By Marco Bratusch
At Monday’s EBU purse bid in Rome, Italy, Antwerp Boxing Academy earned the right to stage the next European cruiserweight championship between titleholder Yves Ngabu (18-0, 13 KOs) and challenger Geoffrey Battelo (32-5, 28 KOs) offering a squared 40,000 Euros bid which exceeded a 21,000 Euro offer made by Fabian Detaille. The two Belgian fighters were already scheduled to face each other last June for the vacant title, but an injury occurred to Battelo as a consequence of a car accident forced him to pass the opportunity. After Italian cruiserweight Mirko Larghetti also refused to confirm his willingness to fight a few days later, journeyman Tamas Lodi was called with very short notice and was approved as co-challenger to face the unbeaten 28-year-old Ngabu in order to ‘save’ the boxing show in Roeselare, Belgium, but then he quickly lost by TKO in round four to the Belgian puncher, who became the new European 200 lbs champion. No word yet by the winning promoter about a date or venue where stage the fight.
An OPI Since ’82 doubleheader is eyed for January 27th on a site yet to be determined. The boxing show is scheduled to present the second defense of European middleweight champion Emanuele “Sioux” Blandamura (27-2, 5 KOs) against mandatory challenger Kamil Szeremeta (16-0, 2 KOs), from Bialystok, Poland. Plus, the European Union (EU) junior welterweight contest at stake for co-challengers Andrea Scarpa (22-3, 10 KOs) and Frenchman Franck Petitjean (18-4-3, 3 KOs) is expected to play out as the chief support of the card, in addition to several fighters of the OPI’s stable who are likely to perform on the bill in stay busy fights.
Current European featherweight titlist Marc Vidal (10-1-4, 4 KOs) is scheduled to take on countryman Sergio Prado (13-7-1, 4 KOs) on November 24th in Madrid as a voluntary defense of his continental belt, Rimer Box to promote the show. The two boxers already shared the same ring last January in Fuenlabrada, Madrid, with Vidal coming off with a split decision victory to win the vacant European Union (EU) title. Vidal went on winning the main European laurel last July in a disputed affair against veteran Sergio Blanco (23-4-1, 6 KOs), who has later been appointed as the new mandatory challenger by the EBU Board, looming a rematch between the two during the first part of 2018.
Former European Union welterweight co-challenger Karim Aliliche lost last Saturday on points in front of Romain Nemery in Trouville, France, and consequentially he has now been pulled out of such position and replaced by undefeated 24-year-old Jordy Weiss (17-0, 2 KOs) who will have the right to square off with Spaniard Aitor ‘El Diamante’ Nieto (21-4-1, 8 KOs), aged 33, for the vacant EU title.
In other news, Barry McGuigan’s Cyclone Promotions signed 20-year-old bantamweight amateur star Lee McGregor, a gifted Scottish fighter who is expected to make his professional debut on November 11 in Edinburgh, Scotland, on the undercard of the Josh Taylor vs. Miguel Vazquez boxing night at Royal Highland Centre. McGregor will be trained and developed in his new professional career by trainer Shane McGuigan, whose father already expressed his technical admiration for the newcomer’s potential today during a press conference, describing him as a certain future world title contender.