Badou Jack Makes UAE Debut on ESPN


Badou Jack has his sights set on winning another world title belt.

Even at age 38, Jack feels he can fulfill a goal of winning world title belts in three different weight classes.

Jack is marching towards that goal, but must get by Sam Crossed in a stay-busy fight Friday at the Motospace Dubai Investment Park in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The 10-round cruiserweight bout was elevated to co-main event status after the main event bout between Ohara Davies and Ismael Barroso was cancelled when Barroso did not show up to Thursday’s weigh-in. Davies will now fight Kenya’s Nicholas Mwangi.

The new main event on the ESPN+ stream (11 a.m. ET/ 8 a.m. PT) will be flyweight Muhammad Waseem of Pakistan against former world junior flyweight title challenger Rober Barrera.

Jack (24-3-3, 14 knockouts), who is originally from Stockholm, Sweden and now resides in Las Vegas, Nevada, last fought on June 6, dropping late-sub Dervin Colina three times before the fight was stopped in round 4. The win over Colina took place after Jack’s one-sided decision win over Blake McKernan. Both Colina and McKernan were undefeated, yet untested upon facing Jack.

His previous two fights in 2019 were all-out wars against Marcus Browne and Jean Pascal, respectively. Jack would lose both fights by decision. Jack’s success as a pro has come at 168 pounds, having won the WBC world title and defending it on a handful of occasion.

Jack now enters a new stage of his career, one where he feels he is confident he can land and win a world title. In preparation for Friday’s fight, he traveled to Dubai weeks ahead of time, but he does have personal and business connections to the region.

“Dubai is like a second home for me, so we decided to have the (training) camp here since we’re fighting (in Dubai),” Jack told The Ring Tuesday. “All of our partners and sponsors have given us world class treatment, so it has been very comfortable for everyone. It’s been a great camp and we had some solid training and fun here.

Jack will face a fight in Crossed (11-1-1, 7 KOs) who is unbeaten in his last three bouts since losing by decision to gatekeeper Nick Kisner on February 28 of last year. In his last bout on October 29, Crossed, who resides in Breenbelt, Maryland, fought to a draw against journeyman Ronald Montes.

Despite having the overwhelming edge in the number of fights and the quality of opposition faced between the two fighters, Jack is not overlooking Crossed.

“We had four or five opponents that pulled out, so this is the guy they got for us,” said Jack, who has also won a world title belt at 175 pounds. “It’s a stay-busy fight and my first fight in Dubai. I’ve trained as hard for this as I have for any title fight so I’m ready to put on a show.”

Jack will enter into a cruiserweight division that has generated a lot of buzz over the last week or so. At last week’s WBC Convention in Mexico City, the sanctioning body approved Canelo Alvarez to face world titleholder Ilunga Makabu for the WBC title. Whether Alvarez remains at cruiserweight remains to be seen.

There are other notable cruiserweights in the division, including Ring Magazine champion and IBF world titleholder Mairis Briedis, WBO titleholder Lawrence Okolie, WBA titleholder Arsen Goulamirian, and former world titheolder Yuniel Dorticos.

Jack, who is trained by Johnathan Banks, hopes a convincing win over Crossed would open the doors for an opportunity to face any of the world titleholders in the division. He is confident in becoming a world titleholder in three different weight classes.

“I’m ready to fight anyone of the cruiserweight champions after this fight on Friday. I’ve always had my eyes set on being on a three-division world titleholder. I want to make history moving up to cruiserweight and accomplishing that goal.

“After this fight, my team and I will begin taking steps toward that goal.”


By Francisco Salazar

25 Nov 2021


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