Middleweight Champion Demetrious Andrade to Defend Title in Hometown

Undefeated WBO middleweight champion Demetrious Andrade will defend the title against Maciej Sulecki this Saturday in Providence, R.I.

Updated: June 26, 2019 • 9:42 PM ET


Providence, R.I. will host this weekend's WBO middleweight championship fight.

In his hometown of Providence, R.I., undefeated WBO middleweight champion Demetrious Andrade will defend the title against Maciej Sulecki this Saturday in the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. The co-main event will be a heavyweight fight between former WBO champion Joseph Parker and Alex Leapai.

In his last fight, Andrade defeated Artur Akavov by 12th-round TKO, his first successful title defense after winning the belt against Walter Kautondokwa last October. The 31-year-old Andrade made a statement with the January victory over Akavov after vacating his WBA and WBO super welterweight titles to move up to middleweight. He’s also ready to give his hometown fans a show on Saturday.

“Fighting at home is really exciting,” Andrade recently said via Bad Left Hook. “In a way, it’s more exciting for the fans in Providence as I’ve fought all over the world already. So to give my hometown the chance to watch me display my skills, talent, work ethic is going to be great for them — they’re going to see greatness from one of their own.

“I’ve got two full passports from traveling the world and it’s a privilege to do that, to see the world and learn and gain experience, so to come home for such a big fight is great.”

Andrade (27-0, 17 KOs) was also a welterweight gold medalist at the Chicago World Championships in 2007.

“I’m an Olympian and a two-weight world champion, but that’s not enough because there’s a lot of people that haven’t seen my talent displayed in the mainstream like some other fighters, like Canelo Alvarez, as Golden Boy did a great job moving him and GGG had great promotion, too, but they’re not the greatest talents out there, they are just the most popular,” Andrade said. “It’s called prize fighting and I am looking to capitalize on that, with the capital."

On Saturday, Sulecki (28-1, 11 KOs) will fight for his first major title. The 30-year-old will ride two straight victories into the fight with the most recent coming by unanimous decision over Gabriel Rosado in March. The only loss on the Polish fighter’s record came at the hands of former champion Daniel Jacobs last April, and he believes he’s ready to show the world that he’s more accomplished than Andrade.

“I am very happy I got this fight,” Sulecki said via Bad Left Hook. “Daniel Jacobs was much better than Andrade — Andrade’s one of the weakest middleweights out there in my eyes. I know for sure that I’m going to put on a great fight and show it off.

“I know he’s a great fighter, but he hasn’t fought anybody. He’s fought Jack Culcay, who is no one, and I will show the world who I am and what I can do inside that ring.”

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Sulecki’s biggest win came in his last fight when he was forced to weather a giant storm after Rosado knocked him down twice in the ninth round. Sulecki is confident he has learned his lesson from that fight, and that he won’t make the same mistakes against Andrade.

“The Rosado fight was going to plan until the eighth round, after that things changed,” Sulecki said. “It was a good learning experience and now especially since I’m fighting the champion next. I watched the fight at home and I said to myself, ‘What an idiot. What did I do?’

“It was a very good lesson, it was two rounds that made me a better man.”


Co-main event

Saturday’s co-main event will be a heavyweight fight between former WBO champion Joseph Parker and Alex Leapai.

In his last fight in December, Parker returned to his winning ways by defeating Alexander Flores with a third-round knockout. The win was much-needed after he lost two straight fights, the first to Anthony Joshua (for the WBO belt) and then to Dillian Whyte, both by unanimous decision.

Parker knows what he’s up against in Leapai, and he doesn’t intend on slowing down his run back to a title.

"Alex is very dangerous in the beginning of the fight, so for three to five rounds he will be very dangerous with big overhand rights and left hooks," Parker recently told the BoxHard podcast. "I'm looking to break him down and knock him out."

Parker’s biggest win came against newly crowned heavyweight champion Any Ruiz Jr. in 2016. The 27-year-old New Zealander is looking to avenge his losses, should he defeat Leapai on Saturday.

"There are a lot of good fights to be made, as long as we take care of business,” Parker said. “Recent results have opened the division up."

Leapai is a former title challenger, but since losing to then champion Wladimir Klitschko for the title in 2014, he has a 2-2-1 record. Leapai, however, is coming off a first-round knockout of Roger Izonritei in what was an immediate rematch from their 2017 fight that was scored as a draw. The 39-year-old has an overall record of 32-7-4 with 26 knockouts, and the fight against Parker will be his first time fighting in the United States.

Leapai’s trainer, Noel Thornberry, says his fighter will look to end the fight early.

"We're going for the quick KO,” Thornberry said via the Courier Mail. “Alex has a puncher's chance against anyone. We're going in as the underdogs so, you can forget about a points decision.”

Thornberry continued, "Joe is a great heavyweight. He's the only man to beat the current world champ Andy Ruiz and he has been in some of the biggest fights of recent times against Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte."

A second title fight will also be featured on the main card, as undefeated WBA super flyweight champion Khalid Yafai will defend the belt against Norbelto Jimenez.

Yafai (25-0, 15 KOs) is coming off a unanimous decision victory over Israel Gonzalez in November and will defend the title for the fifth time since winning it in 2016.

Jimenez (29-8-4, 16 KOs) hasn’t lost a fight since 2011. He fought to a draw with Kohei Kono for the vacant WBA super flyweight title in 2014 and has won nine straight since. The WBA named him the mandatory challenger to Yafai in February.


• The main card can bee seen on DAZN this Saturday at 10 p.m. ET.