Boxing


Andre Ward To Be Made WBC “Champ In Recess” - Anthony Dirrell To Face Nikola Sjekloca For Regular WBC Title

By James Slater: The WBC have announced how unbeaten star and reigning WBC 168-pound champ Andre Ward, currently sidelined with a hand injury, will be made their “Champion in Recess” until he is able to resume his career.

The regular WBC super-middleweight belt will be contested by Ward’s friend, Anthony Dirrell, and little-known but unbeaten Serbian Nikola Sjekloca. 27-year-old Dirrell, 24-0, 21 KO's.

Dirrell Vs. Ward would be a great fight, but so far the two buddies have pretty much avoided one another. Now, “The Matrix” gets a chance to win Ward’s regular WBC strap.

33-year-old Sjekloca is almost as tall as Dirrell at 6’1” but the orthodox fighter who lives in Montenegro has never faced anyone with southpaw Dirrell’s talents. A pro since 2006, Sjekloca has boxed mostly at home but also in Serbia, Russia and Germany. Not a big puncher at 24-0(7), Sjekloca’s biggest win to date is his July 2011 points win over Khoren Gevor, who he won a reasonably close UD against in defending his WBC international title.

Very much an unknown quantity (has Dirrell even heard of Sjekloca?), the Serbian is a good boxer and he might be up to the task of giving Dirrell a tricky night. It will be interesting to see where the fight is held and when. Has Dirrell rediscovered his old form; form that saw him streak to 18-0 and give both Abraham and Carl Froch fits in “Super Six” bouts?

If Dirrell, who sounds as hungry as ever, is firing on all cylinders, there looks to be only one winner. Then, after Dirrell has taken care of Sjekloca (barring a big upset he will do so), maybe Dirrell and Ward can finally agree to get it on and settle a friendly rivalry.

Interestingly, ESPN.com’s Dan Rafael, no fan of what he calls the “wretched” WBC at the best of times, has written that Ward has told him his hand is fine. Rafael isn’t the only person to be angered by the addition of yet another “regular” or “interim” champ - or whatever the correct terminology is these days.

Article posted on 27.04.2012



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