South Florida venue to host three world title fights during Super Bowl weekend

Santos A. Perez

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.

AROUND THE RING

Danny Garcia’s opportunity at an immediate fight with welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. ended after Spence sustained injuries in an auto accident in October. Nonetheless, Garcia salvaged his early 2020 fight date originally planned for Spence.

A former welterweight and super-lightweight champion, Garcia (35-2, 21 KOs) will fight Ukraine’s Ivan Redkach (23-4-1, 18 KOs) Saturday at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

“We picked Redkach because he’s dangerous and we knew he’d be tough,” Garcia said. “Redkach makes a lot of sense because he’s a southpaw and that would have me ready for Errol Spence Jr. or Manny Pacquiao.”

Robert Daniels, the first native Miamian to win a professional world title, heads the class that will be inducted into the Florida Boxing Hall of Fame June 21 in Tampa.

Daniels, 53, who last fought in 2012, won the WBA cruiserweight belt in 1989 and made two successful title defenses. Daniels later became director of the Metro Dade Amateur Boxing Program.

The 2020 class also will include former super-middleweight champion Jeff Lacy and South Florida-based retired fighters Bonnie Canino, Glenn Wolfe, Rocky Torres and Eliseo Castillo.

COMING UP

Thursday (10 p.m., DAZN): Jason Quigley vs. Oscar Cortes, 10, super middleweights.

Saturday (9 p.m., Showtime): Danny Garcia vs. Ivan Redkach, 12, welterweights.