The Contender, Season Three winner Sakio "The Scorpion" Bika plans to cash in after an impressive win November 13 against two-time world title challenger "The Pride of Providence" Peter Manfredo, Jr., runner-up in Season One of The Contender, for the vacant IBO super middleweight title in the 12-round main event headlining "Tough & Tested" at the newly renovated Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island.
IBF Pan Pacific super middleweight title-holder Bika, 26-3-2 (16), a 2000 Cameroon Olympian now fighting out of Australia, won The Contender III with a dramatic eighth round stoppage of Bridgeport, Connecticut native Jaidon Codrington in the finale a year ago in Boston.
Bika, rated No. 4 by the IBF and No. 8 by The Ring magazine, hasn't been stopped in 31 pro fights. In his two past world title fight shots, Sakio forced (at that time) IBF and WBO champion Joe Calgazhe the full distance, hurting the Welchman badly in the 12th round, and Bika's WBC title-fight against defending champ Markus Beyer ended in a fourth round technical draw after Beyer suffered a cut under his right eye from an accidental head butt.
"It will be good fighting back in the states again," Bika said. "I feel very happy to have another world title shot. This year has not been great for me in the boxing ring. My wife had a baby in June and hence I wanted to enjoy my time with my new son, Jordan. Hopefully, next year will be a lot busier for me after I win this title.
"New England brings back fond memories of one of my greatest boxing successes. I hope to continue that success against Manfredo in New England, in November, which is the same month I won The Contender last year."
Manfredo, 31-5 (16), the reigning NABF Interim champion, is the WBC No. 13 rated super middleweight. Fighting in front of his hometown fans, "The Pride of Providence" sports a perfect 16-0 (10) record in Rhode Island, including 3-0 (3) in the same Providence building as his Nov. 13 showdown against Bika. Manfredo's five pro career losses have all come at the hands of world champions.
"Almost every time I fight, it is in the other guy's hometown," Bika added. "I am used to that and it doesn't intimidate me in anyway. Maybe one day I will get to fight in my own backyard, Australia or Cameroon.
"I think Manfredo is a good boxer and a good mover. Our boxing styles will make for a great fight. Manfredo doesn't remind me of anybody I have previously fought. Every opponent is different and I will find out what he's like in the ring. The winner of this fight will be in great position to negotiate with one of the other world title belt holders for a unification bout (WBA Mikkel Kessler, IBF Lucian Bute, WBO Denis Inkin). My next fight, I would like to fight the legend, Bernard Hopkins."
In the 10-round co-feature, Grady "Bad Boy" Brewer, 23-11 (13), winner of Season Two of The Contender, takes on The Contender, Season Two fan favorite, IBF No. 13 rated Cornelius "K9" Bundrage, 28-3 (16), in an IBO light middleweight title eliminator. Codrington, 18-2 (14), runner-up in Season Three of The Contender, also is fighting on the card in a super middleweight Special Attraction against an opponent to be determined.
Some of New England's most talented and popular fighters are scheduled to fight on the undercard including WBC World Youth and USNBC featherweight champion Matt "Sharp Shooter" Remillard, 15-0 (8), super flyweight Isander "Peachy" Beauchamp, 5-0, (2), Providence light welterweight Jesus Caro, 2-0 (2), and Pawtucket light welterweight Diego Periera, 1-0 (1). All fights and fighters are subject to change.
"Tough & Tested," promoted by the Tournament of Contenders in association with Jimmy Burchfield's Classic Entertainment and Sports, Inc. (CES), will air nationally live on Versus television. The co-promoters have called for a 'Pink Out' (everybody wearing something colored pink) to show support for the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation. A portion of the proceeds from ticket and T-shirt sales will benefit the Gloria Gemma Foundation for research into early breast cancer detection.
Tickets, priced at $18.00, $23.00, $58.00, $79.00, $107.00 and $222.00, are on sale at the Dunkin' Donuts Center Box Office (401.331.6700) or through CES Boxing at 401.724.2253/2254 or www.cesboxing.com.
Tickets will also be on sale through www.Ticketmaster.com, at all local Ticketmaster outlets by calling Ticketmaster direct at 401.331.2211 or 617.931.2000, as well as Manfredo's Gym in Pawtucket (401.723.1359), 401 Gym in Cranston (401.261.9800), Balletto's Gym in Providence (401.641.9994), Elite Mixed (Martial Arts (401.728.1356), and Ultimate Fitness in Bristol (401.253.3539). Each paid ticket holder will receive a complimentary Dave & Buster's $10.00 Power Card ($12 value) upon entry.
For more information call 401.724.2253/2254 or go online to www.cesboxing.com, www.tournamentofcontenders.com or www.dunkindonutscenter.com. Doors open at 5:30 PM/ET, first bout 6:30 PM/ET.