Eight months removed from major knee surgery, world-rated title challenger “Hammerin'” Hank Lundy returns to the ring tonight to begin his journey toward taking conquering boxing’s competitive 135-pound division.
The 32-year-old Lundy (26-6-1, 13 KOs), born and raised in the fighting city of Philadelphia, faces California native John Delperdang (10-1, 9 KOs) for the vacant Universal Boxing Federation (UBF) World Lightweight Title in a 12-round bout at the B.O.O.M. Fitness Center in Cincinnati, presented by B.O.O.M. Promotions in association with CES Boxing.
Tonight’s fight is Lundy’s first since challenging pound-for-pound star Terence Crawford for the World Boxing Organization (WBO) World Super Lightweight Title in New York in February. Shortly after the bout, Lundy underwent surgery to repair a torn ACL and began the long road to recovery just three weeks later – against doctor’s orders – by returning to the gym to wage war on the heavy bag.
Lundy’s remarkable perseverance and determination has led him to tonight’s latest challenge against the 24-year-old Delperdang, who has stopped nine of 11 opponents with his only loss coming by a narrow majority decision to lightweight contender Rickey Edwards.
Lundy’s promoter, Jimmy Burchfield Sr., has echoed his fighter’s sentiment in regard to campaigning strictly at 135 pounds after moving up to 140 several times in the past for the opportunity to chase world titles and / or major paydays. The Philadelphia native is a threat in the lightweight division, so much so that other fighters in his weight class have spent years avoiding the inevitable, part of the reason Lundy has been forced to jump to the junior welterweight division.
Not anymore. The quest for dominance at 135 begins tonight and few fighters in the crowded lightweight talent pool boast Lundy’s impressive resume, which includes bouts against junior welterweight stars Crawford, Thomas Dulorme and Viktor Postol, plus 135-pound contenders Richar Abril, Raymundo Beltran and John Molina.
The outspoken Lundy rose to prominence as a reoccurring star on ESPN’s Friday Night Fights before graduating to network television, where he’s been featured on HBO and Showtime four times since 2014, including a dominant win over Angelo Santana on Showtime in two years ago.
After missing weight in 2015 prior to a scheduled bout against Petr Petrov, a bout Lundy agreed to on short notice, Lundy fought two of his next three bouts at 140 pounds, raising doubts as to whether or not he would – or physically could – return to the lightweight division, but he silenced the critics Thursday by tipping the scales at 134 pounds.
“I’m ready to make a statement at 135,” Lundy said last week. “I’ve been chasing a title down there, but had to jump to 140 because no one will fight me at 135. They know I’m a monster there.
“This year, I will be a world champion at 135, no ifs, ands or buts about it.”
“Starting Dec. 30th and going into 2017, we will fight at 135 pounds and fight for a world title. Hank deserves it,” Burchfield Sr. said. “He hasn’t backed down from anybody.