The planned Jan. 21 fight between WBC cruiserweight titlist Ilunga Junior Makabu and Noel Mikaelyan is not happening, but the Don King-promoted card is going to go ahead.
Makabu told the Sowetan that the fight was never even actually discussed, despite the promoter announcing the fight in early December:
“I saw the story and I spoke to my manager about it and he told me that Don King is the one who wrote the story. There was no discussion about the fight; we will give you the right story as we go along.”
If you’re still surprised by this sort of thing coming out of a King event in 2023, then I don’t know what to tell you, but no, this is not exactly a shock.
The event will still go on with heavyweights Jonathan Guidry and Bermane Stiverne now slotted for the main event.
The 33-year-old Guidry (18-1-2, 11 KO) is coming off of a win last June over Dacarree Scott, which followed a split decision loss to Trevor Bryan in Jan. 2022.
Stiverne (25-5-1, 21 KO) is now 44 years old, hasn’t won a fight in eight years, and is 1-4 in his last five. He briefly held the WBC heavyweight title, beating Chris Arreola for the vacant belt in May 2014 before losing it to Deontay Wilder in Jan. 2015.
His last three bouts have all been stoppage losses, to Wilder in a 2017 rematch, Joe Joyce in 2019, and Trevor Bryan in early 2021, his last fight.
For those interested, the card will stream live on donking.com on Saturday, Jan. 21, starting at 7 pm ET.