Unbeaten Anthony Dirrell, who is no stranger to overcoming
adversity, finally gets his crack at a world title when he
challenges defending champion Sakio Bika for the WBC Super
Middleweight Championship on Saturday, Dec. 7.
The quadrupleheader, headlined by an all-Brooklyn bout between
former world champions Zab "Super" Judah and Paulie "The Magic Man"
Malignaggi, is the first of back-to-back blockbuster events
promoted by Golden Boy Promotions live on SHOWTIME.
On Saturday, Dec. 14, in another four-fight telecast on SHOWTIME
CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING, rising superstar Adrien Broner will defend his
WBA Welterweight Championship against dangerous, hard-hitting
Marcos Maidana in the main event.
For Dirrell (26-0, 22 KO's), of Flint, Mich., the world title
fight caps a remarkable journey for the 29-year-old, whose
eight-year-professional career has twice been seriously
jeopardized; the first time in December 2006 when he was diagnosed
with cancer and sidelined for 20 months. At the time of his
diagnosis with non-Hodgkins lymphoma, Dirrell was 12-0 and had been
boxing professionally for only two years.
After winning his battle with cancer, he rose to No. 1 in the
WBC and No. 2 in the WBA in 2011. He had become an established star
and was readying himself for a shot at a world title before getting
into a motorcycle accident in May 2012 that would keep him out of
the ring for 17 months.
Dirrell will be fighting for the third time since the accident
when he faces Bika (32-5-2, 21 KO's), who is making the first
defense of the 168-pound crown he captured with a majority 12-round
decision over Marco Antonio Periban last June 22 on SHOWTIME. The
current WBC No.8-ranked contender, Dirrell triumphed by third-round
TKO over Anthony Hanshaw in his most recent outing last July
Here's what the athletic, switch-hitting Dirrell had to say
about his career, personal setbacks and upcoming bout against
(Did you think your career might be over after the motorcycle
"If anything, it made me more focused. But I wasn't even
thinking boxing. I was thinking survival and getting back on my
feet. I was thinking what I could do so that I could play with my
son again. Boxing was the last thing on my mind.''
(Thoughts going into the Dec. 7 world title fight that will open
the SHOWTIME telecast)
"The key for me is to stick to our game plan and to go in and
dominate the guy. I'm really going to try and take him out. I don't
want to leave it in the judges' hands.
"I definitely think he's underestimating me, probably because I
haven't had a lot of rounds (Anthony has only gone eight rounds one
time, and all of his knockouts have come in five rounds or less).
But I'm prepared mentally and physically and come Dec. 7 the world
will realize that I'm a champion and not just a contender.''
(Your road to a world title fight has been anything but easy.
What does it mean to finally be fighting for a world title?)
"It's a great thing, my dream coming true, a dream I've had
since I was a little kid. But it can't be complete until I win. I'm
finally at the door and I'm going to bust it down. All the hard
work I've put in, actually there's no need to bust it down. I'm
just going to walk right in and get my championship."
(What do you think of the vastly more-experienced Bika, who has
fought the likes of Joe Calzaghe, Lucian Bute and Andre Ward?)
"He's a good fighter, a champion. You can't take anything away
from that. But at the end of day I feel I have better skills and
boxing ability. All I have to say is he'd better be on his 'A'
(What did you think of the Bika-Periban fight?)
"It was a close fight, one that could have gone either way.
Neither guy was impressive. I'm a different kind of fighter than
Periban so I expect Bika to be training better and harder for
(With a victory, do you think you'll finally get your due and
escape your brother Andre's shadow?)
"People keep talking about me being in Andre's shadow, but I
don't mind. His casts a big shadow. In my book, he's a world
champion. He beat Carl Froch and he beat Arthur Abraham. If I have
to stay in his shadow the next 10 years, I don't mind. I have to do
what I have to do to win this championship. I'm my own
"I've been training at the ABC Gym in Boca Raton, Fla. I've done
a lot of sparring and running. Camp has been wonderful, hard and
"I'm ready, but I'll be even more ready on fight night. I can't
wait for Dec. 7."