Monte Carlo Matchroom Boxing Bonanza
By Matthew Dean
On Saturday the 24th November Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom is taking us away to the glitz and glamour of the Casino de Monte-Carlo Monaco for the third edition of the Monte Carlo Boxing Bonanza. Shown in conjunction with DAZN in the US and UK satellite sports channels we are to be presented with a night of world championship boxing.
Hearn commented “I’m delighted to be back in Monaco for the third time for another fantastic night of World championship Boxing. It’s always special to return to the Casino de Monte-Carlo. It’s a stunning setting that’s unique within boxing and will be broadcast and enjoyed by fight fans throughout the World.”
The main event will be the dangerous Denis Lebedev (32-2-0. 23KOs) vs Mike Wilson (19-0-0. 8KOs). Russian Lebedev is defending his WBA Cruiserweight belt against the undefeated American.
Lebedev was WBA “super” champion in 2017, but gave up the belt to become “Champion in recess”. This allowed the World Boxing Super Series to have the “super” belt at stake (now held by Oleksandr Usyk).
Wilson has a perfect pro record and was a decent enough amateur however he lacks both the experience of Lebedev and the punching power. Looking at the calibre of opposition faced by both men, the Russian stands clearly ahead. Having two losses to his name against Murat Gassiev ( in a closely fought split decision 2 years ago, Gassiev himself respectively only losing to Usyk in the WBSS).
The only other loss for Lebedev was against Marco Huck 8 years ago. Neither of these names are to be ashamed of and 2 losses in 8 years is a decent enough record in itself. Let’s also remember that Lebedev has bested former world champions James Toney and Roy Jones Jr. Wilson has never had a 12 round fight whereas Lebedev has gone the distance 8 times.
However we can ask ourselves is this the night when at 39 Lebedev becomes an old man in the ring? Father Time comes to us all and this could include Wilson at 35. Power and experience should be the decisive factor for this battle in favour of the Russian, he wants to propel himself back towards the top of the division so only time will tell if he still has the fire burning inside him to do so.
Making the fourth defence of his WBA Super Flyweight title is Kal Yafai (24-0-0. 15 KOs) vs Israel Gonzalez (23-2-0. 10 KOs). Yafai has promised another big win after defeating Mexican David Carmona in 7 rounds in May this year.
The Birmingham fighter wants a big end to the year as he looks to set up the big fights in 2019 against the division’s big names Jerwin Ancajas, Sor Rungvisai, Roman Gonzalez, and possibly even Donnie Nietes and Kazuto Ioka. Acknowledging the Mexican as a dangerous counter puncher and a tough fight, Yafai knows that a solid performance will be required.
“I expect him to be looking to counter early on but then as the first three or four rounds go by, if it goes that far, he’ll realise that he can’t outbox me or counter me. He’ll have to resort to coming forward and applying pressure which won’t work out for him very well.”
This is the second title assault by Gonzalez, having been stopped by Ancajas in February this year. Fighting away from home will be no issue as Gonzalez stopped Jamie Conlan here in 2017. Yafai looking ahead confessed
“I really enjoyed my American debut. It was an exciting fight to be involved in and entertaining for the fans. Hopefully on Saturday I’ll do a good job on this guy, look good, and then head back over to America next year and get some big fights.
Frank Buglioni (23-3-1, 16 KOs) is back in title action against China’s undefeated Fanlong Meng (13-0-0. 8 KOs) for Meng’s IBF Inter-Continental Light Heavyweight Title. “Wise Guy” needs to re-establish himself after his 1st round shock loss to Callum Johnson in March. He has said that he has been working hard in the gym in preparation for his comeback.
Acknowledging that he will have a tough fight with Meng he doesn’t believe that the former Chinese national champion has faced such solid opposition yet in the paid ranks. This will be the true test for him and Buglioni was confident in taking the belt and the “0” from his record. Looking to get back into world level contention he said
“The light-heavyweight division is buzzing and a good win over Meng will re-establish me as one of the top guys out there. A win would certainly put me back at the top of the pile domestically and possibly Europe too, I won’t be far off world level. I’m looking forward to putting on a real show and proving myself once again
Michael Hunter (15-1-0. 10 KOs) the US Olympian has stepped in to take on 41-year-old Russian Alexander Ustinov ( (34-2-0. 25KOs). This fight has been rescheduled due to the originally planned opponent Zhilei Zhang reportedly having visa issues and unable to make the fight.
Hunter 30, beat Martin Bakole in a shock 10th round TKO in October. Bakole had been favourite but the American wore him down with his punch volume before finally stopping him. Ustinov hasn’t fought since his loss to Manuel Charr in November 2017 also could be rather rusty and Hunter has only lost once ( to Oleksandr Usyk last year) going 12 rounds in the process so he may be too busy a fighter for the Russian this time around.
Other undercard events featured are
Daniyar Yeleussinov (4-0-0, 2KOs) vs. Marcos Mojica (16-2-2. 12KOs) in an 8 round Welterweight contest
Khalil El Hadri (1-0-0. 1KO) vs. Andrei Nurchynski (9-32-5. 7KOs) in a 6 round Lightweight contest
Catch all of the action in a fun night of fights in Sky Sports and DAZN in the US.