Rarely is boxing’s cruiserweight division the centerpiece of a compelling fight weekend, but that will be the case on May 20-21.
French-based Congolese contender Kayembre Kalenga (22-2, 15 KOs) will battle undefeated Cuban Yunier Dorticos (20-0, 19 KOs) for the vacant WBA world cruiserweight title on May 20 in Paris.
This one should be a slugfest. If it goes the full 12 rounds, it will be a shock.
Dorticos has stopped all but one of the opponents he’s faced in his career. Veteran Edison Miranda is the only one of Dorticos’ foes to have gone the distance, but the Cuban won every round on two of three judges’ scorecards, and all but one on the other.
Most recently, Dorticos stopped Fulgencio Zuniga in the second round in December 2015. He’ll be looking to continue his relentless knockout pace against the rugged Kalenga.
The 28-year-old who was born in Kinshasa knocked out Roberto Feliciano Bolonti in the ninth round in November 2015 to set up this opportunity. Prior to his win over Bolonti, Kalenga lost a competitive unanimous decision to Denis Lebedev in April 2015. Both men were on the canvas in the bout.
Lebedev was the champion at the time, but he is vacating the title and taking on IBF champion Victor Emilio Ramirez in a unification bout that will crown a WBA “Super” champion on May 20.
Kalenga fights with a swagger and fierceness that makes him a fan-friendly fighter. The bout against Dorticos will be the first fight Kalenga has had in his adopted home of France since November 2013 when he stopped Giorgi Tevdorashvili in the second round.
Kalenga always exudes confidence and he will likely bring the fight to Dorticos, despite the 30-year-old Cuban’s history of KO power.
The winner of Dorticos vs.Kalenga would be in position to challenge the man who emerges victorious from the Lebedev-Ramirez scrap. Most would pay to see Kalenga get a second shot at Lebedev.
WBC champion Grigory Drozd and WBO titleholder Kryysztof Glowacki could also be targets for the winners of both fights. Don’t look now, but the cruiserweight division might be heating up.
This article was penned by the author who is not related to the WBA and the statements, expressions or opinions referenced herein are that of the author alone and not the WBA.