Bryant Jennings vs. Alexander Dimitrenko this Sat. on ESPN
By Jim Dower: Former heavyweight world title challenger Bryant Jennings (23-2, 13 KOs) faces Alexander Dimitrenko (41-3, 26 KOs) this Saturday night on August 18 in a 12 round fight on ESPN at the Ocean Resort in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Jennings comes into the fight off the back of a 10 round unanimous decision win over Joey Dawejko last April. Jennings won the vacant Pennsylvania heavyweight title with the victory.
This is a Top Rank card. The promotional company is trying to do a salvage job on the 33-year-old Jennings, who has won his last four fights since Top Rank signed him and brought him back against low level opposition. Despite facing only soft opposition since his ring return in 2017 following a two-year absence from the ring from 2015 to 2017, Jennings is now rated #8 World Boxing Organization. The ultimate goal is for Top Rank to get Jennings a title shot against WBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua. However, if Jennings is required to fight a good contender like Alexander Povetkin, It’s unlikely he’ll win the fight. He’s not that type of type of talent unfortunately.
Top Rank has the promotional muscle to work out a deal for Jennings to get a world title shot against Joshua in the future. What could hold Jennings back from getting a voluntary title so is Top Rank network deal with ESPN. Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn is going to want to have his fight shown on DAZN in the States. That’s not likely to work with Top Rank and their deal with ESPN. As such, Jennings will likely need to wait until he’s a mandatory challenger to Joshua before he gets a world title shot, and when that time comes, he’ll likely need to agree to fight him on DAZN. Of course, if Jennings has to fight a good contender like Povetkin, Jarrell Miller or Dillian Whyte to get a title shot, then he’ll have problems. Those guys would be very tough for Jennings to try and beat. The same goes for Jennings in having to deal with Dominic Breazeale and Joseph Parker. Both of those fighters are ranked above him in the WBO’s ranking.
Dimitrenko, 36, has a chance of turning his career around if he can beat Jennings. The 6’7″ Ukrainian Dimitrenko has won his last three fights in beating Miljan Rovcanin, Adrian Granat and Milos Dovedan. Dimitrenko surprised many fans in stopping Granat in the 1st round last year in March. Dimitrenko was stopped in the third round by Joseph Parker in 2016. Dimitrenko’s other career defeats have come against Eddie Chambers and Kubrat Pulev. Dimitrenko doesn’t lose to just anyone. He gets beaten by top level fighters. If Jennings isn’t on his A-game on Saturday, he might fall apart when he gets inside the ring with the huge Dimitrenko.
On the Jennings-Dimitrenko undercard, #1 WBO super middleweight contender Jesse Hart (24-1, 20 KOs) faces Mike Gavronski (24-2-1, 15 KOs) in a 10 round fight in the co-feature bout. Hart, 29, has won his last two fights since losing to WBO 168 pound champion Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez by a close 12 round unanimous decision last September. Hart hurt Ramirez several times in the fight, but ultimately he was outworked by the Mexican fighter. In Hart’s two fights since then, he’s beaten Demond Nicholson and Thomas Awimbono by knockout. Gavronski, 32, is a slight step up in class than those two fighters. Gavronski has lost twice in his career in losing to Dashon Johnson and Tureano Johnson.
Former World Boxing Association World super featherweight champion Jason Sosa (20-3, 15 KOs) is facing Reynaldo Blanco (14-4, 8 KOs) in an eight round fight. Sosa, 30, has lost his last two fights to Yuriorkis Gamboa and Vasyl Lomachenko. Sosa previously captured the WBA super feaherweigh title in June 2016 in defeating Javier Fortuna by a an 11th round knockout. Sosa successfully defended the WBA title once in beating Stephen Smith by a 12 round unanimous decision in November 2016. Sosa’s once promising career has gone downhill in his last two fights in losing to the 36-year-old Gamboa and Lomachenko. Sosa should be able to beat Blanco, who is coming off of a 9th round knockout loss to Leduan Barthely last year in March. Blanco also has loses to Demond Brock, Kevin Nieves and Randy Fuentes.
Other fights on Saturday’s card are as follows:
Shakur Stevenson vs. Carlos Ruiz
Christian Carto vs. Javier Gallo
Thomas LaManna vs. Matthew Strode
Oleksandr Teslenko vs. Avery Gibson
Joseph Adorno vs. Augustine Mauras
Deontay Wilder says Anthony Joshua doesn’t want the fight
WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs) is completely fed up with IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua and his promoter Eddie Hearn. Wilder thinks that neither of those guys want to make a unification fight involving him. Wilder sees Joshua and Hearn as lighters, and he’s not buying anything they’re selling about a fight between them taking place in the future.
“These guys have lied about so much stuff it’s crazy,” Wilder said to TMZ.com. “Everyone knows who tried to make the fight, who really wanted to fight. A blind man could see the situation with this, and we’re done with it.”
Wilder isn’t going to wait for Joshua. He’s going to focus on his career and look in another direction towards a mega-fight against Tyson Fury in November in Las Vegas, Nevada. That fight will make a huge amount of money. Deontay plans on knocking Fury out, and then moving on to try and face Joshua after tha next April if the fight can get negotiated. Wilder might scare Joshua and Hearn away if he beats Fury in too much of an impressive fashion. Wilder can’t make himself look too good because Joshua and Hearn may lose interest in him as an opponent.