Jesse Feliciano-Andrey Tsurkan - "El Rayo" Returns

Jesse FelicianoBy James Slater: When he was last seen in action, rough and tough welterweight Jesse Feliciano was doing himself proud battling huge betting favourite and IBF welterweight king Kermit Cintron. Expected by many to be blown away, the 25-year-old Feliciano instead gave Cintron a real war, both taking and landing some hurtful shots. Finally stopped while still on his feet in round ten, Feliciano had just given his career and his name a massive boost. Now proven to be very much world class, the 15-6-3(9) warrior would be welcomed back as soon as he was ready to box again.

Now, this coming April 25th, Feliciano is ready to step back into the ring. Opposing him will be another fighter who came very close to winning a big fight in his last outing. Ukraine-born Bronx native Andrey Tsurkan was last seen losing a highly contentious split decision to the unbeaten Yuri Foreman, in a fight that saw Tsurkan lose the NABF light-middleweight strap he had won by defeating Hector Camacho Jnr. Many felt the split decision awarded to Foreman was a bad verdict, not least the 30-year-old Tsurkan himself.

Now the Ukrainian has the chance to get his own career right back on track with a fight with the crowd pleasing Feliciano. Neither guy was happy with how their last fight ended - the brave Feliciano, though taking heavy punishment at the end of the 10th round, still wanted to fight on - and now they meet in a very interesting clash. The bout will be fought at light-middleweight, a first for Feliciano, and will take place in New York, to be televised on ESPN 2. So who will win?

It remains to be seen whether or not Jesse will show any detrimental effects from the quite brutal amount of punishment he took in the Cintron fight. His chin tested like never before, Feliciano ate hard shot after hard shot. Sure, he took the blows and didn't go anywhere, but at what cost? Of course, tough fights are nothing new to Jesse Feliciano, and he will no doubt be ready to rumble again in April. The Las Vegas resident has certainly been in with his share of good opponents. With a win over another tough guy, in Alfonso Gomez, along with his upset win over the highly touted Delvin Rodriguez, Feliciano will surely feel he will be able to handle anything Tsurkan, 25-3(16) will bring to the party. Tsurkan is an aggressive-minded fighter, with good power in both hands, as his 16 KO wins prove, and he too has been in with good men - Camacho Jnr and Foreman being his best opponents. But is he tougher than Feliciano? Is any fighter, for that matter?

Barring any ill effects suffered in the Cintron war, which cannot be ruled out when one considers how hard the Puerto Rican hits, and how many time he hit Jesse flush, Feliciano figures to battle his way to close and hard-fought ten round points win. The fight is about as close to a 50/50 affair as can be imagined, however, not least due to the action taking place at Tsurkan's accustomed weight of 154 pounds. The weight factor just may tilt things in the Ukrainian's favour, but who would bet against the ultra-tough Feliciano winning yet another gruelling fight?

It won't be easy, but look for Feliciano to improve his record to 16-6-3(9) on April 25th - most likely by an exciting and ultra-competitive fight. Should we really expect anything less from a Jesse Feliciano bout?

Article posted on 13.03.2008

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