Press Release: A super middleweight bout between Andre “The Matrix” Dirrell (23-1, 16 KOs), of Flint, Mich., and Derek “The Black Lion” Edwards (27-3-1, 14 KOs), of Las Vegas, has been confirmed to air on Showtime Boxing’s special Friday edition on Dec. 19th, from Pepsi Coliseum in Quebec City. The bout will be one of four aired by Showtime that night, with the IBF #2 ranking at stake.
For the switch-hitting Dirrell, the elimination bout for the IBF’s #2 position behind #1 James DeGale and champion Carl Froch will be his fifth bout since getting injured against then-undefeated Arthur Abraham during SHowtime’s Super Six World Boxing Classic fight in March 27 2010.
Dirrell had scored a knockdown in the fourth and was comfortably ahead of the Armenian on all scorecards heading into 11th. About a minute into the round, Dirrell slipped and Abraham hit him while he was down, knocking Dirrell out cold and resulting in Abraham being disqualified. Dirrell suffered neurological issues as a result of the punch, withdrew from the tournament and was sidelined for 21 months.
Dirrell believes he is quickly approaching the peak form he exhibited when he entered the Super Six and was regarded by many as a fast-rising contender. Dirrell has won his last five fights, three by stoppage.
“I’m excited to be back on the fast track and I’m ready to show that this is definitely where I belong,” Dirrell said. “It takes time to move back to the top, but I like to improve myself each time I step into the gym. I almost feel like I’ve been overworking myself in the gym to prove that I’m back.
“But I feel like I’m there and ready for a title shot. And, when the time comes to prove that I’m ready, I won’t leave any doubt.’’
A 2004 U.S. Olympic bronze medalist and the older brother of WBC super middleweight titlist Anthony Dirrell, Andre scored a second-round TKO in his return to the ring on Dec. 30, 2011, but didn’t fight again until February 2013. He’s been victorious in both his fights in 2014, winning his last via fourth-round TKO over Nick Brinson on Oct. 8th.
After blasting out Vladine Biosse two starts ago, the 31-year-old Dirrell called out IBF Champ Froch, who dealt Dirrell his lone loss via a split-decision in his native England in the first Super Six fight for both fighters on Oct. 17, 2009.
“I know I won that fight against Froch,” Dirrell said. “I think everyone knows I won that fight. He’s the one opponent I want and the fact that he’s a world champion again is just icing on the cake. I don’t think I’ve ever been defeated and I want that title shot. Hopefully he doesn’t retire because I know the world wants to see that rematch.
“I want to fight the best at 168. I want to unify the division, but if my brother does that first then I will move up to 175. I have a lot of work to do in a little amount of time – I want to fight for about five more years – and if Anthony runs me out at 168 then I’ll go up to 175.”
Before Dirrell gets his shot at a title he must first defeat a power-punching opponent who has a knack for upsets.
“This guy may have power, but power-punchers are the best opponents for pure boxers, for slick guys like me,” Dirrell said. “That’s when I’m at my best. I’m not even looking at his power – his will and determination in the fight will be more important than his power.
“I know he’s going to be at his best when he steps in the ring on Dec. 19. He’s been in some tough fights, but I don’t think we’ve seen the best from him yet. I’m not worried about anything but getting the job done and I know I will when the time comes.”
Edwards, who once fought light heavyweight kingpin Adonis Stevenson when he was campaigning at 168 pounds, is coming off perhaps the most unlikely result of the year, a stunning 1:01, first-round knockout of previously-unbeaten, top-five ranked Badou Jack on ShoBox: The New Generation last Feb. 28th.
A longshot going in, Edwards twice dropped Jack, the first coming with an overhand short right 32 seconds into the match. Moments later, Edwards registered another knockdown from a right followed by a glancing left hook. Jack stumbled to his feet but the referee had seen enough and waved off the bout. Continue reading