Joe Calzaghe, Boxing's Longest-Reigning Champion, to Make his HBO Debut

NEW YORK, NY (September 15, 2006) – Nearly nine years to the day he ascended the throne as world champion, undefeated super middleweight champion JOE CALZAGHE will make his 19th title defense, against former Olympian Sakio Bika, Saturday, October 14, at the MEN Arena in Manchester, England. In addition to making his first defense since unifying the titles, this will also mark Welshman Calzaghe’s debut on HBO, which will televise the fight on “Boxing After Dark” at 11 P.M. ET/PT. Calzaghe-Bika will be promoted by Frank Warren’s Sports Network.

“We are extremely pleased to be able to bring this exciting fight to our subscribers,” said Kery Davis, Senior Vice President Programming. “Joe is clearly one of the brightest talents in the sport today.” Calzaghe, (41-0, 31 KOs), is currently boxing’s longest-reigning champion. “The Pride of Wales” captured the vacant WBO title, October 11, 1997, knocking down two-time world champion and British boxing legend Chris Eubank twice en route to a dominating unanimous decision on scores of 118-109, 118-111, 116-111.

Though his résumé boasts victories over former world champions Charles Brewer, Byron Mitchell, Robin Reid and Richie Woodhall, nothing compares to his last victory, where he unified the title fighting a masterclass against undefeated IBF/IBO champion Jeff Lacy, the first 2000 U.S. Olympian to win a world title. The victory was so emphatic -- Calzaghe won every round of the fight -- and so important to the division, The Ring magazine conferred its prestigious championship belt upon the new unified champion, the first time in the division’s 22-year history that The Ring has ever recognized a super middleweight as its world champion.

Title defense No. 19 will be no easy task for Calzaghe. Bika, (20-1-2, 13 KOs), nicknamed “The Scorpion” is a former Olympian from Cameroon based in Australia. Riding a four-year, 12-bout unbeaten streak, he returns to the ring fresh from a May challenge of WBC super middleweight champion Markus Beyer. Two judges had the fight even when it was stopped in the fourth round and ruled a technical draw because an accidental head butt left Beyer cut and unable to continue. The fact Beyer did not grant a rematch tells you all you need know about Bika.

Article posted on 15.09.2006

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