EBU News: Branco v Bundu; Kucher v McKenzie; Soro vacates

Phil Jay 20/01/2016

The European welterweight title clash between current belt holder Gianluca Branco and compatriot Leonard Bundu is set to take place on April 22 in Florence, Italy.

As World Boxing News reported earlier this month, Boxe Loreni won the purse bid to stage the intriguing all-Italian contest and have set the fight up for three months’ time.

Champion Branco was due to face ex-world champion Paulie Malignaggi in a December defence of his championship but opted instead to wait until the Bundu encounter was ordered by the EBU.

At middleweight, Michel Soro has decided to vacate the middleweight version in order to fully concentrate on sealing a world title shot in the next few months.

The Frenchman was due to face Liam Smith for the vacant WBO super-welterweight title last year, before pulling out after being unhappy with the terms of the deal. Soro could now head back to his ideal weight of 154 pounds in a bid to gain a mandatory chance.

At cruiserweight, number one contender Dmytro Kucher will face recent world title challenger Ovill McKenzie for the vacant cruiserweight title following highly-ranked Tony Bellew’s decision to relinquish the blue belt.

Bellew won the strap by defeating Mateusz Masternak in London on December 12 but opted against a first defence against Kucher as a recognised title opportunity looms on the horizon. That leaves Kucher, and now McKenzie, to fight it out to become the new Continental champion.

Purse bids have been set for February 1.