Gennadiy Golovkin returns to the ring this Saturday night, facing Sergiy Derevyanchenko for the vacant IBF middleweight title in a quietly intriguing main event from Madison Square Garden, live on DAZN, but that won’t be the only fight shown, of course.
Let’s take a look at the full undercard.
Former 140-pound titleholder Ivan Baranchyk (19-1, 12 KO) will look to bounce back from his first pro loss, suffered on May 18 against Josh Taylor, when he takes on Gabriel “Tito” Bracero in a 10-round bout. Baranchyk, 26, is a somewhat limited but very rugged guy, a Russian now based in Miami, Oklahoma, where he became a very popular local attraction before graduating to the bigger stages. Bracero (25-3-1, 6 KO) is a 38-year-old Puerto Rican veteran from Brooklyn, a tough dude who’s never been stopped but is also certainly in the twilight of his career. He hasn’t fought in a little over 14 months and has never been a top-level guy.
Super middleweight prospect Ali Akhmedov (15-0, 11 KO) will face Andrew Hernandez (20-7-2, 9 KO) in a 10-round bout. Akhmedov, 24, is a Kazakh on the rise at 168, having trimmed down from competing previously at 175. He’s coming off of a pretty easy win over a game but overmatched Marcus McDaniel on GGG’s last undercard in June. Hernandez, 33, was notably stopped in three by Jesse Hart in 2016, but did go a full 10 with Caleb Plant in 2017.
Junior middleweight Israil Madrimov (3-0, 3 KO) also fought on GGG’s last card and returns here, taking on Alejandro Barrera (29-5, 18 KO) in another prospect vs veteran showcase, or at least meant to be a showcase. Madrimov, 24, is an Uzbek who turned pro last November and has been in 10-round fights since his debut, but he hasn’t had to go past six yet. He’s being fast-tracked at 154. Barrera, 33, hasn’t fought since May 2018, and has lost three of his last four, dropping fights against Errol Spence Jr, Keandre Gibson, and Carlos Adames, but he did beat Eddie Gomez in July 2017.
Welterweight Brian Ceballo (10-0, 5 KO) will be in action against Ramal Amanov (16-0, 5 KO). Ceballo, at 25, is maybe a little older than you’d expect from the record. Amanov, at 35, is much older than you’d expect from the regular. Amanov, originally from Azerbaijan, is based in Miami (the Florida one) and turned pro in 2013, but he’s never taken off and hasn’t fought anyone near being a real professional opponent since he won a decision over journeyman Elvin Perez in April 2018 in Nicaragua. Ceballo isn’t a blue chip guy, but he did beat Bakhtiyar Eyubov on June 8 (he is also part of GGG’s new MSG warm-up crew).
Keep an eye on Kamil Szeremeta (20-0, 4 KO), the former European middleweight champion who is coming over to meet Oscar Cortes (27-4, 14 KO) in an eight-round bout. Szeremeta, 29, is a Polish fighter who was reportedly offered the June date with Golovkin but turned it down. He’s currently the IBF’s No. 4-rated contender, behind only Derevyanchenko (1) and Golovkin (3, there is no 2). There’s every chance he’s being looked at to face the winner. Cortes, 26, is a Mexican fighter who has lost two of his last three and has been repeatedly stopped in club-level fights.
Young middleweight Nikita Ababiy (6-0, 5 KO) is a Matchroom prospect who will be in his second six-round fight on Saturday, facing Isiah Seldon (13-2-1, 4 KO) in what might look like a step up but really isn’t, or at least shouldn’t be if Ababiy is what he’s supposed to be. Seldon is the 31-year-old son of Bruce Seldon, a heavyweight who fought for many years as a pro and faced the likes of Mike Tyson, Riddick Bowe, Oliver McCall, and Tony Tubbs. Isiah, unless he’s dramatically improved since a dicey April win in Atlantic City, just doesn’t really have it. For second generation fighters, I wouldn’t even say he’s Ronald Hearns level. Ababiy is green and learning, but he’s got real talent.
Irish light heavyweight Joe Ward will make his pro debut against Marco Delgado (5-1, 4 KO) in a six-round out. Ward, who will turn 26 later this month, was a very good amateur, a southpaw who won bronze at the 2013 World Championships, and silvers at the 2015 and 2017 World Championships, as well as being a three-time European gold medalist (2011, 2015, 2017). He fought at the 2016 Olympics and was controversially eliminated in the opening round due to a pair of point deductions. Delgado, 28, fights out of Anaheim and lost his last fight, a six-round split decision in Sacramento against Mike Guy.