Five months after passing the first 12-round test of his career, Miami resident Rances Barthelemy faces another potentially difficult ring assignment.
But if Barthelemy defeats Fahsai Sakkeerin on June 21 in Minneapolis, the reward will be a world title fight. The Barthelemy-Sakkreerin fight is an elimination match sanctioned by International Boxing Federation.
Barthelemy (18-0, 11 KOs) is currently the IBF’s second-ranked junior lightweight, while Sakkreerin is No. 5. The winner will earn the organization’s No. 1 ranking and become the mandatory challenger to 130-pound world champion Argenis Mendez.
“This hasn’t been an overnight thing that has Rances so close to a title fight,” said Richard Dobal, Barthelemy’s co-promoter since the Cuban native turned professional four years ago. “It has been a steady climb through the professional ranks.
“Now he finds himself in a tremendous position to reach that coveted world title fight.”
One of the common knocks against sanctioning bodies is that some undeserving fighters receive high rankings. To its credit, the IBF leaves open the top two rankings in each weight class and creates elimination matches for fighters to earn the spots.
Barthelemy reached his current ranking with a hard-fought and disputed unanimous decision over Arash Usmanee on Jan.4 at Magic City Casino in Miami.
“That fight against Usmanee was a big transition for Rances,” Dobal said. “He had never fought past eight rounds in his career. Now he feels he has adjusted to handle the 12-round distance.”
Sakkeerin (39-3-1, 21 KOs) will make his U.S. debut against Barthelemy and has only fought once outside his native Thailand.
“This is a very tough fight against a formidable opponent,” Dobal said. “As tough as Usmanee was, this opponent will be just as tougher.
“If you want to be an elite fighter these are the fights you need to take — and win.”
The fight will be televised by ESPN2 as part of its Friday Night Fights series.
Yuriorkis Gamboa won a second-tier lightweight title with his unanimous decision victory over Colombia’s Darleys Perez late Saturday night in Montreal.
Gamboa, a native of Cuba and former featherweight and junior lightweight world champion, knocked down Perez with a left to the head late in the first round of the bout at the Bell Centre. Two judges scored the bout for Gamboa, 116-111, and the third also had him winning 115-112.
The victory earned Gamboa (23-0) the World Boxing Association interim title.
Gamboa’s countryman, Erislandy Lara, also won a second-tier belt Saturday night. Lara survived two knockdowns and scored a 10th-round technical knockout win over Alfredo Angulo at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.
Angulo dropped Lara in the fourth and ninth rounds, but Lara withstood Angulo’s best shots and countered with his own solid combinations. Midway through the 10th, Lara (18-1-2, 12 KOs) landed strong power shots to the head and eventually damaged the orbital bone around Angulo’s left eye.
With his eye’s condition worsening, Angulo (22-3) turned toward his corner and away from the action. Referee Raul Caiz immediately stopped the fight at 1:50 of the round.
“Angulo started tough but I hung in there,” said Lara, who captured the WBA super-welterweight belt. “I knew I was still in the fight after I got knocked down. I knew I was still winning.”
Two judges had Lara ahead, 85-84, and Angulo was ahead, 86-83, when the fight was stopped.
Marcos Maidana (34-3, 31 KOs) scored a sixth-round TKO over Josesito Lopez (30-6, 18 KOs) in an action-intense welterweight bout after the Lara-Angulo fight.
Adonis Stevenson (21-1, 18 KOs) scored a one-punch, first-round TKO over defending champ Chad Dawson (31-3) to win the World Boxing Council light heavyweight title in Montreal.