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Joshua vs. Breazeale: Whyte faces Bacurin on undercard


By Scott Gilfoid: Heavyweight Dillian Whyte (16-1, 13 KOs) now yet another replacement opponent that he’ll be fighting this Saturday night on June 25 in journeyman Ivica Bacurin (24-9-1, 14 KOs) in a six-round fight on the undercard of the title fight between IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua and Dominic Breazeale at the O2 Arena in London, UK. I don’t expect Bacurin to last more than a round or two against Whyte. The only way this fight goes past the 2nd round is if Whyte wants it to.

Whyte was originally supposed to be fighting Cyril Leonet, but then he couldn’t take the fight and was replaced by 39-year-old American journeyman Danny Batchelder. That fight now isn’t happening either, so the 33-year-old Bacurin gets the call for the fight.

For the boxing fans who might remember Bacurin from his fight against cruiserweight Tony Bellew last year in June, he was wiped out in 10 rounds. Bellew knocked Bacurin down three times in the fight in dropping him in rounds two, five and nine. Bellew was basically fighting in 1st gear the entire fight, and seemingly taking it easy on Bacurin from the looks of it.

Bacurin did do a decent job of making Bellew miss with a lot of his power shots, which I why the fight lasted until the 10th. Bellew was just looking to take Bacurin out with single power shots rather than jabbing putting his punches together the way he normally does. Bellew looked like he wanted a highlight reel knockout, and Bacurin wasn’t willing to go along with the script.

“I will fight anyone Eddie Hearn just get somebody for me to hit in the face this Saturday,” said Whyte on his Twitter.

I don’t know what the deal is with Hearn having waited this long to lock in an opponent for Whyte. Perhaps Hearn has been focusing most of his energies at promoting the Joshua-Breazeale fight and not enough time in getting a solid journeyman for Whyte to bludgeon. At any case, it’s a tune-up fight for Whyte, as this is his first fight since his shoulder surgery last December. There were never going to put Whyte in with anyone that you can call remotely good given the circumstances with him coming off surgery.

Whyte, 28, lost his last fight to Joshua by a 7th round knockout last December at the O2 Arena. Whyte was giving Joshua problems for the first two rounds until his shoulder gave out on him at the mid-way point of the 2nd round. From there on, it was all Joshua in dominating the one-armed Whyte.

Bacurin has won two out of his last three fights since his loss to Bellew last year. That’s pretty good for a journeyman. Bacurin defeated Nebojsa Nestorvic and Radomir Vujovic. I’ve never heard of either of those guys, to be honest. However, Bacurin was beaten by undefeated Michael Wallisch by a 12 round decision last January.

Besides fighting Bellew, Bacurin has shared the ring with Francesco Pianeta, Juan Carlos Gomez, Murat Gassiev, Vincenzo Rossitto, Johnathon Banks, and Dmitry Kudryashov. What’s interesting is that Bacurin was able to go the full 10 round distance with the knockout artist Gassiev in 2013. Of course, Gassiev was only 19-years-old back then, and not the fighter he is today. If Bacurin were to face the now 22-year-old Gassiev, I think it’s very likely he would be knocked out in the 1st round. I can’t see Gassiev letting Bacurin getting to the 2nd round.

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