THE October 28 Joshua-Pulev undercard is taking shape. Already announced sees WBA super-bantamweight champion Kal Yafai set to defend against unbeaten mandatory challenger in Sho Ishida.
CARDIFF TO HOST BUGLIONI AND JOHNSON DOMESTIC DUST-UP
Now Frank Buglioni and Callum Johnson will clash for the British and Commonwealth light-heavyweight titles at the Principality Stadium, live on Sky Sports Box Office.
Buglioni puts his British title on the line for the second time, having seen off Ricky Summers at The O2 in his first defence in July.
Johnson makes the first defence of the Commonwealth crown he won with a clinical KO of Willbeforce Shihepo in Manchester in September 2016, securing a unique double to add the Commonwealth belt to his 2010 Commonwealth Games gold.
Buglioni picked up the Lord Lonsdale belt in a thrilling fight with Johnson’s Joe Gallagher gym-mate Hosea Burton in Manchester in December on the undercard of Anthony Joshua’s IBF Heavyweight title win over Eric Molina. The ‘Wise Guy’ expects to come through a tough test on another monster Joshua bill, and take a huge step towards claiming the belt for keeps.
“It’s another great show I’m on with Matchroom,” said Bulgioni. “I won the British title on the Joshua vs Molina undercard and now I’ll win the Commonwealth title on the Joshua vs Pulev undercard.
“Every bit of silverware I can grab along the way, I will do. The British and Commonwealth Titles go together nicely.
“Callum is a good fighter. All of Joe Gallagher’s stable are well rounded and fit. They come to win. Joe is a good coach, you’ve got take your hat off to him, he’s produced a lot of World and British Champions.
“They know me first hand so will know what to expect but that being said, I’m improving fight on fight. I think I’ll be too much for Callum. I intend to expose his weaknesses, one being his chin.
“I’ll be taking another undefeated record on the way through. The opposition has never fazed me, stiff opposition is what it’s all about.
“It’ll be my first time at the stadium, what an opportunity to be fighting in front of all those people. I love fighting up and down the UK. As an amateur I went all around the world fighting. As soon as I get in that squared circle, I feel at home. Regardless of where any fight is, I’m always ready to do damage.
“The fans can always expect exciting fights with me. Callum likes to come forward, he’s a big puncher so he will be looking to plant his feet. He’s a solid fighter but I’ve got too much for him.
“This mandatory has given me another opportunity to land another belt. Anthony Yarde has been calling me out, Hosea Burton wants the rematch. We’ve got options moving forwards but winning the British title outright is still very much in my plans.”
Johnson has not boxed since picking up the Commonwealth title in his first fight for a belt, but the unbeaten 32 year old believes that those rounds against Shihepo and the scale of the occasion will bring the best out of him.
“To be on Joshua’s undercard is massive,” said Johnson. “I’m looking forward to being a part of the event, it’ll be an honour to box on such a big stage.
“It’s a well-renowned title, every British fighter wants to win it along the way. To be fighting for it on such a high-profile card is an added bonus.
“I rate Frank highly. He’s a strong, good fighter. He’s shown in his last couple of fights he has a big heart and does everything well but I believe I just do everything that bit better than him. If I box to my ability, I’ll take his Title on the night.
“Neither one of us likes to take a step back. We won’t have to go looking for each other. It’ll be a fan friendly fight and it’s sure to be a tough night for both of us.
“Until the mandatory got called, I never really thought about fighting Frank because he had just moved up in weight but now we’re crossing paths so let’s get it on.
“The nine rounds I got in with Shihepo will stand me in good stead, he’s boxed at a high level against the likes of Arthur Abraham. It was my first title fight and I had a lot of pressure on my shoulders through personal reasons. But that’s in the past and now I’m looking forward to this one.”
ALLEN AND THOMAS REMATCH ON JOSHUA BILL
Lenroy Thomas and Dave Allen will rematch for the Commonwealth heavyweight title at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff on Saturday October 28, live on Sky Sports Box Office.
The pair clashed for the strap in Sheffield in May, with Thomas edging out Allen via split decision at Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane ground.
The Florida-based Jamaican comes to the UK for an immediate return with the Doncaster fans’ favourite, and the champion expects another great night in a huge stadium show, where he wants to stake his claim for bigger things in 2018.
“I’m looking forward to defending my title against Allen in Cardiff,” said Thomas. “He was a gentleman after the fight and I feel he deserves the rematch.
“As a champion, I have no issue fighting in his backyard again. The 75,000 fans in the stadium can’t fight for him.
“It’s a pleasure to appear on another Matchroom card, especially with the main event featuring Anthony Joshua defending his World Heavyweight title. It should be another electric night and I’m looking to continue my reign as the Commonwealth Heavyweight Champion. My goal is to crack the top 15 world ratings after this fight and move toward a World title.”
Allen is gunning for revenge though and ‘The White Rhino’, who stopped Tom Dallas in three rounds in Essex in July to claim a 12th pro win, says defeat is unthinkable in his fourth spot on a huge Sky Sports Box Office bill.
“Since the result was announced in Sheffield, this is all I’ve wanted,” said Allen. “It’s all I’ve thought about in my spare time. I want to right that wrong. It haunts me, it was my night but I blew it and he fought out of his skin.
“I’ve watched the fight numerous times back. I underestimated Lenroy. It wasn’t the best fight in the world. It was quite physical and draining. He proved to be a tough man. I scored it very close, I did the forcing but he did the quality, eye catching work – It’s what you like but I have no arguments with the decision.
“I know what I’m up against now, it’s about putting the working in the gym. He took my night away from me, now I’m going to take his belt. There’s only one result this time. He’s woke up the beast. I’m a different animal all together now.
“I thought he would fold in the later rounds but he didn’t. Looking back, I took my foot off the gas in training in the build-up too. You can make a mistake once and you are a fool, but if you make the same mistake twice you are an idiot. It won’t happen again.
“‘The White Rhino’ is a Box Office Superstar. Four times in ten months, I’m living the dream but this time it’s my last chance. If I don’t win, where do I go from here? I don’t want to face that.
“It’s my first time fighting abroad! The support will be massive as always. It means a lot to me, there will be a very strong South Yorkshire contingent in Cardiff. They will take that Principality Stadium roof off with their noise.
“I needed a win and didn’t want to come into this fight off the back of a loss. So, we got back out quickly and got a win under our belt against Tom Dallas.
“For this fight, I’ll come in around 16 ½ stone. I was fit and in shape as an amateur and I haven’t been like that since I turned pro. There was a lot of fuss made when I was a kid with people saying I can fight. I’m going to get in shape for this fight.
“I’ve made a promise to myself and to my Dad, who has not been very well, he said to me: ‘This is it. This is your last chance’ – that’s struck a chord with me. On October 28 I’m going to perform my heart out. If I don’t my career is finished.”