The day of March 11, 2023 in the world of Boxing will feature two main events that will feature some interesting storylines. First , an encounter in the Heavyweight division that could best be described as a "Crossroads Fight" will take place at the Zenith De Paris in Paris, France. Longtime Heavyweight contender and former world title challenger Carlos Takam will face contender Tony Yoka in a bout scheduled for ten rounds that can be seen here in the United States on digital subscription sports streaming network ESPN+.
Both Takam and Yoka will enter this fight coming off of losses and in Takam 's case, will be looking to get back in the win column after dropping his previous two fights. Yoka meanwhile will be looking to rebound from his first career loss. While there is that similarity between the two fighters, this is largely a youth versus experience scenario in that the forty-two year old Takam will have twelve years in age over the thirty year old Yoka, but will also have a significant edge in terms of both total fights in his career compared to his opponent, who will be competing in only his thirteenth professional fight.
Although that differs from Takam 's forty-seven career bouts, Takam also has the edge when it comes to having faced a higher caliber of opposition having been a top contender in the Heavyweight division for several years including challenging for a world championship in 2017 when he was stopped by then undefeated Heavyweight world champion Anthony Joshua. What this fight will likely come down to however, will be how much Takam has left in him at forty-two years old and having dropped his last two fights among seven career losses overall. Takam has proven to be durable throughout his career and if Tony Yoka is under prepared and/or is taking Takam lightly, the veteran does have the skills to make it a difficult evening for his younger opponent and is likely looking at this as potentially his last chance to bounce back.
On the flip side of the equation, Yoka has scored nine knockouts in his eleven career wins, but has not fought a fighter both of the caliber and experience of Takam. In his only career loss, Yoka dropped a ten round majority decision to Martin Bakolie in May of last year. While that fight was close and could have gone either way, it is always interesting to see how a fighter will respond coming off of their first loss, particularly one that came as a result of a narrow decision. Will Yoka be more aggressive in this fight perhaps with the intention of trying to keep the judges from having to determine a winner? Although a loss for Yoka at this point in his career would not likely mean the end of the road for him, another loss for Takam would likely signal the end of a fine career. When there are both similarities as well as a scenario of two fighters heading possibly heading in different directions, the stakes are obviously high for both fighters.
The second main event that will be previewed in this column will be a Super-Middleweight encounter featuring undefeated rising prospect Diego Pacheco facing veteran Jack Cullen in a bout scheduled for ten rounds. Originally, this bout was to be on the undercard on a card that was to be hwadlined by former Super-Middleweight world champion Callum Smith facing Pawel Stepien in a Light-Heavyweight bout, but has now been moved to the main event due to Smith having to withdraw from his scheduled bout against Stepien after suffering an injury while in training.
While no one likes to hear of anyone suffering an injury, Smith's misfortune has benefited Pacheco in the sense that it now gives him the opportunity to main event a card. Although this will be taking place in Liverpool, England and that is likely not the ideal place for the American Pacheco to be headlining a card on a major network for the first time, the bout against Jack Cullen, which will be broadcast in the United States and globally by digital subscription sports streaming network DAZN, also represents what might be a step up for the twenty-two year old prospect.
Pacheco will enter this fight unbeaten in seventeen professional fights, having scored knockouts in fourteen of those bouts. While those statistics are certainly impressive, Pacheco has yet to be tested in his brief career and, despite holding a regional title in the World Boxing Organization's (WBO) Super-Middleweight ratings, naturally there are questions that are asked of virtually all unbeaten prospects that eventually have to be answered. Whether or not questions about Pacheco's ability to take a punch amd what will happen when he is faced with adversity will be answered in this fight with Jack Cullen remains to be seen.
Cullen is a veteran of twenty-five professional bouts and has fought for both Commonwealth and European champipnships in both the Middleweight and Super-Middleweight divisions in his career. What could be s red flag in terms of his ability to provide Pacheco with a test, despite having more experience is in Cullen's three career defeats, he was stopped inside the distance each time. Although Pacheco has only been a professional for over four years, he has demonstrated the ability to score sudden and devastating knockouts and it will be interesting to see if Cullen will be able to withstand his punching power if Pacheco can find a way to connect, particularly in the early rounds.
While both of these main events that will be taking place across Europe on March 11th have the similarity of prospects going against more experienced opponents, Anything can happen at any given time in Boxing, as this observer has often said through the years and it is far from a given that the two prospects/rising contenders Yoka and Pacheco, who will likely be favored in their respective bouts, will be victorious. It will be up to both Carlos Takam and Jack Cullen to upset any potential plans Yoka and Pacheco might have aa they continue their climb towards challenging for a world championship.
"And That's The Boxing Truth."
Takam vs. Yoka takes place on Saturday, March 11th at the Zenith De Paris in Paris, France. In the United States, the fight as well as it's undercard can be seen on digital subscription sports streaming network ESPN+ beginning at 2:45PM ET/11:45AM PT. ESPN+ is available through the ESPN app on mobile, tablet and connected streaming devices/Smart TVs. For more information about ESPN+ including schedules, list of compatible streaming devices, platforms, Smart TVs, and to subscribe please visit: www.ESPNPlus.com.
Pacheco vs. Cullen takes place on Saturday, March 11th at the Liverpool Arena in Liverpool, England. The fight as well as it's full undercard can be seen in the United States and globally on digital subscription sports streaming network DAZN beginning with Before The Bell, which will feature preliminary bouts beginning at 11:30AM ET/8:30AM PT. This will be followed by the main portion of the card, which will begin at 2PM ET/11AM PT.
For more information about DAZN including schedules, list of compatible streaming devices, platforms, Smart TVs, availability around the world, local start times in your area, and to subscribe please visit: www.DAZN.com.
*U.S. Times Only.*
*Cards and Start Times Subject To Change.*
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