This Saturday night, Demetrius ‘Boo-Boo’ Andrade will be aiming to make the second defence of his WBO middleweight title against Polish challenger Maciej Sulecki in front of a hometown audience in Providence, Rhode Island. 

Andrade successfully defended his title for the first time with a comfortable victory over Artur Akavov; albeit one which was not entirely devoid of controversy, when the Russian challenger was the victim of somewhat overzealous referring and was considered unfortunate to be stopped in the final round. 

Last October, the undefeated American claimed the vacant WBO belt with a one-sided drubbing of similarly unbeaten Walter Kautondowka – dropping the Namibian on multiple occasions en route to a lopsided points triumph in Boston. 

Naturally, it was not the manner in which Andrade would have liked to have captured world championship glory in his second weight division, after original opponent and previously reigning champion Billy-Joe Saunders was forced to relinquish his title – having tested positive for a banned substance.

Andrade – a slippery southpaw who throws flashy combinations – has long faced accusations of being more style than substance. Unseating an established champion like Saunders would have been a perfect opportunity to silence some of his more vocal detractors, who have grown frustrated with the long stretches of inactivity that have characterised much of Andrade’s recent career. 

Unfortunately, it was not meant to be, but Andrade’s search for a defining fight at middleweight may now finally be complete in the form of Maciej Sulecki. The Poland native is a tricky and tenacious contender who last outpointed Philadelphian Gabriel Rosado to secure his first crack at a world title.

Sulecki gave a great account of himself in a competitive decision loss to Daniel Jacobs in 2018, and is expected to be Andrade’s toughest assignment to date at 160lbs. However, Andrade will no doubt be looking to produce a clinic and send out a statement to his middleweight rivals, with an emphatic victory over a respected challenger.

What is at stake for Andrade in this fight is further emphasised by the fact that a  potential unification showdown with Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez, to determine the division’s undisputed champion, looms large – provided that Andrade is able to retain his title this weekend. Ultimately, expect Andrade to pull away down the stretch, courtesy of his movement and superior physical dimensions coupled with his ring smarts and skillset, after a couple of cagey and closely-contested early rounds.

Article by: Navi Singh

Follow Navi on Twitter at: @DarkMan________