A three-fight series to crown a unified divisional champion will begin on Saturday, April 30, when WBC 168-pound champion Badou Jack defends his title against former longtime titlist Lucian Bute, and IBF Champion James DeGale risks his belt against mandated challenger Rogelio Medina in a SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING doubleheader live on SHOWTIME (10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT) from the DC Armory in Washington D.C.
The winners will meet in a super middleweight world-title unification fight later this year.
Jack (20-1-1, 12 KOs) will make his second title defense after a breakthrough 2015 campaign in which he won the WBC belt from Anthony Dirrell and successfully defended against George Groves. The southpaw Bute (32-3, 25 KOs), a former IBF champion with nine defenses between 2007 and 2012, revived his career last November with a gutsy and inspired performance against DeGale.
“I’ve been training really hard for this fight and I’m excited to get in the ring,” said Jack. “I can’t wait to defend my title once again on April 30. The fans can expect to see an explosive and skillful performance from me come fight night. I believe I’m the best super middleweight in the world and that I have the skills to beat anyone I get in the ring with. I’m fully focused on Lucian Bute, but I know that a win can set up a massive fight against James DeGale and I’m going to deliver.”
“I’m thrilled to have this tremendous opportunity,” said Bute. “I was ringside for Badou Jack’s last two fights — well deserved world title wins. He is a great champion. I plan to train hard and be in the best shape of my career on April 30. It’s my chance to win the WBC belt and become two-time world champion. I will win and give boxing fans a spectacular fight.”
DeGale (22-1, 14 KOs) will make his second title defense after an impressive 2015 in which he defeated Andre Dirrell to win the vacant IBF belt and topped Bute in a Fight of the Year candidate. The hard-hitting Medina (35-6, 29 KOs), the IBF’s mandatory challenger, has knocked out three consecutive opponents.
“I am delighted to be defending my world title on another great show in the United States,” said DeGale. “I won my belt in style in Boston and I’m looking forward to moving down the East Coast to the great city of Washington, D.C. It’s going to be a defining night in the super middleweight division as Badou Jack and myself look to set up a huge fight later in the year. I’m fully focused on Rogelio Medina. He’s a tough Mexican who earned his title shot. But trust me, no one is getting my world title.”
“This is such a great opportunity for me and I can’t wait to get in the ring,” said Medina. “I’ve worked so hard for this and I am going to make the most of it. Everyone who has seen me fight knows I leave it all in the ring and you can expect to see an all-out battle on April 30. I will be the new world champion.”
“Mayweather Promotions is proud to bring another exciting night of boxing to the great boxing fans in my hometown of Washington, D.C.,” said Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions. “I’m really excited about the Badou Jack vs. Lucian Bute fight. It’s going to be a great fight. We know Bute is tough as nails and he’s coming to take the title away from Badou. Badou is going to have to be at his best to be able to beat Bute that night. The winner of that fight will set up a spectacular unification fight with the winner of the fight between British champion James DeGale and Mexican brawler ‘Porky’ Medina. DeGale can’t take Medina lightly if he wants the unification bout. It’s going to be a thrilling night of action at the DC Armory and on SHOWTIME.”
Badou Jack “The Ripper”, of Las Vegas by way of Stockholm, Sweden, captured the WBC 168-pound crown with a 12-round majority decision over previously unbeaten defending champion Anthony Dirrell last April 24. A former amateur standout who represented Gambia in the 2008 Olympics, Jack retained his belt against former world title challenger George Groves last Sept. 12 on the undercard of Floyd Mayweather’s final fight. Jack, who fights under the Mayweather Promotions banner, was an underdog against both Dirrell and Groves. The 6-foot-1, 32-year-old has won four in a row since a shocking first-round knockout loss to Derek Edwards in February 2014.
Bute, of Montreal, Canada by way of Romania, has been a super middleweight mainstay for the last decade. He has competed in 12 title fights since 2007, scoring seven knockouts in nine consecutive defenses of the IBF belt he won in 2007 in his adopted hometown of Montreal. During his title reign, the 36-year-old defeated the likes of Glen Johnson, Librado Andrade and Jean-Paul Mendy, but he lost the belt to Carl Froch in 2012 and a string of injuries kept him largely inactive over the next three years. Bute returned from a 19-month absence in August 2015 under new trainer Howard Grant, knocking out Andrea Di Luisa to set up the title shot against DeGale for the crown he once held. Bute stalked the switch-hitting DeGale with a relentless attack, turning in his most impressive performance in years in a close decision loss.
James “Chunky” DeGale, of London, England, won the vacant IBF belt in his U.S. debut last May by dropping Andre Dirrell twice on his way to a unanimous decision. The 2008 Olympic Gold Medalist then successfully defended it last November in a thrilling shootout with hometown favorite and former titlist Lucian Bute. The 30-year-old, who’s only blemish came in a majority decision in his 11th bout against then-unbeaten George Groves, will make his third consecutive start outside his native England as he looks to become a global power at 168 pounds.
Rogelio “Porky” Medina is a hard-hitting veteran with 30 knockouts in his 36 career wins. He’s knocked out three consecutive opponents, including a shocking third-round knockout of then-undefeated J’Leon Love in August, 2014. Medina, 27, has suffered six losses in 42 fights, although those defeats came against opponents with a combined record of 187-16-3, including four previously undefeated fighters.