LAS VEGAS — Middleweight world titlist Demetrius Andrade has never fought in his hometown of Providence, Rhode Island, even though he has been a professional boxer since 2008, following his stint on the U.S. Olympic team. But now Andrade will finally get the opportunity.
Andrade will make his second title defense at the Dunkin Donuts Center in his hometown on June 29 (DAZN) when he faces contender Maciej Sulecki, Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn told ESPN on Thursday.
“It’s done. It’s his homecoming,” said Hearn, who is co-promoting the middleweight world title unification fight between Canelo Alvarez and Daniel Jacobs, on Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena. “Hopefully, we can fill up the Dunkin Donuts Center and make it a big deal, and he can start getting some credibility and profile and say, ‘I’m not just a B-side. I’m the link to the undisputed title.'”
Andrade-Sulecki will be formally announced Saturday night during the Alvarez-Jacobs DAZN broadcast and could have massive implications on the middleweight division.
Hearn also promotes Jacobs, but should Alvarez win on Saturday and Andrade prevail next month, it is quite possible Alvarez, who would have three of the major title belts, and Andrade, who owns the fourth, could meet in September for the undisputed title.
“After Saturday night, there will be one guy with three of the belts, and I got the fourth,” Andrade told ESPN. “Both guys (Alvarez and Jacobs) have been very vocal about wanting to unify after this fight, so let’s make it happen. We all feel that we are the best in the division, and there is only one way to find that out. I wish both Canelo and Danny the best on Saturday night, but they better know I’m there watching with a purpose.”
Many believe that if Alvarez beats Jacobs and former unified champion Gennady Golovkin beats Steve Rolls on June 8, then Alvarez and Golovkin will meet for the third time in September. However, Alvarez has spoken regularly during the buildup to the fight with Jacobs about his desire to “sweep the division” and win all of the belts. He said he would be happy to fight GGG for a third time — if Golovkin has a belt. But he won’t have one by September. Alvarez can get the fourth belt only by taking Jacobs’ 160-pound title on Saturday and then fighting the Andrade-Sulecki winner.
“If Canelo wins, he has to fight Demetrius if he wants to be undisputed world champion,” Hearn said. “The bigger fight commercially for DAZN is, obviously, a third fight with Golovkin, but [Alvarez] never got the chance to be undisputed. Now there’s no reason we can’t have an undisputed middleweight world champion. So that’s what we will be pushing for.
“I said to [Andrade], ‘You are in the most golden position ever. You are the final piece of the jigsaw puzzle for the undisputed title. So just keep winning.’ Sulecki will give him a chance to look good, in my opinion. He needs a fighter that comes to fight.”
Sulecki (28-1, 11 KOs), 30, of Poland, suffered his only loss by unanimous decision to Jacobs in April 2018 in a competitive fight, but he has won two fights in a row, including an action-packed, 10-round decision win over Gabriel Rosado in Rosado’s hometown of Philadelphia on March 15.
When Hearn made Sulecki-Rosado, he said ahead of time the winner likely would earn a shot at Andrade’s belt.
“Sulecki has proven his worth,” Hearn said. “He had a great fight with Jacobs and just beat Rosado in a wonderful fight.”
As much as Andrade (27-0, 17 KOs), a 31-year-old southpaw, has designs on unifying the titles with Saturday’s winner, he said he respects Sulecki and won’t take him for granted.
“Sulecki is one of the top guys in the division, and his only loss is to Danny, in a fight where he gave Danny problems. You can’t overlook this guy,” Andrade said. “He has earned this shot, and I am expecting him to bring it. That being said, I am the best 160-pounder in the sport, and I plan on showing every single aspect of that come June 29th. This is my time.”
After Sulecki defeated Rosado, there was a question of whether he would be physically ready to fight Andrade because he suffered a hairline fracture in his right hand.
“Originally, we were going to do it in early June, and when he finished the fight [with Rosado], he said he had a hand problem and wasn’t sure if he’d be ready for June,” Hearn said. “Then they assessed it and said he would be ready for the middle of June. Obviously, now the fight is at the end of June, so no problem.”
Andrade, a former junior middleweight titlist, won a vacant middleweight world title on Oct. 20 in Boston when he scored four knockdowns in a near-shutout decision over late replacement Walter Kautondokwa. Andrade made his first defense by 12th-round knockout of Artur Akavov on Jan. 18 in New York.