Sunday night’s cruiserweight world title fight between Ilunga Makabu and Badou Jack is firmly seen as the main event for a Saudi Arabia PPV.
Despite the dampener of a farcical match-up for a WBC ranking between a YouTuber and a champion’s brother, Makabu vs Jack gives real boxing fans a glimmer of light.
Jack, a former Floyd Mayweather fighter, challenges for a third weight world title against the man Don King branded “one of the most exciting fighters in the world” this week.
Cruiserweight main event
WBC cruiserweight champion ‘Junior’ Makabu will defend his title against the veteran Jack on ESPN+ in Saudi Arabia as part of the Jake Paul vs Tommy Fury card.
All eyes from the boxing fraternity who want to watch proper fights will be glued to what’s billed as the co-feature. In reality, it’s the headliner.
King can’t wait for his top competitor to trade blows with Jack.
“Ilunga Junior Makabu will show why he is considered the best cruiserweight in the world,” said King. “Makabu has all the tools to be one of the all-time greats.
“After retaining his title, he’s ready to win the other belts to become the undisputed cruiserweight champion.”
Makabu (29-2, 25 KOs) will defend his title for the first time in a year. He last fought on January 29 of this year in Warren, OH, winning a split decision over Thabiso Mchunu.
That victory was only his second defense of his title since December 19, 2020.
Makabu won the vacant title in South Africa on January 31, 2020. He scored a unanimous decision over challenger Michael Cieslak. Eleven months later, he defended the title on December 19.
He knocked out Olanrewaju in the 7th round in Kinshasa.
Makabu vs Jack
Makabu, 35, who hails from the Congo, has won ten consecutive fights since his second career loss. It came in the WBC World Cruiserweight Championship on May 29, 2016, when he got knocked out in the third round by Tony Bellew.
The bout was a slugfest as Makabu knocked Bellew down with a left hook in the first round.
Jack (27-3-3, 16 KOs), 39, who hails from Sweden, has won five consecutive fights. His last victory was a split decision over undefeated Richard Riviera on August 20, 2022.
Jack’s last title fight was his final loss on December 28, 2019, when he fought Jean Pascal for the WBA light heavyweight belt and the WBC Silver Light Heavyweight title.
Jack lost a close split decision, with two judges seeing the fight. They scored 114-112 for Pascal. The other judge saw it in favor of Jack at 114-112.