Former WBO junior middleweight titleholder Demetrius "Boo Boo" Andrade, who was stripped of his belt due to inactivity earlier this year, returned to the ring last Saturday night with an easy second round knockout win over Argentina's Dario Fabian Pucheta, and says that a 16-month absence from the ring didn't impact his performance or how he felt physically.
"It felt great," said Andrade (22-0, 15 KO). "I was ready, willing and able to do what I need and to prepare myself for any circumstances. I was in tip-top shape and on my game like I'd never left."
Andrade, 27, says that during his time off, he worked on strength and conditioning more than ever, even more than he worked on his boxing. He hopes that will give him a power boost as his career continues.
"I took advantage of my time off and used it wisely to get stronger," he said. "I really worked hard with my strength and conditioning coach, who put together a good plan. I probably spent more time on (strength & conditioning) than boxing during my time off. I'm known as a slick boxer but I wanted to get strong so I don't have to go 12 rounds unless I need to. I felt more power in camp, sparring and hitting the bag, and it showed Saturday night."
With his return to the ring now behind him, Andrade will likely be looking to get back into the title mix sooner than later. He beat Vanes Martirosyan in November 2013 for the vacant WBO belt, and defended in June 2014 against Brian Rose, a dominant seventh round TKO victory on HBO. He had a fight in negotiations late last year to face contender Jermell Charlo, but bailed on the fight due to money.
Liam Smith won the again vacant WBO title on October 10, beating John Thompson in Manchester, England, via seventh round TKO. The division's other titleholders include Jermall Charlo (IBF) and Erislandy Lara (WBA "world"). The officially retired Floyd Mayweather is still recognized as both WBC and WBA "super world" champion.