By Jack Sumner
A highly intriguing world title clash in the lightweight division takes place this Saturday, when Richard Abril faces Sharif ‘The Lion’ Bogere at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
Interim WBA titlist Abril (17-3, 8 KOs) was on the receiving end of a bewildering split-decision defeat to Brandon Rios last April, a fight that the Miami-based Cuban should have been awarded by an expansive points margin. The 30-year-old slickster outboxed and outlanded the aggressive Rios for the entire twelve rounds, but was the victim of severely dubious judging from the officials in what I believe to be the worst decision I have ever seen.
The infamy of the fight did push Abril into the spotlight however and he’ll be looking to stay there by lifting the WBA’s regular title this weekend. In his way stands current NABO champion Bogere, an undefeated Ugandan-born fighter now living in Las Vegas.
Bogere (23-0, 15 KOs) can perhaps be accredited with having the most engaging ring-walk in boxing today. Carried to the ring in a cage, wearing the skin and head of a lion as a cape, the showman also enters to the chords of his own theme tune performed by hip-hop artist Blaq Fuego. But there’s much more to Bogere than the theatrics and his speed and explosiveness have proved he can also put on a show inside the ring.
The shoulder-roll stylist Abril was something of a showstopper in the Rios fight and had previously been on a run of five straight victories, including two stoppages and an impressive unanimous decision over Miguel Acosta. With a five-inch height and three-inch reach advantage over Bogere, Abril possesses the physical attributes to aid the utility of his jab and control the pace and distance in this fight.
The difficult task for Bogere will be getting inside the long jab of Abril and landing shots without being tagged by the accurate counter-puncher. Abril has shown himself to be good at fighting on the inside also, so Bogere can’t stay in the pocket and will be need to be in and out quickly to emerge unscathed.
That’s something that Bogere has proven to be adept at doing however and with his advantages in hand speed and power over Abril, the volume of punches he throws and the angles he throws from, he has the arsenal to give the Cuban a troublesome night.