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Sebastian Sylvester to defend against Billy Lyell

Jack Loew may soon have another middleweight titlist in his camp. (Photo via <a href="http://cleveland.com/">cleveland.com</a>)
Jack Loew may soon have another middleweight titlist in his camp. (Photo via cleveland.com)
Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

Pablo Navascues has failed a doping test in Germany, meaning that he's out of his January 30 IBF middleweight title shot against reigning titlist Sebastian Sylvester.

But Sylvester will defend the belt on that date. Instead of Navascues, American fringe contender and Jack Loew fighter Billy Lyell (21-7, 4 KO) will get the bump up to take his first crack at a major belt.

Lyell is best-known for taking the "0" off of John Duddy's record last year in one of the year's bigger upsets, at least as far as Duddy fans are concerned. While Sylvester is not exactly the strongest middleweight titleholder in history (and is the weakest out there right now), he still should be a very heavy favorite against Lyell, a punchless guy coming in on short notice.

Still, Lyell could be a spoiler here. He's a bit taller than Sylvester and doesn't have bad losses. He's got Ls to Vanes Martirosyan, the continually ignored and underrated David Lopez, James Kirkland, Charles Whittaker, and a debatable loss to Yori Boy Campas. Add in two early career losses, and he's probably better than his record.

But he also has no credible wins outside of Duddy, and since then he's taken two gimme fights against Chris Overbey and Chris Gray.

This will also be Lyell's first fight outside of the United States.

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