Mike Perez pulls out of clash with former world title challenger for an even bigger fight


Mike Perez [23(15)-3(1)-1] is back in the mix for huge fights as he chases a second crack at a cruiserweight world title.

It is claimed that the Cork-Cuban has agreed to a fight with a top European name next.

Having rebuilt and rebranded himself as a dangerman in the 200lbs division, the former World-rated heavyweight entered the inaugural season of the World Boxing Super Series. Perez had a quarter-final match-up with then-WBC champion Mairis Briedis in Riga but was outpointed in a dour fight where he looked somewhat rusty while his Latvian opponent chose to negated rather than trade.

Briedis would subsequently lose a sensational war to Oleksandr Usyk in the semis – and the Ukrainian will now look to bring all four major titles together in the grand final with Murat Gassiev in Saudi Arabia next month.

With talk of Usyk moving up to heavyweight should he become undisputed cruiserweight champ, Perez has continued to train and stayed busy in February with an easy first-round knockout of Pablo Magrini in Waterford.

The road warrior then signed to face former World title challenger Thabiso Mchunu [18(11)-4(3)] in his native South Africa but has since pulled out of this clash – with Thomas Oosthuizen stepping in.

Mchunu was unsuccessful in his challenger of Usyk back in 2016 and was subsequently beaten by Romanian prospect Constantic Bejenaru.

While Mchunu’s promoter Rodney Berman has accused Perez of baulking at the challenge on June 23rd in the Emperor’s Palace and doing a “runner”, he admits that ‘The Rebel’ received a more financially-lucrative offer to face a big name in Europe.

The identity of this opponent remains unknown but former world champions Krzysztof Glowacki and Denis Lebedev both have clear schedules – as does rising Russian Maksim Vlasov.

The 32-year-old is currently ranked tenth with the WBC and ticking over in Watergrasshill BC with coach Luke Thomas.

Details of Perez’s next move are expected to emerge soon.

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Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie