Badou Jack provides the second defence of his WBC super-middleweight title against Lucian Bute at the DC Armory in Washington on Saturday 30 April. The fight serves as the main event on a card that also features IBF champion James DeGale's meeting with mandatory challenger Rogelio Medina, with the winners expected to meet later this year in a unification bout.
How to watch
Fans in the United States can watch Jack vs Bute on cable network Showtime from around 22.00 EST. DeGale vs Medina will be screened live in the United Kingdom on Sky Sports 1 HD, with coverage beginning at 02.00 BST.
It is not often in boxing that a fighter is handed two consecutive title shots against different opponents, but that is the case for Bute as he takes on Jack just five months after being outpointed by DeGale in Quebec. Former WBC middleweight champion Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. was initially supposed to compete for the belt before being forced to withdraw due to a left heel injury, while it was obviously too soon to expect number-one ranked contender Callum Smith to mount his challenge after a ferocious first-round demolition of Hadillah Mohoumadi in a final eliminator earlier this month.
A former IBF title-holder, Bute retained his crown on nine occasions in both Canada and his birthplace of Romania before travelling to Nottingham in May 2012 where he was stopped in five rounds by hometown favourite Carl Froch in the first loss of his professional career. He bounced back by taking the NABF light heavyweight strap with an unconvincing win over Denis Grachev, but was soon beaten again by Jean Pascal in an eagerly-anticipated clash between two adopted Canadians on familiar ground at the Bell Centre in Montreal. A back injury then prevented the 36-year-old, previously trained by Freddie Roach, from fighting at all in 2013 and he ended a 19-month absence from the ring with a fourth-round victory over Andrea Di Luisa before facing DeGale.
Promoted by Floyd Mayweather and Mayweather promotions, 2008 Olympian Jack was born in Stockholm, Sweden but now fights out of Las Vegas and claimed WBC honours courtesy of a majority decision triumph over Anthony Dirrell last April. He took on Britain's George Groves in his first defence at the MGM Grand seven months ago, denying "Saint" a first world title at the third attempt by dropping him in the first round before winning via a narrow split decision.
What they've said
Badou Jack: "I'll be ready for this fight. Bute is a very tough opponent. I have to bring my 'A' game to win. Much respect to him, but he's not leaving with my belt. Absolutely not. You can expect a very tough fight. Bute is a much, much tougher opponent that Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., but I'm ready for him.
"Bute's fight against DeGale was one of the best fights last year. That's the only reason he got this shot. He lost, but he looked good. It was a great fight. April 30 will be another great fight. And another loss for Bute."
Lucian Bute: "This is a great opportunity for me to fight again for a title. I feel good, I started camp six weeks ago. Most importantly, I'm very healthy. Psychologically, I'm looking forward to becoming a world champion on April 30.
"I respect Badou Jack. He is a great champion, a great fighter, but on April 30, I will become a world champion again. I'm looking forward to it. I will be the new champion. I am very confident. I expect it to be a very tough fight, but I am coming here to win. I have a new team. They are changing some things in my work. My confidence is 100 percent. I'm working every day very tough and I am confident that everything will be great for April 30."
Jack: 22 fights, 20 wins (12 via knockout)
- (W) George Groves - split decision - September 2015
- (W) Anthony Dirrell - majority decision - April 2015
- (W) Francisco Sierra - technical knockout - December 2014
Bute: 35 fights, 32 wins (25 via knockout)
- (L) James DeGale - unanimous decision - November 2015
- (W) Andrea Di Luisa - technical knockout - August 2015
- (L) Jean Pascal - unanimous decision - January 2014
This should be a more evenly-matched affair than DeGale-Medina, but Bute is not as powerful as he once was and, spirited performance against "Chunky" aside, he hasn't exactly pulled up any trees since that defeat to Froch. A comfortably points victory for Jack seems the most sensible option, leading to an intriguing unification contest.
Odds (via Betfair)
- Badou Jack - 2/7
- Lucian Bute - 11/4
- Draw - 18/1
James DeGale vs Rogelio Medina - for the IBF super-middleweight title
Chris Pearson vs Joshua Okine
Carlos Gongora vs Zachariah Kelly
Sharif Bogere vs Samuel Amoake
Keegan Grove vs Anthony Napunyi
Moshea Aleem vs Martez Jackson
Latondria Jones vs Kamika Slade