12 rds, super bantamweight
Amanda Serrano, 114.2 lbs. vs. Eva Voraberger, 114.8 lbs.–10 rds, super flyweight
Chris Algieri, 140 lbs. vs. Daniel Gonzalez, 139.4 lbs.—10 rds, super lightweight
Julian Sosa, 147.8 lbs. vs. Dieumerci Nzau, 146 lbs.—6 rds, welterweight
Nkosi Solomon, 227.2 , lbs. vs. Rodriguez Cade, 293.2 lbs.—4 rds, heavyweight
Reshat Mati, 145.4 lbs. vs. Benjamin Borteye, 143.6 lbs.—4 rds, welterweight