Jose Uzcategui needs new opponent for Sept.28
By Jim Dower: IBF super middleweight champion Jose Uzcategui (27-2, 23 KOs) needs a new opponent or his September 28 fight on the Top Rank Boxing card on ESPN+ at the beautiful Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. His previously scheduled opponent Ezequiel Maderna has visa issues, according to ESPN.
34-year-old Tony Hirsch (23-6-2, 9 KOs) is listed as Uzcategui’s replacement opponent for September 28, but that hasn’t been confirmed. Hirsch is from Oakland, California. He’s arguably a step down from Maderna for Uzcategui.
Uzcategui was going to be making a non-title defense against the 31-year-old Maderna. This was going to be a 10-round fight. Uzcategui, 27, will still be fighting a 10 round fight on that date, but he’ll be facing someone else once his management gets him a new opponent. Replacing Maderna won’t be too hard, as he’s not a great fighter.
Top Rank didn’t want to take the chance of Maderna not being able to get his visa.
“He can’t get one and we can’t take the risk of him not getting it,” Top Rank vice president Carl Moretti told Dan Rafael of ESPN.com.
Uzcategui vs. Maderna was supposed to have been the headliner on the September 28 Top Rank Boxing career. The co-feature bout is Jerwin Ancajas (30-1-1, 20 KOs) vs. Alejandro Santiago (16-2-4, 7 KOs). Ancajas will be defending his IBF super flyweight title in a voluntary defense.
Uzcategui was elevated to the IBF champion after James DeGale vacated his IBF super middleweight title shortly after the sanctioning body ordered him to face Uzcategui. DeGale felt he could make more money going after the bigger names like George Groves and Callum Smith than he would in defending the IBF title against Uzcategui. It’s likely that Uzcategui would have beaten DeGale had the fight taken place.
Erkan Teper vs. Edmund Gerber
Heavyweight Erkan Teper (19-2, 12 KOs) will be facing German heavyweight Edmund Gerber (28-2, 18 KOs) for the vacant International Boxing Federation Inter-Continental heavyweight title on September 29 in Waldenbuch, Germany.
Teper has three-fight winning streak going since last year. Teper gained a lot of attention three years ago when he stopped former British and Commonwealth heavyweight champion David Price in the 2nd round in July 2015. Teper then beat journeyman Derric Rossy by a 10 round unanimous decision in 2016. Teper’s career took a downturn in 2016 when he was beaten by Christian Hammer and Mariusz Wach. Those guys were able to outwork Teper and take advantage of his stamina problems. However, since then, Teper has dropped some weight and looked good in beating Zoltan Csala, Evgenious Lazardis and Davit Gorgiladze
Gerber, 40, has won his last five fights since losing to Dereck Chisora and Michael Sprott. Gerber has put together wins over Samir Bakakovic, Gabriel Enguema, Brian Minto, Lubos Suda and Vincente Sandez. Gerber’s handlers have done a good job of putting him in winnable fights, but he’s now going to need to show whether he has enough talent to beat a decent heavyweight in 6’5” Teper. He’s a considerable step up from the fighters that Gerber has been fighting.
Teper has pretty good punching power early in his fights. If Gerber isn’t careful, he could get stopped in the first two rounds like Price did.