Mesi will fight Jirov on March 13 in Las Vegas on HBO

29.01.04 - Buffalo’s undefeated heavyweight boxing contender “Baby Joe” Mesi has targeted 2004 as the year he intends to make his move toward reaching his goal of winning the world heavyweight championship.

Mesi, 30, has set his sights on fighting Mike Tyson this summer. He recently announced his desire to also take on WBC heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis for the title before the year is out. Meanwhile, Mesi has agreed to fight rugged southpaw Vassiliy “The Tiger” Jirov, Saturday, March 13, on HBO. The fight will take place at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. Jirov, the former IBF world cruiserweight champion, is now competing in the heavyweight division.

Jirov is a native of Balgash, Kazakhstan, which was once part of the part of the old Soviet Union. He now resides in Scottsdale, Arizona with his wife and son.

The Mesi-Jirov fight is scheduled for 10 rounds and will be the co-feature fight on the card.

In the scheduled 12 round Main Event, WBC/WBA super welterweight champion Sugar Shane Mosley takes on IBF jr. middleweight champ Winky Wright for the undisputed world title at 154 pounds.

Mesi, (28-0, 25 KO’s), is currently ranked number 4 by the WBC. His 18 fight knockout streak came to an end at Madison Square Garden last December 6 against Monte Barrett in a gripping battle that saw both fighters exchange knockdowns. Mesi earned a 10 round majority decision by dominating the first 6 rounds of the fight and then boxing his way out of trouble in the later rounds with his left eye nearly swollen shut.

The 29-year-old Jirov has a professional record of 33-1, with 29 KO’s. He is known for his granite chin and his rough and tumble style. A strong puncher with a brutal body attack, Jirov is skilled at gaining the edge by using his powerful shoulders to control the inside action. His busy left-handed technique makes him awkwardly effective and difficult to figure out.

Jirov won an Olympic gold medal at Atlanta in 1996. He also was awarded the Val Parker Cup for being selected as the Outstanding Boxer of the Olympic Games.

Jirov won his IBF cruiserweight title by scoring a 7th round TKO over Arthur Williams in Mississippi, on June 5, 1999. He successfully defended his title 6 times before losing it last April to James “Lights Out” Toney on a 12 round unanimous decision. Toney used the victory to launch himself into the heavyweight division where he manhandled and stopped former champ Evander Holyfield in 8 rounds.

Jirov has bounced back from the Toney setback with two straight wins, both by knockout. He stopped Ernest Mateen in seven rounds last August and Joseph Kiwanuka in 6 rounds this past November.

Tickets for this exciting night of boxing are priced at $600, $400, $200, $100 and $50. They are now on sale at the Mandalay Bay Theatre Box Office and all TicketMaster outlets. To order tickets by phone call (702) 632-7580.

The Mesi-Jirov fight is expected to begin at 9:30 PM ET / 6:30 PM PT and will be immediately followed by the Mosley-Wright title fight.

Article posted on 29.01.2004

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