Not since the days of promoter Don King’s marathon boxing shows at Miami Arena and Broward County Convention Center in the mid- and late 1990s, has a South Florida card featured three world-title fights.
The gap from the King years finally closes on Jan. 30. Matchroom Boxing USA, overseen by promoter Eddie Hearn, will showcase three title bouts, headlining an announced 10-bout card. The show will be at Meridian Island Gardens, a facility built on Watson Island in Miami to accommodate multiple events coinciding with Super Bowl week.
“I’m delighted to announce our first show of 2020 and our first ever in Miami,” Hearn said in a statement. “This (title fight) tripleheader is the biggest card in Miami for many years.”
Middleweight champion Demetrius Andrade will defend his World Boxing Organization belt in one of the three fights. Andrade will face Ireland’s Luke Keeler. The bouts also will be shown on streaming service DAZN.
A titleholder since Oct. 2018, Andrade, of Providence, R.I., fights in one of boxing’s deepest divisions. Yet, despite the leverage of a title belt, Andrade (28-0, 17 KOs) has not managed to secure lucrative fights.
Andrade hopes being showcased on DAZN will serve as the platform that will eventually land him bouts with the division’s elite — Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, Gennady Golovkin and Jermall Charlo. Andrade’s aspirations improve because DAZN has multi-fight deals with Alvarez and Golovkin.
As he continues to campaign for the marquee events, Andrade said he cannot overlook imminent issue, such as his defense against Keeler (17-2-1, 5 KOs).
“Every fight is a multi-million-dollar big fight to me because if I don’t perform, if I don’t win, then that opportunity is out the window,” Andrade said in a video interview distributed by Matchroom Boxing. “So, I don’t slack on punch, I don’t lack on my training because this is how you lead up to the bigger fights, the bigger names.
“This moment, this opportunity for me to headline on Super Bowl weekend that’s great. You can’t write this stuff out and knowing I am going to be a part of it. I’m definitely going to put my best foot forward, do what I need to do and show the world that I am the most talented fighter on the planet.”
In addition to the Andrade-Keeler match, Tevin Farmer will defend his International Boxing Federation junior-lightweight belt against Joseph “JoJo” Diaz and super-bantamweight titleholder Daniel Roman will face Murodjon Akhmadaliev. Roman is recognized as champion by the IBF and World Boxing Association.
Farmer (30-4-1, 6 KOs) will make the fifth defense of his title against Diaz (30-1, 15 KOs). Like Farmer, Roman (27-2-1, 10 KOs) has four successful defenses preceding his bout with Akhmadaliev (7-0, 6 KOs).
“This is the longest break I’ve had between fights in a long time so it’s only natural for me to be anxious to get back in the ring,” said Roman, who has not fought since last April. “Akhmadaliev presents a strong challenge and I know that I’ll be getting his best shot, but I’ve been down this road before and everyone knows my track record in world title fights.”
South Florida has not hosted a world title fight since Rances Barthelemy defeated Argenis Mendez for the IBF junior-lightweight championship at AmericanAirlines Arena in July 2014.