Andrade to put Undefeated Boxing Record and Title on the Line Against Akavov

Undefeated WBO middleweight champion Demetrius Andrade will defend his belt against Artur Akavov this Friday in New York City.

Updated: Jan. 15, 2019 • 10:25 AM ET

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Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater will host Friday’s WBO middleweight title fight.

Undefeated American champion Demetrius Andrade will defend his WBO middleweight title for the first time on Friday night, as the pride of Providence, R.I. will fight hungry challenger Artur Akavov. Andrade will not only defend his belt, he’ll look to solidify his position at the top of the middleweight rankings.

Andrade won the belt in October by defeating then undefeated Walter Kautondokwa by unanimous decision. Andrade and Kautondokwa fought for the belt, which former champion Billie Joe Saunders vacated after testing positive for a stimulant. Andrade was named mandatory challenger to Saunders before the positive test, opening the door for the vacant title opportunity and Kautondokwa as a challenger to Andrade.

Andrade (26-0, 16 KOs) is a two-weight champion, previously holding the WBO light middleweight title from 2013 to 2017. Aside from Kautondokwa, Andrade has defeated key fighters who include Alantez Fox, Jack Culcay, Willie Nelson, Dario Fabian Pucheta, Brian Rose and Vanes Martirosyan.

The 30-year-old Andrade, whose last three victories have come by decision, is confident that 2019 will be his year to shine.

“I’m out there trying to fight the undefeated guys, the champions, that’s what I want,” Andrade said via “I get in there with anyone at 160lbs – and I beat them all. It’s the time for the elite to fight each in 2019, people want to see me fight the big names and I want them.

“It’s going to happen, I am here, I’ve got the World title and I want the best. Akavov is coming to New York to take that title from me, so I know that I have to be on my game as he’s a dangerous man, but trust me, when I shine on January 18, we’re going for all the big names next.

“My first fight was meant to be Saunders – an undefeated champion – and then I beat another undefeated fighter to win the title. That’s what I am about and that’s what I want my year to be, champion vs. champion, Demetrius Andrade vs. the best out there.”

Akavov (19-2, 8 KOs) is riding a three-fight winning streak since losing to Saunders for the title by unanimous decision in 2016. The 33-year-old Russian, who most recently defeated Gonzalo Gaston Coria by unanimous decision in May, has never been finished in the ring. Akavov also has key victories over Jean Carlos Prada and Freddy Lopez.


Co-main event

Friday’s co-main event will feature a junior welterweight fight between Jorge Linares and Cesar Cano.

Linares (45-4, 28 KOs) will attempt to win his second straight fight since losing the WBA lightweight title to Vasyl Lomachenko in May. In his last fight, though, Linares secured a third-round knockout victory over Abner Cotto in September.

The 33-year-old Linares is a former three-weight world champion, having held titles at featherweight, super featherweight and lightweight. The Venezuelan’s next objective is to become a four-weight titleholder.

"My next goal is to become the first four-division world champion from Venezuela," Linares said via ESPN. "I accomplished what I needed to accomplish at 135 pounds, and in my last fight with Abner Cotto, I showed that I can take my speed and power to this new division. We've been going back to the basics with my old trainer Jorge Zerpa, and I know I can earn another world title in this new weight class.

“But first I have a tough fight against Pablo Cesar Cano."

Cano (31-7-2, 21 KOs) is coming off a fifth-round technical decision win against Ruslan Madiev in September, rebounding from two straight losses. The 29-year-old Mexican fighter is 2-3 in his last five fights, and a win over Linares would be the biggest of his career. Cano doesn’t lack experience, as he has fought some of the best in the sport, including Shane Mosley, Paul Malignaggi, Francisco Contreras and Erik Morales.


• The card will also feature a title fight for the vacant WBO women’s junior bantamweight title between Amanda Serrano and Eva Voraberger.


• The card can be seen on DAZN this Friday with the undercard starting at 6 p.m.

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