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Lucian Bute to Face Jean Paul Mendy in Romania on July 9

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Super middleweight star Lucian Bute will return to the ring on July 9 in Bucharest, Romania, taking what really amounts to a tune-up fight against Jean Paul Mendy.

Bute (28-0, 23 KO) has caught some flak for keeping a fairly weak schedule overall in recent fights, and this isn't likely to change that. Mendy (29-0-1, 16 KO) has a pretty record, but the Frenchman is 37 years old, really no more than a fringe contender, and is only in line for an IBF title shot against Bute because of a DQ win "over" Sakio Bika last year, which came when Bika hit Mendy while he was down after 78 seconds of Bika smashing Mendy.

The upside here is that Bute is staying busy while the Super Six semifinals play out, and while Mikkel Kessler gets ready for his comeback against another French fighter, Mehdi Bouadla. Kessler will fight on June 4 in Copenhagen, and if all goes well, a fight with Bute this fall could follow. Both have expressed interest in facing one another this year, but Kessler has been out of the ring for over a year with an eye injury, and is testing everything out next month before taking a serious challenge.

It is also reported that prospect Pier Olivier Cote, who was impressive on the Showtime Extreme portion of the Pacquiao vs Mosley undercard, could be on the bill.