Upcoming Bouts: Andrade-Stieglitz, Diaz-Ganoy, Mesi-Smith, Castillo-Bradley

By Matthew Hurley: IBO featherweight champion Thomas Mashaba, 20-1-4 with 12 KOs will defend his belt against Cristobel Cruz, 35-11-1 with 23 KOs at Foxwoods Resort & Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut on Friday. Mashaba, out of South Africa, the former IBO junior featherweight champion, is coming off a spectacular knockout victory over former IBF champion Erik Aiken. Cruz, out of Tijuana, rebounded after two straight decision losses to knock out Alberto Garza in the tenth round. Should Mashaba emerge victorious he is hoping for a title shot against IBF champion Robert Guerrero. Guerrero recently defended his title with an eighth round technical knockout over Jason Litzau.

Super Middleweights Librado Andrade, 26-1 with 20 KOs and Robert Stieglitz, 31-1 with 19 KOs will square off in an IBF title elimination bout on March 22nd at the Morongo Casino Resort & Spa. The bout will be featured on HBO’s Boxing After Dark. Librado is coming off a rugged seventh round technical knockout victory over Yusaf Mack in October. He previously dropped a unanimous decision in March to Mikkel Kessler.

Former IBF lightweight champion Julio Diaz, 34-4 with 25 KOs will take on Ranee Ganoy, 24-10-2 with 20 KOs at the Aviation Arena, Dubai, United Arab Emirates on April 18th. Diaz lost his IBF lightweight belt back in October to current champion Juan Diaz by a ninth round technical knockout. Ganoy is enjoying a seven bout winning streak since losing by 5th round knockout to Michael Katsidis back in 2005.

Heavyweight Joe Mesi, 36-0 with 29 KOs returns to the ring April 4th on ESPN’s Friday Night Fights when he takes on Terry Smith, 30-4-1 at the Twin River Events Center in Lincoln, Rhode Island in a ten round main event. Mesi is in the middle of seven bout winning streak since suffering two brain bleeds in a 2004 victory over Vassily Jirov. On the undercard 2004 Olympic heavyweight Jason Estrada, 11-1 with 2 KOs takes Lance Whitaker, 32-4-1 with 27 KOs in a ten round bout.

Finally, in a report filed by Jose Luis Castillo, 56-8-1 with 48 KOs may yet again be having problems making weight for his WBC super lightweight title elimination bout against number one contender Timothy Bradley, 21-0 with 11 KOs. The weight limit for Saturday’s fight is stipulated at 147 pounds. At a preliminary weigh-in Bradley came in at 143.5 pounds while Castillo tipped the scales at a reported 151 pounds. Castillo’s history for failing to make weight, most notoriously in marquee bouts against the late Diego Corrales, has Bradley’s promoter Gary Shaw livid. Shaw, who promoted Corrales, is insisting that the WBC strictly adhere to the rules and regulations at the official weigh-in.

Article posted on 05.03.2008

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