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Elvir Muriqi Wants A Rematch With Antonio Tarver - Faces Omar Sheika First

by James Slater: Elvir Muriqi, the tough fighter known as "The Kosovo Kid" is desperate to get it on again with new IBF light-heavyweight champion Antonio Tarver. The two men fought last June, in a bout that contested the vacant IBO 175 pound belt "The Magic Man" won by a close majority decision.. Now, Muriqi wants to do it again, convinced as he is that he actually won in June.

Muriqi, in an interview with Boxing Talk's Darren Nichols had the following to say about Tarver.

"I honestly think I won the fight with Tarver, and if I was to fight him again I would stop him," the 28 year old said. "I would out hustle him [in a rematch] but after all is said and done he got the victory [in our first fight].

Muriqi was not impressed with Tarver's commanding points win over Clinton Woods in which the 39 year old won the IBF belt.

"Tarver looked the same fighter [as when he fought me] but Woods just gave him the fight," Muriqi explained. "Woods was like a zombie coming at Tarver. Tarver was worn out, he was tired, but Woods wasn't taking advantage of that," Elvir added.

It's definitely true that Muriqi gave Tarver a much better, and closer fight, than Woods did. It's also easy to see why Muriqi wants a rematch. First, however, "The Kosovo Kid" must get past the still tough Omar Sheika on May the 9th in Atlantic City, New Jersey. This could well be a good and testing fight for both men. Sheika, now 27-8(18) and aged 31 has had a long and hard career, in which he has engaged in a number of wars. The question is, how much does he have left? Sheika has fought up at light-heavyweight before, but most of his career has been down at 168 pounds. Winning his last fight, against Tiwon Taylor last September, Sheika put himself in the win column for the first time in his last three outings.

Muriqi, who has won one fight since his close loss to Tarver, must be made the favourite. But it could well be a great, fan-friendly. Sheika may have lost eight times, but almost all of these defeats have come against good names - with the likes of Joe Calzaghe, Thomas Tate, Eric Lucas, Scott Pemberton (twice in incredible wars), Jeff Lacy and Markus Beyer beating him.

Make no mistake, though he is fresher, Muriqi, who has not fought as good opposition as Sheika (Tarver being his only real stand out name) will have to be at his best come May 9th.

Look for Muriqi to win, but don't expect Sheika, who has only been stopped three times, to lose this one inside the distance. Indeed, you may have to get ready for a fight of the year candidate. Muriqi on points in a thriller.

Article posted on 17.04.2008



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