SUPER-MIDDLEWEIGHT contenders Andre Direll (26-2, 16 KOs) and Jose Uzcategui (26-2, 22 KOs) will meet again in Brooklyn on Saturday March 3 on the undercard of the Deontay Wilder-Luis Ortiz Showtime Championship Boxing tripleheader, in a rematch of their contentious 2017 fight.
“I’m extremely excited to be a part of one of the most dynamic tripleheaders this year,” Dirrell said. “This time around I’ll be phenomenal and leave no doubt who the better fighter is. I’m 100 percent focused on dominating Uzcategui on March 3 and getting another shot at the title.”
The first match between the super-middleweights, which was also for an IBF interim world title, ended in controversy after Uzcategui was disqualified for landing a punch after the bell sounded at the end of the eighth round.
Dirrell was knocked out by the punch and could not continue, referee Bill Clancy disqualified Uzcategui, declaring the punch intentional and ruling Dirrell the winner.
Chaos ensued in the ring following the decision and Dirrell’s trainer and uncle, Leon Lawson Jr proceeded to sucker-punch Uzcategui in the face minutes later, he handed himself into Maryland police a week after and faced a second-degree assault charge, a misdemeanour, punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Charges have since been dropped but it adds a shocking subplot to an already exciting match up. In the IBF mandated rematch, Dirrell and Uzcategeui will look to put themselves in position to fight for the super-middleweight title that Caleb Truax (29-3-2) recently earned via a majority decision over James DeGale (14-2-1).
Dirrell, a bronze medal winner for the 2004 U.S. Olympic boxing team, continues his quest for a world championship. The 34-year-old southpaw from Flint, Michigan lost a split decision to Carl Froch in his first attempt in 2009 and dropped a narrow unanimous decision to DeGale in his next attempt in 2015.
The 27-year-old Uzcategui, who is from Venezuela and now lives in Tijuana, Mexico, worked his way up to the match against Dirrell with a string of four straight stoppage victories, including a stunning upset of Julian Jackson in 2015. Uzcategui dropped Jackson four times on the way to a second-round technical knockout victory.
“I’m very excited to go get what’s mine,” said Uzcategui. “I feel I won the last fight. I didn’t feel I did anything wrong. What happened in the last fight is in the past. I’m going to get what belongs to me. The world will see what ‘Bolivita’ can do and they’ll want to see more of me.”